2020 Reviews · historical fiction

Book Review: Spy by Danielle Steel

Title: Spyspy small

Author: Danielle Steel

Published: November 11th 2019

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 288

Genres:  Fiction, Historical

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 3 stars

It is 1939 and although she doesn’t know it, it will be the last normal summer Alexandra Wickham will spend for more than thirty years. Alexandra is a young woman who sees her brothers fight and die for their country, and, inspired by their heroism, she is determined to do what she can for the war effort.

As a volunteer for the First Aid Corps, her courage, intelligence and talent for languages do not go unnoticed. Before long, she is approached by MI6 to go undercover and work as a spy. Undertaking some of the most dangerous missions of the war in France, she falls in love with a young soldier, who leaves the army behind for the relative security of the diplomatic corps. They marry, but her identity is a secret, even to her husband.

Over the next thirty years – as she raises a family – Alexandra continues to work undercover in some of the most dangerous trouble spots in the world under the perfect guise of a diplomat’s wife. From India to Hong Kong, Morocco to Moscow, she puts her life on the line serving her country, whilst never receiving recognition.

Spy by Danielle Steel is the page-turning story of a fearless young woman risking everything for what she believes in.


‘There was no turning back, and she didn’t want to. She was an agent of British intelligence, and beyond the fear and victory and her own amazement, there was an overwhelming feeling of pride that she had done something for her country at last, something that mattered and would save lives. And she was willing to sacrifice her own life to do it.’

Danielle Steel shows no signs of slowing down, despite the fact that she has issued her 185th published novel with Spy. Steel continues to release up to half a dozen new books a year, entertaining her loyal readers across the globe. Spy is a historical fiction based novel that combines elements of espionage, romance, drama and mystery.

Alexandra Wickham leads Spy, a historical fiction title by Danielle Steel. Spy begins its journey in 1939, a heartbreaking time for the heroine of this tale. 1939 marks the beginning of a new era for Alex, she joins the war effort, but she also sees her family die for their country. Beginning as a volunteer in the First Aid Corps division, Alex’s capacity to prevail in the face of adversity catches the attention of the intelligence agency M16. Alex’s fearless nature and flair for languages sees her recruited as a spy, working underground. It is a role that sees Alex tackle a number of perilous missions, but Alex knows that her efforts will help her country in this time of great sacrifice. Alex’s dangerous adventures in France lead her to a soldier, who will capture her heart. Eventually this soldier trades the army for a new life as a diplomat. The two marry, but Alex continues to live a double life, as a spy and wife of a diplomat. Spy spans three decades, as Alex continues to hold her post as an undercover officer for MI6. She also becomes a wife, mother and eventually a grandmother. We see Alex cross the globe, travelling to India, Russia and the US, while keeping up the guise of a spy. It is a risky and treacherous existence, but as the years roll on, Alex continues to keep her occupation a secret.

Danielle Steel is quite a versatile author and over the years she released books from a number of different genres. Spy is a book that falls into the historical fiction category, but it also pulls in elements of espionage, family drama, adventure and romance. I did enjoy aspects of this novel, but I can’t say that it was memorable.

The lead character of Alexandra Wickham is well developed and appealing. She is brave, fearless, determined and astute. I admired many of her qualities and I hoped that she would succeed. Some of the situations Alex was faced with helped the reader to better understand who she was and what she stood for. Family, loyalty and honour were important to Alex, but I also think she enjoyed the thrill of the missions she was sent on. I appreciated the travel aspect Alex’s position afforded to reader. We are taken from Britain, to France, India, Russia, the US and even Morocco. This was a great globetrotting experience!

As always with a Danielle Steel novel there is an element of romance. The love story between Alex and Richard was nicely done. There was a nostalgic quality to this romance and I liked how Steel chose to follow this couple across time. We are by this couple’s side as they eventually marry, after putting it off during the war. We also witness moments of pure happiness and episodes of despair. There are times of loss, blame, fears and hope. We also see the branches of Alex and Richard’s family expand over time, which helps you stay invested in this couple’s life journey.

As this is a historical fiction novel there are references to the war – both during and after. There is a chance to become acquainted with the turmoil experienced by many countries across the world following the close of the war, which was enlightening. The opportunity to glean a little more about the recruitment and operations of MI6 was interesting. However, I will say that Steel tries to cover a great deal of ground in a novel of less than 300 pages. I felt the details of aspects of this novel were only gently touched upon. In some instances I was given useful facts, but I would have preferred some depth and exploration further into the situations faced by the lead, but that is only my personal opinion.

Get caught up in the shadowy experiences of a female agent, across the ages in Spy. A story of family relationships, romance, loss, standing up for your beliefs and commitment defines this late 2019 release, from one of the world’s most popular authors.

Spy was published on 11th November 2019 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Spy, Danielle Steel, visit here.

*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Spy by Danielle Steel

  1. Oh, excellent review, Amanda! And wow, another Danielle Steel book, you’ve read quite a few lately!
    Right away I was reminded of the movie True Lies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, well, the undercover spy side anyway.
    I think this year is going to go by again without me picking up a Danielle Steel book 😪 and I own soooo many 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue! It was just a shame this one began as most recent Steel books do, very interesting and then it doesn’t quite hit the mark!

      I didn’t make the True Lies link, but I can see it- yes!

      I hope you can knock at least one Steel book off your pile! I still have two review books written by her last year to cover at some point!


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