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 on to 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 begins to move between two different worlds – from the urbane society of her cousins and their upper class friends, to the anger of those who want to forge a new society. One night at a party she meets a man who seems to her to combine both worlds, but who is hiding a secret bigger than she could ever imagine.
Impelled by desire, she finds herself caught up in his hidden life. Love grows, but so do fear and danger. This is the warm-blooded story of the Cold War. The story of a wife whose part will take her from London in the Blitz, to Washington at the height of McCarthyism, to the possible haven of the English countryside. Gradually she learns what is at stake for herself, her husband, and her daughter; gradually she realises 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.
Praise for A QUIET LIFE:
‘A superb, sophisticated and radical book that refreshes the parts other spy novels cannot reach … Meticulously researched and disarmingly told, A Quiet Life is historical fiction at its best, finding vast uncharted territories within a period we might have thought we knew.’ Chris Cleave, author of THE OTHER HAND and EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN
‘A writer of game-changing skill and sensitivity. Few novelists can combine serious feminism with romance and adventure and make it work … a literary page-turner’ THE TIMES
‘Impressive and rewarding’ DAILY MAIL
‘Evokes the period with brilliant precision and detail’ THE SUNDAY TIMES
‘Impressive … easily competing with the claims of such experienced novelists as Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd to the territory’ GUARDIAN
‘A troubling, understated novel, almost hypnotic in the completeness with which it inhabits the mind of its impressionable central character’ SARAH WATERS Best Books of the Summer, GUARDIAN
‘Brilliant’ JULIE MYERSON, Best Books of the Summer, GUARDIAN
‘Elegant, slow-burning… leaving you with no choice but to read on’ METRO
‘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
‘A brilliant observer of period, place and upper-class mores’ DAILY MAIL
‘Riveting’ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
‘The novel really sings’ INDEPENDENT
‘This thrilling tale of sacrifice, love, secrets, and identity is an absorbing debut novel from the feminist author of Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism’ STYLIST
‘As well as having a gift for cool, elegant phrasing, and a fine sensitivity to psychology … Walter proves to be a hardworking and accomplished storyteller’ GUARDIAN
‘This ambitious debut fuses espionage, wartime romance, and enquiry into female identity and power’ MAIL ON SUNDAY
‘Genuinely one of the best books I’ve ever read’ Chris Cleave