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Restless by William Boyd


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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 14 February 2007.

Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2006.

Judges' comment:
"Beautifully crafted. Boyd gives us a page-turner, despite the story's complex wartime intrigue. Restless is packed with riveting detail: it is a novel reeking of authenticity."

Sarah Broadhurst's view...
I am an enormous fan of William Boyd although some of his novels are a little disappointing. Not this one. I must admit I was surprised to discover that it is actually just a spy story … but what a story. It begins in 1976 when Ruth discovers her mother is not the cantankerous English lady she was always known, but one Eve Delectorskaya, spy and wartime heroine. Eveâs wartime story then unfolds alongside the present and more surprises. This is terrific stuff, beautifully written, suspenseful, compulsive, emotional and historically fascinating. Itâs one hell of a tale. I loved it.

Comparison: John Le Carré, Sebastian Faulks, Robert Harris.

If you like William Boyd you might also like to read books by Alan Hollinghurst, Ian McEwan and Robert Harris.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Restless by William Boyd

What happens to your life when everything you thought you knew about your mother turns out to be an elaborate lie? During the long, hot summer of 1976, Ruth Gilmartin discovers that her very English mother Sally is really Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian émigré and one-time spy.

In 1939 Eva is a beautiful twenty-eight year old living in Paris. As war breaks out, she is recruited for the British Secret Service by Lucas Romer, a mysterious, patrician Englishman. Under his tutelage she learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one. Even those she loves most.

Since then Eva has carefully rebuilt her life — but once a spy, always a spy. And now she must complete one last assignment. This time, though, Eva can't do it alone: she needs her daughterâs help.

Restless is a tour de force. Exploring the devastating consequences of duplicity and betrayal William Boydâs gripping novel captures the drama of the Second World War and a remarkable portrait of a female spy. Full of suspense, emotion and history, this is storytelling at its very finest.


“Boyd has an exceptional ability to tell a really compelling story, in dense imaginative detail, about characters with complex, and convincing, emotional lives.” Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Serious, provocative and intelligent, Boydâs writing is endlessly receptive to ideas and always prepared to risk emotion.” Telegraph

About the Author

William Boyd

William Boyd is the author of eleven novels including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice-Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach, winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet and adapted into a Channel 4 drama; Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard & Judy selection; Ordinary Thunderstorms and, most recently, the Sunday Times bestseller, Waiting for Sunrise. William Boyd lives in London and France.

Photograph © Jerry Bauer

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd January 2007


William Boyd

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336 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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