A 60s spy thriller with an interesting perspective twist.
The cold war and espionage in the 60s is the backdrop of ‘What About the Girl? Clemency White Takes Over’ by K.T. Cavan. The first in a spy series following Clemency White as she jumps at an opportunity to get involved in an undercover operation with agent Peter Aspinall. A different side of life from her work at the British Embassy in Bern, Clemency has to use strength, skills and courage she didn’t know she had as the KGB move in.
I like Clemency, she seems a little amateur and makes rash decisions in the beginning and I enjoyed watching her character slowly develop as the book unfolds and I’m sure there’s more development to come as the series progresses. This is a fast paced book, full of interest and excitement and it is one that I found myself “one more chapter-ing” waiting to see what would happen next. Even though most of the focus is on Clemency and Peter, their relationship and the job in hand, the author still manages to add some dimension into the outside world, the setting and the cities the characters visit. I liked the tension building throughout the plot, the “will they won’t they” of Clemency and Peter as well as the constant risk of agents and eyes everywhere in the plot. The narrative flips perspectives during one especially dire situation and I found this further increased the tension, drawing the narrative out and left me eagerly wanting to read more. I’d recommend this book to those who love readers who love 60s espionage tales (think Man from U.N.C.L.E, or early Bond films) but want to try something with an interesting twist in perspective.
Berne, 1962. When Clemency is asked to help Peter Aspinal pick up some film from one of his agents, she jumps at the chance. It's a welcome change from her routine desk job at the British Embassy. Peter himself is the kind of charming, cultured and slightly dangerous man a girl could fall for. But then the romance turns to terror as the KGB move in. Cut off from help in the Alps, Clemency finds she has hidden skills and courage. But will it be enough to save her and Peter from elimination by their ruthless opponents? First in a series featuring Clemency White, a cypher clerk in the Foreign Office who ends up as one of MI6's top agents. With 60s glamour, exotic locations, plenty of action and a strong female lead, they mix the excitement of the Connery-Bond era with a feminine sensibility. The series is on-topic for 2021, with the same 1960s settings and themes of women's place in society as The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and The Queen's Gambit. The next two titles, The Girl Knows Nothing and Come Spy with Me, will be published later in the summer of 2021.
|Publication date:||28th May 2021|
|Publisher:||ASP an imprint of IndieBooks|
|Primary Genre||Crime and Mystery|
A sharply written, lushly set, and stylish Cold War thriller equally interested in the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.- Rosalie Knecht, author of Who I Vera Kelly? and Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery;
What About the Girl? definitely gets the series off to a good start. The author writes well and allows the story to evolve gradually without getting too complicated about the political agenda. There is a definite sixties vibe to the story, from the striking cover which is so reminiscent of spy thrillers of the time, to the perception early on in the story that it's the men who are in charge, but it's good to see that notion being challenged as Clemency starts to show just what she is capable of achieving.It's interesting to have an espionage thriller which allows a woman in the nineteen sixties to take a lead role as all too often historical spy stories in this era have, as their focus, the intrepid hero who saves the day, so having an intelligent female take a central role makes the story just that little bit different and highly enjoyable. I look forward to meeting Clemency White in future stories. - JaffaReadsToo;
I started the year by reading about 1960s espionage (in Red Corona) - and I've revisited that era with What About the Girl? by K. T. Cavan. This book has a little bit more mystery about it, as K. T. Cavan is a pseudonym for an alleged member of the intelligence community, so you would hope that some of the 'spycraft' would be authentically described - it certainly had plenty of detail in that area. As a book, it is indeed thrilling and mysterious, and it's great to see a female agent pushed to the fore. The story itself deals with the Soviets (of course!), but via Romania which I am happy to confess is a country that I know little about - particularly in terms of its relationships whilst under communist rule. The most striking thing about the story was the refusal to paint the British as wholly 'the goodies', and an acknowledgement that espionage is a dirty business with casualties on both sides. There is a particularly good scene when Clemency realises that the man is worth less than the mission to those in command - she then has to decide for herself whether this is what she wants to be a part of.Despite, on the whole, enjoying the book tremendously my slight quibble with it was that, even while featuring a strong female lead, there was still too much bottom pinching, and reference to her as a silly girl for my liking. I'm not sure yet whether that was the pastiche of 1960s spy fiction, but I have the second book in the series to read and help me decide.I have to mention the cover design here too - I just loved the illustration by Jacqueline Bissett which was fully in keeping with those spy novels of old... - ItTakesAWoman