The Imitator by Rebecca Starford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An enjoyable novel about the role of women in WWII espionage. By the author’s own admission, the characters are in the main invented and the story is loosely true, an artful combination that sits well with me.
The central character, Evelyn, is unlike other girls. She is clever and not afraid of a challenge; marriage and family are not her primary concerns. The setting in wartime London is believable, albeit the weather is continuously cold and bleak. The writing is confident and well-paced as the narrative develops into something of a spy-thriller.
My only gripe is that I often found myself lost in time, having to retrace to the chapter headings to get my bearings. For me, and possibly also for the author, the settings of the present (1948) and the past (1940), just eight years apart, are largely indistinguishable. As a fellow author of WWII historical fiction, I acknowledge the challenge of imagining an era based on second-hand experience (films, literature, archival records, stories of great-grandmothers) and writing it with authenticity.
That aside, the novel is well worth a read.
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