I remember feeling enthralled by Lamb's perceptivity in his earlier books. This one, however, features characters who strike me as trite, shallow. And despite the awesome line-up of narrators, I found myself dreading the tedium of listening further.
I would probably recommend reading this book with your eyes, rather than listening to the audiobook.
Geraldine Hughes does have a beautiful voice for narration, but just didn't fit the demands of this book, in my opinion. She reads with a breathless urgency that kind of numbed me to variations in the suspense level. I found myself tuning out, then backtracking when I realized something dramatic had occurred. Hughes was in her element during the last segment of the book, however.(No spoilers here!)The story was very character-driven, which I usually enjoy. Again I blame the narration because I didn't get a sense of the various characters through Hughes's interpretation. The two pilots in the first section sounded like one guy, or maybe one woman with a lovely Irish accent.
The complexity of the spy puzzle was the most appealing aspect of the story's plot for me. It required some careful listening, since clues are casually dropped throughout the book.
In most ways, this story is unique, revealing pieces of history that were unknown to me. But if pressed, I might compare it to Aidan Chambers's Postcards from No Man's Land. This also takes place during World War II, with two stories that run parallel and gradually come together, at least thematically. Another complex, multi-narrator tale set in World War II era England is Connie Willis's Blackout, and its conclusion, All Clear.
Morven Christie is absolutely stellar in her part of the narration. She moves easily through the accents and languages of Scotland, England, France, and Germany. There is all the panache and bravado that one would expect of her character.
Verity, the ultimate changeling, is such a powerful character that she is present in every scene, even by her absence. One of the main appeals of her story is ferreting out the truth in what she describes. Maddie's narration is but a satellite of Verity's gripping tale.
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