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( Read Epub ) ⚡ A Quiet Life Ý A double life is no life at allSince the disappearance of her husband in , Laura Leverett has been living in limbo with her daughter in Geneva All others see is her conventional, charming exterior nobody guesses the secret she is carryingHer double life began years ago, when she stepped on to the boat which carried her across the Atlantic inEager to learn, and eager to love, she found herself suddenly inspired by a young Communist woman she met on the boat In London she begins to move between two different worlds from the urbane society of her cousins and their upper class friends, to the anger of those who want to forge a new society One night at a party she meets a man who seems to her to combine both worlds, but who is hiding a secret bigger than she could ever imagineImpelled by desire, she finds herself caught up in his hidden life Love grows, but so do fear and danger This is the warm blooded story of the Cold War The story of a wife whose part will take her from London in the Blitz, to Washington at the height of McCarthyism, to the possible haven of the English countryside Gradually she learns what is at stake for herself, her husband, and her daughter gradually she realises the dark consequences of her youthful idealismSweeping and exhilarating, alive with passion and betrayal, A Quiet Life is the first novel from a brilliant new voice in British fiction she has been cleverer than all of them, she thinks to herself No one suspects her Valance even thinks that she will work for him, if he needs her Even Mother, even Ellen, even Winifred nobody thinks that she was anything but an innocent wife Her mask has been a good one Has her face stayed intact behind it Based on the life of Melinda Marling, the wife of Donald McLean, A Quiet Life tells the story of Laura Leverett who travels from America to London just before the outbreak of the Sec she has been cleverer than all of them, she thinks to herself No one suspects her Valance even thinks that she will work for him, if he needs her Even Mother, even Ellen, even Winifred nobody thinks that she was anything but an innocent wife Her mask has been a good one Has her face stayed intact behind it Based on the life of Melinda Marling, the wife of Donald McLean, A Quiet Life tells the story of Laura Leverett who travels from America to London just before the outbreak of the Second World War On board ship she meets some Communists, including the charismatic Florence in London she pretends to her relatives that she has a secret boyfriend, so as to slip out to Party meetings Then she meets Edward, a sophisticated chap who works at the Foreign Office he turns out to be a spy They marry Now Laura is a spy too Edward and Laura go to Washington after the war then Edward s double life is uncovered, they return to England, and Edward flees his house in Surrey and his pregnant wife.This could have been so much better than it was Laura seems to have little personality and no real direction She overhears various damning comments about herself but, if she s upset or angry, we don t see it She is also oblivious to her husband s homosexuality, and to her own romantic sexual impulses towards Florence and other women of her acquaintance Which is not to say that Edward and Laura have a platonic relationship on the contrary, sex is the glue that holds them together, though it is presented in a transactional way did they both climax Did they climax together Walter may have heard the axiom show, don t tell but she is having none of it Far too many conversations are summarised, rather than given in full in their comments on her, which moved from the admiring to the moralising, they hinted at their own desires After that the conversation led on to other things, but they feltwarmly now towards one another This technique makes Laura feeldistant I don t know how much of her behaviour is in service of the mask she must present, the pretty silly American wife but there doesn t seem to be anything much behind the mask True, there s a secret that she s kept since her teenaged years I m not sure if the nature of this secret was ever indicated, though I suspect it is something to do with her family, from whom she attempts to distance herself throughout the novel Only once abandoned by Edward is she forced to accept that her mother s fidelity is in fact love it s not clear whether Laura reciprocates at all.I did like the descriptions of wartime London and there are occasional flashes of excellence, like the description of London seen from a fast car rolling past the windows with a kind of emphatic repleteness On the whole, though, I would rather have read an actual biography.I may have missed something muchpositive review The author has written a detailed historical story about double lives and spying Clearly a lot of meticulous research has gone into it and it draws on a number of real life cases In 1939, Laura moves to England from the United States Over time, she acquires a secretive life and she has the perfect character to do so She is a buttoned down personality who easily takes on the layers of secrecy required It is a well plotted novel that has exquisite descriptions You get a real feel of the fear The author has written a detailed historical story about double lives and spying Clearly a lot of meticulous research has gone into it and it draws on a number of real life cases In 1939, Laura moves to England from the United States Over time, she acquires a secretive life and she has the perfect character to do so She is a buttoned down personality who easily takes on the layers of secrecy required It is a well plotted novel that has exquisite descriptions You get a real feel of the fear that real life spies must have felt A great and suspenseful read Many thanks to the Borough Press for an ARC I was surprised and intrigued to see that the feminist and humanitarian Natasha Walter who previously only wrote nonfiction has published her first novel The blurb for A Quiet Life explains how it s about a female spy during WWII and I wasn t sure how a thrilling plot like this would work alongside the author s compelling ideas about feminism As it turns out, the main character Laura is not a feminist or especially an intellectual She doesn t become a political subversive and spy delivering I was surprised and intrigued to see that the feminist and humanitarian Natasha Walter who previously only wrote nonfiction has published her first novel The blurb for A Quiet Life explains how it s about a female spy during WWII and I wasn t sure how a thrilling plot like this would work alongside the author s compelling ideas about feminism As it turns out, the main character Laura is not a feminist or especially an intellectual She doesn t become a political subversive and spy delivering crucial government secrets to an underground communist network for the Soviet Union because she has particularly high ideals Rather, she takes on this highly dangerous and controversial work because she s influenced by a passionate female friend and a man she falls in love with However, the way in which Walter captures the subtlety of Laura s psychology, the prevailing ideologies social attitudes of the era and the crisis of an individual s political consciousness during times of international conflict is absolutely compelling It makes Laura adynamic subject and her storyengagingly complex than if Walter had chosen to write a whole novel about Florence, Laura s ardent communist friend Reading A Quiet Life felt to me like reading a novel by Doris Lessing for the way it wholly commits to faithfully representing Laura s experience in times of political turbulence.Read my full review of A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter on LonesomeReader 2.5 5The attempted integration of a narrative heavy on espionage, wartime romance, and marital strife with the predominant theme, social constraints on women in the mid 20th century, doesn t work well here Perhaps Walter, author of two quite successful books on feminism, was overly concerned about being too discursive or didactic in addressing her concerns With the upshot being that she kits out the story in a lot of cliched material, loses sight of character development, and buries her terrif 2.5 5The attempted integration of a narrative heavy on espionage, wartime romance, and marital strife with the predominant theme, social constraints on women in the mid 20th century, doesn t work well here Perhaps Walter, author of two quite successful books on feminism, was overly concerned about being too discursive or didactic in addressing her concerns With the upshot being that she kits out the story in a lot of cliched material, loses sight of character development, and buries her terrific insights in a baggy narrative Frustrating