This is the first novel by Helen Dunmore that I have read, and I loved it, so much so, I hot footed it to the library to pick up some more of her work.
The premise is espionage, but if you are expecting a Le Carre type plot, this is going to disappoint you. Set in 1960s London, the Second World War is still an open wound, and now The Cold War is ramping up paranoia. Lily, is happily married to Simon and they live with their three children in Muswell Hill. One day, Simon receives a plea from an old friend, Giles, and against his better judgement he helps. His friend is a spy, and it leads to Simon being arrested for espionage. Lily and the children flee to a lonely coastal town to escape the gossip whilst Simon languishes in prison.
There is a whole load of back story to Lily, Simon and Giles which adds a wonderful layer of complexity to the narrative. Dunmore is brilliant in capturing the time, place and attitudes of the 1960s.
The characters are wonderfully human. There are no James Bond escapades here, just people trying to cope with their past which is now has the potential to wreck their future. The ending I have to say is wonderful. It is dynamic, claustrophobic and perfectly pitched.