Wife. Mother. Spy. A double life is no life at all.
Since the disappearance of her husband in 1951, Laura Leverett has been living in limbo with her daughter in Geneva. All others see is her conventional, charming exterior; nobody guesses the secret she is carrying.
Her double life began years ago, when she stepped onto the boat which carried her across the Atlantic in 1939. Eager to learn and eager to love, she found herself suddenly inspired by a young Communist woman she met on the boat. In London she began to move between two different worlds - from the urbane society of her cousins and their upper-class friends to the anger of those who wanted to forge a new society. One night at a party, she met a man who seemed to her to combine both worlds but who was hiding a secret bigger than she could ever imagine. Impelled by desire, she found herself caught up in his hidden life. Love grew, but so did fear and danger.
This is the warm-blooded story of the Cold War. The story of a wife whose part would take her from London in the Blitz to Washington at the height of McCarthyism to the possible haven of the English countryside. Gradually she learned what was at stake for herself, her husband, and her daughter; gradually she realised the dark consequences of her youthful idealism.
Sweeping and exhilarating, alive with passion and betrayal, A Quiet Life is the first novel from a brilliant new voice in British fiction.
"A tour de force. Walter has taken us inside a life in hiding, in a novel about love, about political ideals and about the entrapment both create." (Linda Grant)
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