Exposure by Helen Dunmore
The Last Word Review
A gripping and emotionally charged tale of espionage from the dark days of the cold war. Simply magnificent
The latest from Helen Dunmore has just hit the book shops. Exposure is an intricate title it can hide so many stories under the title. What Dumore has delivered is an outstanding spy story set in 1960’s era of the cold war where spies seemingly lurked around every corner.
One moment Simon Callington is lost in memories of a childhood while sat in a train carriage the next his life lies in total ruin. Simon Callington is a loyal family man married to Lily (Lili) originally from Germany but a Jewish refugee. Simon secured a decent Admiralty posting through his Cambridge chum Giles Holloway a hard drinking man that many would rather distance themselves from.
One night Holloway has drunk his fair share at home and falls badly and finds himself in hospital, except there is a problem he has left a file on his desk no ordinary file this one, but a ‘Top Secret’ file remember this is set in the cold war and this file should have left the Admiralty. So who can he trust to return the file before anyone realises it has gone missing.
Now at home sat by the fire Simon receives a telephone call that will change his life and his families lives. Giles Holloway wants Simon to go to his flat and collect the file and return it to the Admiralty when you add into the story that Simon is hiding a secret from his wife that dates back to his days at Cambridge. There is ‘blackmail’ in the air as Simon becomes the fall guy.
Simon is arrested and charged with selling secrets to the Russians, the police are not only looking at Simon they are very interested in Lily being of German origin despite fleeing in 1937. The house is turned upside down, and Lily is strong resourceful and will do anything for her children and it is Lily who is also under threat from those that will do anything to protect themselves. To me Lily is the real star of Exposure and she holds the family together. Now they must move and they head to the coast and rent a cottage by the sea and we see another part of this story that is not only a 1960’s spy story but it is a love story.
I have read nearly all of Helen Dunmore’s books but I am completely taken with Exposure and the shadowy world of espionage and the 1960’s cold war and the fears that came with it.
Exposure is a gripping and complex story that is moves along at a pace that the reader will fall in line with. The characters are as gripping as the storyline add to this the world of Cambridge University days and the secrets that adults hide and must never see the light of day.
Exposure by Helen Dunmore is published in Hardback by Hutchinson and available through all good book shops now.