I Spy

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Member Reviews

I must admit I struggled reading this book and certainly had to persevere to reach the end.  I found both timelines quite confusing and even when I had finished the book I still didn’t understand what the spy plot was really about.  Sorry, but this book wasn’t the read for me.
Thanks  to NetGalley and HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
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The book begins as we are introduced to Holly. Holly is being interviewed to become a spy, something she has wanted to be all of her life but she doesn’t make the cut.

Moving on with her life, Holly married Zak and just when you aren’t expecting it, a plot twist comes when Holly meets the woman who interviewed her to be a spy and asks her to spy on someone close to her.  Something goes drastically wrong and Holly has to flee for her life.

This is quite the cleverly written story with plots and twists when you least expect them and the ending was perfect for this book, it wasn’t dragged out, it didn’t feel rushed and it wasn’t what I expected.
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This book is written in two different times a couple of years apart and it took me a little while to get into it. Once you get going it gives you lots of twists and turns and is a good read. Holly/Helen interviews to be a spy unfortunately she doesn’t pass the tests but does end up working with the secret services. The ending is not expected but you understand why it is.
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It took me a while to get into this, I think it was the way the time moved about - two years one month ago, rather than just a date. However, once I got into the swing of it, I found it compelling reading. I needed to know Holly was safe and that she got away from Zac. I needed to know what had happened with her pregnancy. How did Eliza and Alice really fit into the relationship? From having failed her MI5 final exam, is Holly really getting the opportunity to be a spy? I couldn't work out who was good and who was bad, and just found it a riveting read. #ispy #netgalley
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If you're anything like me, you'll have spent a decent chunk of your childhood making up imaginary scenarios based on books, tv shows or films. My sister and I used to spend a lot of our summer holidays looking for clues and pretending to be Harriet the Spy, mostly looking for mysteries to solve. 

I therefore felt a little pang of nostalgia when I discovered that Holly, aspiring spy and protagonist, shared this interest. I expected to warm to her for this very reason and allow her other quirks to grow on me, but if I'm honest, I never quite got to the stage where I did. 

Holly has always wanted to be a spy, but the book starts picking up pace just after she fails her interview to become one. From there, the split narrative flashes back and forth over a couple of years, where we discover that Holly has been living the life of a spy, as well as quite possibly being spied on. Her relationship may have started out perfect, but there's a slow-burning niggle of doubt creeping in that perhaps everything isn't as perfect as it seems. As realisation dawns, Holly finds she has work to do and that her suspicious nature may turn out to be justified. 

In the present day, we find Holly (now Helen) struggling to come to terms with a life-changing event, whilst desperately trying to uncover the truth behind what happened to her. Can she ever find a way to trust anyone again? 

I did enjoy this book, but at the same time I found a lot of it to be incredibly far-fetched and kind of struggled to get drawn into the writing far enough to find myself truly shocked by the shock outcome. 

But, see for yourself. This one is due out on 22nd August 2019.
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What a book! This is enthralling, captivating and thrilling with so many twists and turns that you won't know if you're coming or going and whose side you're own. A really fantastic psychological thriller with a unique storyline.
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Holly wanted to be a spy for as long as she could remember, however life did not pan out that way after a failed interview with the security services. 

However, the contacts she made with the security services approach her a few years later asking her to become an informer for them against the man she loves. 

The story then follows Holly between two timelines, the past and the present and how she ended up living her life under a new identity in another part of the country. But is she safe, has the person she was running from finally caught up with her?

I enjoyed this story, I am always drawn to a spy novel and this did not disappoint. I truly felt for Holly as she had to relive her past and the demons that she was running from in order to move forward with her life.
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A brilliant novel!

Holly had wanted to be a spy since she was a little girl. Unfortunately, she fails entry to MI5 and instead becomes an admin clerk in the same hospital that her best friend Milly nurses. It is here that she meets Zac – a cardiologist and falls deeply in love. The excellent charismatic doctor is not the person who lives with her at home. He spies on her and controls her every move.

One day, while out walking she’s surprised when Maxine, the woman who had interviewed her for MI5 suddenly appears and starts questioning Holly about Zac and his ex-wife. She asks Holly to help find out as much as possible about Zac and the disappearance of his first wife. 

This is a brilliant, complicated story about Holly and her life under the watchful eye of not just Zac, but also taking the leap of faith to spy on him for the security forces. 

The characters are very well drawn, allowing the reader to get inside the plot with them and see the story unfold through their eyes. 

Claire Kendal has proved yet again, that she knows how to write, grabbing the reader from the opening line. The ending is quite brilliant. I had to re-read it a couple of times, then had a chuckle thinking “this is not over.” 


