Adopting the manners and attitudes of those around her, was something that Evelyn had done since she became a scholarship girl at Raheen, a prestigious private school. These qualities make Evelyn Varely the ideal woman to be recruited by MI5 as a counter intelligence spy. In the historical fiction “The Imitator”, author Rebecca Starford has created a wonderful female spy fiction in which Evelyn, the main protagonist, is loosely based on the career of a real spy, Joan Miller, who was involved in wartime espionage which occurred in London between 1939 and 1940.
After Evelyn, a bright student, the daughter of a Lewes working class couple won a scholarship to Raheen, she realised that in order to fit into the social circles at this boarding school and university she needed to hide her real self. Having studied German at Oxford, Evelyn through her association with the well to do family of her friend Sally Wesley, obtained a position at the War Office, which soon led to her recruitment as spy.
Her clandestine work as a member of the elite counter-intelligence department of Bennet White, involved infiltrating the Lion Society, a group of fascists; her ability to observe others and fit in with their way of living underlined her success. Having pretended to be something she wasn’t for most of her life, Evelyn had trouble understanding what was real; distinguishing friend from foe.
I highly recommend this well research historical novel, which alternates between the late 1930s-1940s and 1948 to readers who enjoy a thought provoking book. With its plot twists and dramatic events, this fascinating fiction immerses the reader in the life of Evelyn in wartime London, keeping the reader reflecting on Evelyn’s dilemma long after the last page has been read.
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|