From bestselling Australian author Fiona McIntosh comes the new historical fiction book “The Spy’s Wife”.
This incredible story follows Evie, a widow and stationmaster’s daughter. As polite interactions turn to friendly conversations on their train platform, Evie becomes captivated by a young gentleman named Roger. So, when Roger is arrested, Evie comes up with an audacious plan to prove his innocence. This includes moving to Germany and working as a British counterspy.
Exclusively for QBD Books, Fiona talks about her inspiration behind the book:
At 19, I began commuting to London from Brighton for my work and had time to devour books on the train. I read Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle and was astonished to learn there had been German spies in England. It obviously percolated for 40 years and then when I was deciding back in 2019 what to write for the 2021 release I decided to write a story about a German spy in England and an English spy in Germany during the mid 1930s.
The First World War, Spanish Flu, the Great Depression… it all led into Germany’s gloom of the early 1930s and this cauldron of humiliation, poverty, inflation and despair set up a perfect situation for the rise of Nazi ideology. I used that historical platform to fashion this story, keeping in mind that my characters do not know that war is coming in 1939.
I’ve deliberately chosen for it to take place during spring and summer of 1936, well away from war, so only my two lead characters are feeling the strain that is building through the tale.
But chapter one begins quietly on the North Yorkshire Moors in a sleepy backwater of a branch railway line where Evie is realising she must lift herself out of the sorrows of widowhood and embrace life again. She has no ambition or aspiration to do anything more than run a brilliant railway station at Levisham with her father but her life – from the moment Roger Hall from London notices her – is catapulted onto the world stage and into a dramatic scenario where her actions could either save or damn lives to execution. Suddenly a man she loves and a child that he loves are in dire peril. She alone can save them.
This is an adventure on a scale I haven’t written since my fantasy storytelling days and it’s a fabulous role for a woman to be fearless in the face of such threat. It’s a lively fish out of water story that helplessly becomes a page turner as it armchair travels the reader from the sleepy moors to London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and back again on trains and trams…with a lot of action woven around all the locations. Alongside The Pearl Thief this would be the favourite of the 40 books I’ve written.