From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Last Letter Home, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, comes a thrilling novel about a woman with an extraordinary life, based on a true story.
‘Fantastic… Exciting, impeccably researched and full of powerful period atmosphere’ Daily Mail
Minnie Gray is an ordinary young woman.
She is also a spy for the British government.
It all began in the summer of 1928…
Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.
Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.
She soon gains the trust of important leaders. But as she grows more and more entangled in the workings of the movement, her job becomes increasingly dangerous. Leading a double life is starting to take its toll on her relationships and, feeling more isolated than ever, she starts to wonder how this is all going to end. The Russians are notorious for ruthlessly disposing of people given the slightest suspicion.
What if they find out?
Full of suspense, courage and love, A Beautiful Spy is a stunningly written story about resisting the norm and following your dreams, even if they come with sacrifices.
An Incredible Read!
An amazing story, completely engaging!
Minnie Gray is a normal young woman, a secretary living at home with her mother. Convention dictates that she meets a man and settles to being a housewife and mother. However, Minnie wants more and her chance comes when she is approached to work for the British Government – as a spy. Without divulging what’s really going on to anyone, Minnie moves to London, finding a job and a flat, then starts attending Communist party meetings with the aim of finding out their secrets. As she is accepted and begins to prove her worth, the secrecy begins to wear her down and her health suffers along with her relationship. Well aware of how the Russian’s react to infiltrators, Minnie is in a constant state of worry and despair. Can she complete her mission?
I had no idea until I had completed this novel that it was based on fact; and that makes it even more astounding. I can honestly say I’ve never read another book quite like this, and it pulled me in from the very first. Such a smooth telling of a riveting tale made this an incredible read and one which kept me hooked from the very beginning to the final word. For anyone who thinks all spies are James Bond, this is a must read. Rachel Hore has excelled herself with her latest novel creating a beautifully written attention-grabbing read which I found very hard to put down. A stunning story, and one I’m extremely happy to both recommend and give all five sparkling stars.
My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: historical fiction
- Format: ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook
- Size: 413 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
- Publication Date: 18 February 2021
- Book Links:
barnesandnoble.com/w/the-beautiful-spy-rachel-hore/1137077585(opens in a new tab)
I’m the author of eleven bestselling novels, the most recent of which is The Love Child. My eleventh, A Beautiful Spy, is published in the UK in February 2021
I came to writing quite late, after a career editing fiction at HarperCollins in London. My husband and I had moved out to Norwich with our three young sons and I’d had to give up my job and writing was something that I’d always wanted to try. I originally studied history, so it was wonderful finally to put my knowledge to good use and to write The Dream House, which is partly set in the 1920s in Suffolk and London.
Most of my novels are dual narrative, often called ‘time slip’, with a story in the present alternating with one set in the past. I love the freedom that they give me to escape into the past, but also the dramatic ways in which the stories interact. My characters are often trying to solve some mystery about the past and by doing so to resolve some difficulty or puzzle in their own lives.
The books often involve a lot of research and this takes me down all sorts of interesting paths. For The Glass Painter’s Daughter I took an evening class in working with coloured glass. My creations were not very amazing, but making them gave me insight into the processes so that my characters’ activities would feel authentic. For A Week in Paris I had to research Paris in World War II and the early 1960s through films and books and by visiting the city – that was a great deal of work for one novel. Last Letter Home involved me touring a lot of country houses with old walled kitchen gardens in search of atmosphere and to explore the different kinds of plants grown there.
Places often inspire my stories. The Memory Garden, my second novel, is set in one of my favourite places in the world – Lamorna Cove in Cornwall – which is accessed through a lovely hidden valley. A Place of Secrets is set in a remote part of North Norfolk near Holt, where past and present seem to meet. Southwold in Suffolk, a characterful old-fashioned seaside resort with a harbour and a lighthouse, has been a much loved destination for our family holidays and has made an appearance in fictional guise in several of my novels, including The Silent Tide and The Love Child.
Until very recently I taught Publishing and Creative Writing part-time at the University of East Anglia, but I’ve just become a full-time writer, which feels a bit scary. My boys are all grown up now and finding their way in the world, but we still see a lot of them. My husband David is a writer, too (he writes as D.J. Taylor), so we understand each other’s working lives.
I find I have to have a regular routine with my writing, not least to keep the book in my head. My aim is to sit down at 9am every morning and write till lunchtime, then again the afternoon, but there is often something ready to interrupt this, not least our new Labrador puppy Zelda, so I go with the flow.
I hope that you are able to find my books easily and enjoy them – I am always happy to hear from readers!
- Website: https://rachelhore.co.uk/
- Twitter: @rachelhore
- Facebook: @RachelHoreAuthor
- Instagram: @rachel.hore
Visit Rachel at http://www.rachelhore.co.uk, or follow her on Twitter @rachelhore or Facebook