#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · historical fiction · new adult · war

New Release Book Review: The Spy’s Wife by Fiona McIntosh

Title: The Spy’s Wife

Author: Fiona McIntosh

Published: November 2nd 2021

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 432

Genres: Fiction, Historical, War

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 5 stars

The highly anticipated new historical adventure from the bestselling author of The Champagne War.

Evie, a widow and stationmaster’s daughter, can’t help but look out for the weekly visit of the handsome man she and her sister call the Southerner on their train platform in the wilds of northern England. When polite salutations shift to friendly conversations, they become captivated by each other. After so much sorrow, the childless Evie can’t believe love and the chance for her own family have come into her life again.

With rumours coming out of Germany that Hitler may be stirring up war, local English authorities have warned against spies. Even Evie becomes suspicious of her new suitor, Roger. But all is not what it seems.

When Roger is arrested, Evie comes up with an audacious plan to prove his innocence that means moving to Germany and working as a British counter-spy. Wearing the disguise of dutiful, naïve wife, Evie must charm the Nazi Party’s dangerous officials to bring home hard evidence of war mongering on the Führer’s part.

But in this game of cat and mouse, it seems everyone has an ulterior motive, and Evie finds it impossible to know who to trust. With lives on the line, ultimate sacrifices will be made as she wrestles between her patriotism and saving the man she loves.

From the windswept moors of the Yorkshire dales to the noisy beer halls of Munich and grand country estates in the picture-book Bavarian mountains, this is a lively and high-stakes thriller that will keep you second-guessing until the very end.

Review:

‘Make me your spy in Germany,’ she repeated. ‘Use me instead.’

International bestselling author Fiona McIntosh presents her readers with a brand new historical adventure tale. The Spy’s Wife is an entrancing and ardent story that combines love with war-based intelligence work. Perplexing, engrossing, romantic and enlightening, The Spy’s Wife is an absolute must read this Christmas period.

The Spy’s Wife places Evie Armstrong in the lead role of this all-or-nothing style historical espionage novel from much loved Australian author Fiona McIntosh. Evie is a widow who works hard to support her father in his role as a stationmaster. When Evie is acquainted with a charming but aloof man named the ‘Southerner’ on the platform of her father’s station, she finds her life forever changed. What initially begins as a simple acquaintance soon becomes a relationship. Both Evie and the Southerner (Roger) are united in grief following the loss of their partners. Together Evie and Roger begin to make plans for their future happiness, but this is quickly derailed by the precarious situation in Germany. With the Nazi party starting to gain momentum and Hitler rising in popularity, the authorities in England are ramping up their protection measures. As a result, Roger comes under immediate suspicion. Roger is arrested and charged with spying by British authorities. But Evie isn’t letting her new love go in a hurry, so she hatches a plan to absolve her beloved of his charges.  This daring plan involves Evie moving to Germany and working as a spy for MI6. Evie must put her own life on the line to save Roger’s life, but can she fool the Nazi officials?

Author Fiona McIntosh’s annual pre-Christmas release is always a gift worth waiting for and The Spy’s Wife was no exception. I was going to wait until the Christmas period to read Fiona McIntosh’s latest historical based adventure, but I couldn’t resist delving into this one as soon as it arrived on my doorstep. Fiona McIntosh is a consistent author that I hold in high regard. The Spy’s Wife proved to be another top read from Australia’s queen of historical fiction.

Every Fiona McIntosh book I have read is a visual spectacle. The Spy’s Wife crosses the Yorkshire dales with Britain’s capital and pre-war Berlin. Each historical landscape is sculpted to perfection by Fiona McIntosh. It is abundantly clear that McIntosh has devoted many hours of first-hand research to inform her novel. In fact, it was interesting to note in my media release that accompanied the book that Fiona McIntosh was on location researching her European settings when the borders to Australia were closed off. This meant that McIntosh could not embark on her usual meticulous level of detail in relation to her settings. With the generous assistance of researchers in Germany and Britain, Fiona McIntosh was able to complete The Spy’s Wife from her South Australian home. In terms of the setting, I did love all three location bases featured in the novel, but I did favour the Yorkshire sequences. Having spent a great deal of time in Yorkshire due to a having family based in this area of Britain, I found a connection to this particular setting. I think I had an emotional response to this location base which elevated my overall response to The Spy’s Wife

Fiona McIntosh works hard to shine a light on female participation during pre Second World War times. Through the character of Evie, McIntosh provides a strong voice to the women on the home front who experienced great loss, but were still prepared to put their lives on the line to save their loved ones and country. Evie is a woman I developed a high level of respect for and I admired her brave efforts, along with her selfless attitude. I also loved Evie’s side work as the daughter of a stationmaster in Britain during the wartime years. This was an enlightening slice of female war participation and European history that I valued greatly.

Lead protagonist Evie is backed by a range of memorable characters, who offer both support and conflict to the novel as a whole. Evie’ s sister Rosie was a protagonist that had me up in arms as she issues her sister with a huge act of betrayal in the novel. McIntosh also places a rather unsavoury character named Giselle in the Germany sequences which provides a good versus bad character balance. I really warmed to feature protagonist Hugh, he was a fantastic addition to the cast and I enjoyed Hugh’s interactions with the main characters. McIntosh certainly knows how to dream up the perfect ensemble cast and The Spy’s Wife offers a fantastic group of characters that we can follow for a page-based historical adventure.

With a sweeping and unforgettable love story leading the way, The Spy’s Wife has so much to offer. Espionage, thrills, acts of courage, tests of endurance, patience and trust all lead the way in Fiona McIntosh’s thirteenth release. This one doesn’t disappoint in any shape or form so I rate The Spy’s Wife five stars.

The Spy’s Wife by Fiona McIntosh was published on 2nd November 2021 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Spy’s Wife, Fiona McIntosh, visit here.

*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The Spy’s Wife  is book #102 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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