Marion Sutro is now no longer a spy. She's a normal person. Well, not really. Here she tells her story of her civilian life during the Cold War. Simultaneously Sam tells us about this heroine he knew all his life, named Marion Sutro.
A very entertaining read-Mawer tends to write historical fiction about women undercover in WWII that ends up almost light hearted (I felt the same way after finishing The Girl who Fell from the Sky). It's hard to describe but while the reading experience is enjoyable, it's not because it's particularly revelatory. Perhaps, there's just something very familiar about the story-the difficulty of a spy to adjust back into civilian life? That's not to say that Mawer skimps on his research because he has not met a detail he does not include. This can mean that sometimes there's too much detail and the middle did seem to drag on a bit as I was absorbing all that detail about the development of atomic weapons but Mawer does write strong female leads who belong to the period he is writing in. So Marion is progressive and unlike most other women for her period (as the narrator, Sam points out regularly through juxtaposition) but she is never anachronistic which is a very difficult balance that Mawer strikes well. To be honest, I was sort of annoyed by Sam and his hero(ine) worship at first but as the book progressed he won me over and redeemed himself as Mawer shifts through events as felt by Marion and witnessed from the outside to produce what is in the end an intriguing biography of an interesting woman who moves from youthful optimism to something more adult while refusing to directly fit in.