Part of the fun of my monthly prompts is getting together a nice pile of books to match the monthly theme, perusing, dipping into a few and then choosing one. This month's prompt was not quite as random as the rest will be. I actually had a book in mind and was ready to dive in, so I set the theme and pulled the book and here I am already in the thick of the story!
I have read a number of books by Helen Dunmore and enjoyed each and every one. She was a marvelous writer and her prose is always engaging and very elegant. It is not for nothing that she was the first winner of the Orange Prize (a book I really need to reread). I had been eyeing her recent Cold War spy novel, Exposure, for some time now. After noting a complete lack of spy fiction last year, it put me in the mood for something sooner rather than later and preferably either from the perspective of a female protagonist or with a strong female lead. So I naturally grabbed the Dunmore. I started reading today and it just clicked, so (as with all my fresh starts this year) I am excited to keep reaching for it.
"London, November, 1960: the Cold War is at its height. Spy fever fills the newspapers, and the political establishment knows how and where to bury its secrets. When a highly sensitive file goes missing, Simon Callington is accused of passing information to the Soviets, and arrested. His wife, Lily, suspects that his imprisonment is part of a cover-up, and that more powerful men than Simon will do anything to prevent their own downfall. She knows that she too is in danger, and must fight to protect her children. But what she does not realize is that Simon has hidden vital truths about his past, and may be found guilty of another crime that carries with it an even greater penalty."
Lots about it appeal, Lily, the Cold War era and especially a London setting. It has been called "a deceptively simple masterpiece" as well as "the sort of winter read you hanker for . . . the period is so meticulously recreated that you can almost hear the hiss f the gas streetlamps." Perfect! Bring on the weekend. I know how I will be filling my spare reading hours.