Tomorrow marks the return of First Monday Crime. To celebrate, we’re resharing Mandie’s review of Resistance by Mara Timon, one of this month’s guests of honour. You can hear all about the book form Mara Timon herself by joining Mara and the other panelists, Inga Vesper (The Long, Long Afternoon), Lesley Kara (The Dare), and debut author, Tariq Ashkanani (Welcome to Cooper) in conversation with Jonathan Whitelaw over on First Monday Crime’s Facebook page tomorrow (Monday 4th October) at 19:30. To find out more about the book, including Mandie’s thoughts, read on.
About the Book
THREE WOMEN. ONE MISSION. ENEMIES EVERYWHERE.
May 1944. When spy Elisabeth de Mornay, code name Cécile, notices a coded transmission from an agent in the field does not bear his usual signature, she suspects his cover has been blown – something that is happening with increasing frequency. With the situation in Occupied France worsening and growing fears that the Resistance has been compromised, Cécile is ordered behind enemy lines.
Having rendezvoused with her fellow agents, Léonie and Dominique, together they have one mission: help the Resistance destabilise German operations to pave the way for the Normandy landings.
But the life of a spy is never straightforward, and the in-fighting within the Resistance makes knowing who to trust ever more difficult. With their lives on the line, all three women will have to make decisions that could cost them everything – for not all their enemies are German.
Elisabeth de Mornay is back in London decoding messages when she notices a discrepancy in the tone of one of the messages. Fearing that the agent has been compromised she finds herself sent back to France on a new mission. As she reconnects with old friends and colleagues in order to help the resistance, she also comes face to face with someone she didn’t expect to see, and they could blow her cover and put her in danger. The question is will they?
Resistance is the follow up to Mara Timon’s debut novel City of Spies and she has managed to maintain the level of action and drama throughout. Elisabeth is a very strong character who manages to juggle her many identities and missions. Not only is she ensuring that messages are sent to England, she is also trying to route out a spy within the resistance, something that comes with considerable danger attached to it. In the world she inhabits where everyone lies for one reason or another you can see the struggles she has with trust, even with the people she has trained with and worked alongside before. With each new situation they are put in, there will always be the chance that they are now playing both sides in order just to survive. With time not on her side, Elisabeth has to make judgement calls quite often and hope they are the right ones.
Elisabeth is also struggling with another dilemma when she crosses paths with her husband who is actually an officer in the German army. He is well aware that she is hiding something from him, but he has taken the stance to not push for answers. You can feel the tension each time they meet, wondering if something will be revealed that will ultimately cost one or both of them their freedom or worse and you do have to wonder if this relationship can survive the war or if it will become a casualty of a different kind.
It is quite refreshing to come across a thriller set during WW2 where the main protagonist is female. Elisabeth and her fellow agents Léonie and Dominique find them in situations that many would shy away from, but they are determined to see their missions through at all costs. It is easy to forget that women played a great part in the war effort and Mara Timon has created a series that highlights this perfectly. I am thoroughly enjoying this series and am hoping that we will see more from Elisabeth soon as I feel there is a lot of unfinished business and I am not just talking about the war.
About the Author
Raised in New York, Mara Timon moved to the UK almost 20 years ago; and fell in love with London and the way it melds the old and the new. Growing up with one parent fascinated with literature and the other with history, she started writing from an early age, although it wasn’t until a programme on the BBC caught her interest, and one ‘what if’ led to another, that her first book began to take shape.