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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A chilling, suspenseful, novel. I wouldn't say I cared much about the characters but the description and overall story was enthralling. Highly recommended.
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"I Spy" was a marvellous read that had me totally gripped from the start. With a fantastic plot-line and brilliant characters, this was a superb psychological thriller that kept me guessing throughout. This amazing novel by Claire Kendal should certainly not be missed. A magnificent and very worthwhile read and a fully deserved five stars!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from HarperCollins UK via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC, which I have enjoyed reading.
Whilst I enjoyed reading this book, I thought at times it was over complicated when it moved between before and after Holly living with Zac. It was an engrossing psychological thriller and kept the reader intrigued until the end. Some parts of the storyline were deeply moving and you could feel the grief of Holly through the written word. The ending was unexpected but when you take into account what Holly went through perhaps it was the only appropriate ending to the story.
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This book started off well but the story jumps between different timelines and this complicated the story
This book wasn’t as good as her previous novel 
A tad disappointing
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"I Spy" is brilliantly written and makes for a very compulsive read. Claire Kendal knows how to take a reader inside the story. Interspersing past and present works extremely well in this novel. The signposting section at the end is a nice touch.
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This was a clever book with an interesting plot line but I struggled with the time lines Now and Then. It did become clearer as the book progressed but it did spoil it a little for me. Holly/Helen is a very difficult character to feel sympathy for because she puts herself in harm's way and causes great upset for her friends and family. Zak is a thoroughly unlikeable character who seems to come out on top all the time.  I think this book might become clearer for a second reading.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Claire Kendal/Harper Collins UK for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
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I received a copy for my independent honest review. I honestly adore everything this author writes.
This was gripping and had me on the edge of my seat. The structure and topics raised are complex and with split time narratives, this could so easily have become confusing. However this wasn't the case. This is the sign of excellent writing in my opinion.
I highly recommend this book. I am not going to say anything about the plot or the great ending as I personally enjoy going into her books knowing very little
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Holly has always wanted to work for MI5 and become a spy. Unfortunately she does not realise how difficult being a spy can be and the sacrifices she will have to make.

It took me whole to get into this book and it wasn't a book I couldn't wait to read- I often found it easy to put down but nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. I thought there may have been a bit more about her parents but it wasn't really focused upon. 

The plot seemed a little far fetched but sometimes that's what reading a book is about but also, often sometimes events happen that seem so outrageous you can't make them up.
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The book started well but failed to keep up to its initial promise.  The timelines were confusing and too many characters were introduced, some who didn’t seem to contribute anything to the plot.  The idea that MI5 would approach the girlfriend of a doctor (who apparently has a sideline interest in surveillance? Yeah go figure) to spy on him to maybe or maybe not lead them to his ex brother in law who is on the run from the American IRS is frankly ludicrous.  This book is neither a spy novel nor a satisfactory psychological drama. It’s almost like the author has studied the best seller list and thought ‘I’ll write a combination of stories to capture all markets’. Well sorry but it didn’t capture me.  However some of the tension between Zac and Holly was well written.
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As the title suggests, Helen has always wanted to work for MI5 or similar, until she is rejected on interview.  She is so disappointed but goes on to start a nursing qualification.

Whilst working in the local hospital, she meets cardiologist Zac and they embark on an affair.  Her own parents died when she was young and she was brought up by her Grandmother.  The nearest thing to family were next-door neighbours including Milly, who is the same age.  They become inseparable.

Life with Zac becomes difficult as Helen uncovers some of his past.  It doesn't add up, but she is enthralled, especially so when she becomes pregnant.  He has a bad reputation which makes Milly very on edge.

This is an “almost” spy thriller which becomes apparent during the book.  Zac I a strong character but Helen is no pushover either.  Their interactions become fraught and Helen no longer trusts him.  He doesn't trust Helen either, fearing she may leave him like his first wife.
Manipulation and bullying are going on throughout as Helen tries to outwit Zac.

The is a great plot and will keep the reader on the edge of their seat throughout.  The ending is bizarre but rather fitting.  As Helen runs from one life, she doesn't find the answers she wants.

I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
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I Spy was a hard one to rate as parts of the story I loved and other parts I didn’t. 3.5 stars
Holly wants to be a spy, she has trained hard and is let down by her answer to one question in the interview, which she knows at the time is and was the wrong one. Years later we find her in an abusive relationship and being approached by someone who interviewed her for becoming a spy to now spy on someone close to her to get them information they want.
This book as we start to get to know Holly and Zac moves very slowly, yes the writing is in-depth and gives great background but it does hamper the forward movement of the storyline. None of the characters were really likeable, even Holly I found to be annoying at times. The thing that dropped its stars for me though was the switching of timelines and the amount of characters. The timeline switched too much and there were too many characters to keep track of, making it at times a confusing read.
I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
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I thought this book started really well but after a while it became tedious with too many characters and too much jumping about.  I lost interest quickly after that!
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