This could have been a really great book, I think. If only the author wouldn´t have left so many interwoven story lines unsolved. During the course of the narration (which needs a bit of concentration, as the chapters constantly switch between the 1940´s and 1976) you get to meet quite a lot of fellows with a history of their own (potential left-wing and Arab terrorists, for example) that just happen to fade out completety, forgotten threats that are annoying in the end when you come to realize how much more could have been spent on the fascinating story central to this novel.
Thumbs up for Rosamund Pike who delivers a marvelous performance, including an autehntic variety of accents and languages!
This is an interesting character study period piece. I'm going to find it in the library and read it. I've tried listening for 4 hours now and, for me at least, the pace is way too low for an audiobook. There are complaints about the reader's accents -- she does a pretty good job with the voice demands but the story doesn't do well with episodic listening as I tend to do with audiobooks. Definitely not an audiobook to keep you awake on a long drive... but worth a read.
Absolutely wonderful narration, elegant writing and a thoroughly enjoyable book. I agree with the readers who commented that the second story is a little weak, but the main story pulls you along with irresistible force. More books by this author please!
This book just appropriates you, just sucks you into its airless, menacing world. Would give it 5, if not for a bit dissapointing second storyline. Out of two plotlines, run in parallel - one around WW2 era, second in 1976 - I was completely captivated by the spy story, and felt like fast forwarding through some of the events of 1976. However, the spy story is completely captivating, on the par with Le Carre at his best - characters live life of deception, betrayal and cold calculation of one's every step - and that completely redeems relatively weak second story line. The narrator, Rosamund Pike, is superb - she wonderfully does many characters of many nationalities and accents without a trace of vocal histrionics, gives them flesh, so to speak, making them 3-dimensional. William Boyd's twist on the history of the US entering WW2 is also an added value to this amazing book. Great many thanks to Audible for this treat! Give us more Boyd! :-)
I haven't read this book on paper, though I've listened to it about half a dozen times, so I really don't know how much of my love affair with the story is about William Boyd, and how much to Rosalind Pike's narration.
She is just insanely good -- her reading of the book is intelligent, which can't be underestimated in narration, since its absence is always so cringey. Pike understands the characters and portrays them with sensitivity and respect, and her accents etc are pitch-perfect.
Huge kudos to Boyd as well, of course. The story is a ripsnorter -- war, espionage, betrayal, intrigue... gave me real insight into two historical contexts that he made fascinating and rich.
I listen to audiobooks constantly and have for years. I've listened to hundreds, and this is hands down the best in terms of narration and story. Do yourself a favour.
Audio Book Fiend
Throughout this book I felt like I might now what the next twist was, but I was fooled. I really enjoyed learning more about the characters and how they grew to be who they are. My only little concern was that some of the daughter's story was really irrelevant to the overall narrative. However, that is a really minor issue and the sections don't last long. Also, I really enjoyed the resolution to the story and the consistency of the mother's actions throughout.
The narrator's voice will be in my head for a long time. I rarely write reviews, and only write this one for the prospective reader who searches for a book of substance that will transport you to a world gone by, and yet be totally contemporary.
Do we ever know our mothers? Restless' ability to interweave a spy story, a mother/daughter discovery, and a mystery so thrilling that up until the last moment I wondered...who would die? who would live? In the final chapter, the reader look inward to our own sense of mortality, no longer expecting answers from a writer who provokes and then allows our own philosophical bent to take charge of our thoughts and emotions.
My only complaint is that I will need to take an audio break now. Too restless to read anything else.
I thought the narrator did a good job, and her accent was very upperclass British, the way the characters would have spoken.
The historical background and the role that false propaganda played out, not only by the Germans, but by the Brits and the Americans during WWII. The interwoven story line going from 1976 back to 1940 and 41 was also effective.
Probably the young Ava.
I recently saw the miniseries done on the Sundance Channel, and while it was good, the book is much better.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
The Narrator was excellent and the story was so interesting. it is about a woman and her mother. The woman finds out that her mother was a spy during the early years of World War II in England. Told from the point of view of both the daughter and the mother during her spy years in the form of a recently written memoir. As the daughter learns more and more about the woman she calls her mother but really has never known, she begins to look for adventure in her own life. Finally she decides to help her mother get back at the person who tried to kill her and forced her underground. I was immediatly drawn into the story and couldn't wait to listen to my ipod whenever I got in the car.
Mr. Boyd is a talented writer, no formulaic mystery boilerplate here. Rosamund Pike is great. The story is fun and I was sorry for it to end. So far, just this one audiobook by the author and narator. More, please!