I did not find his main character, Serena Frome, very believable or sympathetic. It is not clear why the main male character is so smitten with her, nor she with him. By the end u learn that the whole story has been a rather elaborate conceit, which makes for a clever twist on the part of the author--but doesn't make me care any more about the characters.
The setting in MI-5 sounds more intriguing than it turns out to be. I would consider that perhaps MacEwan is resting on his laurels, altho I read that this and ATONEMENT are his personal favorites among his novels thus far. I also read that it is being made into a movie--this may be one of those stories that can come to life on the screen in a way that it did not in print.
This audio version also suffered from an uninspired performance by the narrator.
The NPR reviewer, Maureen Corrigan, did a short review on the program Fresh Air that aptly articulated for me my problems with this novel and I recommend it to anyone considering this book.
Only three of the six (soon to be seven) Rimington thrillers are on audible. I can't wait til they are all recorded. Rimington, former director general of MI-5--Britain's CIA--writes realistic and modern spy thrillers that are the best I've ever read.
After seeing and enjoying the movie three times it was hard to imagine that the book could come close to how I felt about that wonderful movie The INTOUCHABLES. But having phillippe pozzo di borgo's first person narrative fill in the incredible details of his life before and after the movie, I was just as enthralled and plan to listen to it all over again. His caretaker Abdel Sellou has also written a book, YOU CHANGED MY LIFE which is on kindle but not on audible . . . Yet. Hope it will be soon as it is also a remarkable piece of writing that I would love to hear narrated.
The young woman who plays Laura in the BBC version of this book, Olivia Hallinan, is the narrator for this production and she was absolutely perfect. The book itself is superior to the TV series, more evocative of the real lives of the family in this 1880s poverty stricken hamlet and not needing to create heroes as the film does. People and depiction of poverty are far more realistic and engaging.
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