Most helpful critical review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It's not bad
on 19 July 2012
It's not a bad book, but still I found it very clunky at times.
The protagonist Amelia drifts through the novel, risking her life in ever more fanciful scenarios for a variety of men, motivated by who knows what.
Her political trajectory, from passionate communist to WWII spy to cold war warrior, is never fully explored or given any proper grounding.
She's passionate, beautiful, intelligent, fragile, strong, wilful, calculating, submissive, charming and so on. But these characteristics are hardly present in the person we meet on the page and never make a fully rounded character.
Added to that that the narrative device of having her great-grandson travelling the world investigating her story is dealt with in a most perfunctory manner. The poor Guillermo never achieves 3 dimensions and remains a mere plot device for the entire story.
On the plus side, the parts describing the civil war are great - vivid and immediate, and she writes a good yarn when the action starts.
I've read better!