Friday, 5 September 2014

I Can't Begin To Tell You

I have read a lot of WWI and WWII books and this book really intrigued me as a woman's point of war in the spy network during WWII. The idea of the story is a great one, but I found the editing and style of writing really poor. The dialogue especially is really weak, with almost every sentence uttered by a character ending with an ellipsis or containing one. While researched well with the way codes worked when sending messages, the book came across as poorly researched with key conversations completely abandoned with sentences such as 'They discussed this further' or 'After more talking'. (These are not direct quotes by the way, just what I remember the writing being like).

I could not connect to any of the characters and the characters based in London Ruby and Mary are introduced so briefly and suddenly I kept thinking I had missed pages out. The beginning chapters begin with 'Day One' up to 'Day Three' but this is then abandoned and I found the concept of time hard to understand. A short line at the beginning of each chapter introducing the location, month and year would have been really useful as the storyline kept jumping around with no warning. However, I did read a proof copy so hopefully the final publication will be easier to read and better edited. The main part of the book is set in Denmark and the names of dogs, horses and even a spy - Thor, Odin, Sif and Loki -felt really lazy.

I really would not recommend this book - if you are looking for a story of women involved in underground resistance during WWI head for Citadel by Kate Mosse instead.

**SPOILERS** I also found the end so odd - with the whole family together when two of them are supposed to be undercover spies. The relationship between Tanne and Felix was not realistic at all and the way Felix trusted Kay and Tanne almost immediately did not ring true.

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