Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.
Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.
She soon gains the trust of important leaders. But as she grows more and more entangled in the workings of the movement, her job becomes increasingly dangerous. Leading a double life is starting to take its toll on her relationships and, feeling more isolated than ever, she starts to wonder how this is all going to end. The Russians are notorious for ruthlessly disposing of people given the slightest suspicion.
What if they find out?
The beautiful cover and the whole premise of the story completely grabbed my attention. Determined this year to read more novels based around World War II, to enhance my knowledge of this era, I grabbed at the opportunity to read The Beautiful Spy. The story itself spans a period of time starting in 1928 and finishing in 1955. I have read several Rachel Hore novels before but the last one was in 2018 so I was very excited to read one of her more recent novels. I found it to be a really entertaining and compelling read and I was completely engrossed following Minnie’s life and the highs and lows of being a British government spy.
Minnie Gray lives with her mother in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and has a dull office job and uneventful life. She is restless and looking for a more challenging career to inject a bit of excitement into her life. When the opportunity arises to work undercover for a government agency she seizes the opportunity and moves to London whereupon her life drastically changes. The position is not quite what she expects and we follow her on an emotional adventure living a dangerous double existence.
The author sensitively portrays all of Minnie’s emotions, the lonely existence and the challenges she faces working as a spy. Determined to make a difference Minnie shows great determination, bravery and dedication to the cause. Early on in the book Minnie embarks on a solitary journey to India and the descriptions of her journey and her time alone for several weeks in Bombay are heartfelt and tense.
There are some lovely characters included in the storyline all of whom are likeable and relatable. I felt there could have been more chemistry in the romantic interludes, which at times felt more like companionship than a romance. Otherwise, this is a lovely gentle spy story which is easy to read and kept me entertained from start to finish. The author’s note at the end is particularly interesting when we learn the book is loosely based on the true story of Olga Gray, who spied for the British Intelligence during the 1930s. The book is extremely well researched and it is a wonderful insight into this period of time and has definitely inspired me to read more historical fiction of this era.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 18 February 2021
Page Count: 405
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction/Romance
Thank you to the publisher and Kaleidoscopic Tours for the advanced copy of this lovely book and for inviting me on the tour.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