Cover Image: A Double Life

A Double Life

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wow! Gorgeous novel, a wonderful read! 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
Was this review helpful?
My first book by this author, and I will read her again in future.  I love the way she spins a story, and how everything flows together.  Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Really did not enjoy this read. This was confusing from start to finish. There was a glimmer of something in the middle which just saved this from being a 1 star review. Philby writes this between Gabriella and Isobel but it is all so confusing, the characters are not very well defined and how the two are connected is not really clear. Then the ending! Well I can hardly say it is an ending, it just stops. I understand there is another book to come in the series but nothing about this made me want to pick up the next one.
Was this review helpful?
This is a unique and unusual story about two women drawn into a noir world. Gabriella leads a double life which implodes. Isobel is struggling, and as a witness to a violent attack, she is in danger.

Driven but flawed and vulnerable female protagonists are complex and unreliable. The intricately plotted story draws the reader into a deceitful and dangerous world. It's addictive, provoking reading with an unexpected conclusion.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins- The Borough Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Gabriela has a senior role with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in counter terrorism. She is dedicated and has worked long hours to get where she is today.
She is married to Tom a free lance architect, who is a stay at home parent to their two children, occasionally taking on freelance work while his wife is the major breadwinner. 

When Gabriella returns from Moscow, something does not feel right at work and soon her very organised life starts to unravel. 

Isabel is a local journalist who sees a woman being attacked whilst on her way home. She can not get this incident out of her head and starts to investigate herself, even though this will put her own life at risk. 

I loved how the two ladies stories run parallel to each other without any obvious connection and seamlessly join together at the end.

After really enjoying this, I am going to look for her other books!!

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
Was this review helpful?
It took me a while to get into but I did enjoy this thriller. Lots of twists and turns but it was interesting.
Was this review helpful?
Read this as The Most Difficult Thing. 
Confused as the precise on this is totally different to The Most Difficult Thing so any review may be wrong. Therefore even though I enjoyed The Mist Difficult Thing I feel I can’t review properly.
Was this review helpful?
I came into this review blind as I was unaware of the authors connections - this said I really enjoyed the almost espionage theme running through this.

Gabriela was unliveable and selfish at times. It’s understandable to want a career, but when that’s over to lie to one person, your children and then lie to another who you’ve made a life with is awful! All for her own gain.

Isobel is a mess - but she has a good heart and her investigative intuition is spot on.

What I didn’t like was the ending. WHAT!!!! Is there another book? So much is left unsaid!! 

I would’ve liked the two women’s lives to have become entwined earlier, as for most part, it was like reading two novels in one. The collision of the two stories was very clever although I did see it coming (sort of).

A real page turner of a book, it certainly left me wanting more!
Was this review helpful?
This book started off well, very readable and I wanted to know what was going to happen, but the ending left me astounded! I couldn’t believe the book had ended, thought there would be a connection between the two women but nope not a clue. Really odd good, good storyline
Was this review helpful?
I was intrigued by the author of this book- she is the granddaughter of the notorious Russian spy, Kim Philby, and wrongly surmised that it would be an espionage thriller. 
However A Double Life was more of a domestic noir novel told from the view point of two characters: Gabriela who works for the foreign office and is living with her partner and two young children is the main focus. Isobel, the other protagonist is a reporter who witnesses a murder whilst high on drugs.
Gabriela has the “double life” and the novel endeavours to explain how she has ended up in this position. 
I didn’t really like Gabriela who makes some very strange life choices- in fact her outlook seems to be quite amoral. At one point she is accused of being selfish and I think this does sum up a major part of her character as everything has to be about her. Even her children are not as important as what she wants and the life she perceives she should lead.
Isobel appears to be a reasonable journalist but is on a downward spiral after some of her own life choices have not worked out well. She drinks and  takes drugs to dull the pain of a previous mistake.
The story is told in alternative sections between the two women and the author does not reveal the tenuous link between the two of them until quite near the end.
I did really enjoy this book but found the ending somewhat unsatisfying so I have only given it 4 stars! Maybe I will need to read this author’s next book to resolve some of my questions in which case the ending is rather clever!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to @harpercollinsuk, @boroughpress, @netgalley and @charlotte_philby for an e-copy of 'A Double Life'. A brilliantly layered book, full of twists and turns, I devoured it. In a week when I've felt I've been living my own double life - Monday to Wednesday running around manically with my sprawling to-do list, then Thursday and Friday slowing right down and taking time for me, this was the perfect literary feast. @charlotte_philby is an author I will definitely seek out and recommend in particular for lovers of the domestic thriller genre but this seems to be mingled with the spy thriller too in a gripping amalgamation. With deception at the core, this will stay with me for some time as I wondered how on earth, the protagonist would ever bring both of her 'lives' (for those who have read it, it will make sense!) together under one roof!? "A Double Life" has Gabriela as the main character, a married mother who works for the FO's Counter Terrorism Unit. She is a tenacious woman; going after what she wants in her career and personal life and this leads to her living two separate lives. At home is her loyal and devoted husband Tom, willing to let Gabriela do what needs to be done in her high-profile job, including a seven month excursion to Moscow, and completely unaware of the other life she is leading both in Moscow and across the city. 

Alternate chapters are narrated by Isobel, a journalist investigating an assault in North London. Although she is a stand-alone character, seemingly unconnected to Gabriella, their lives are inextricably linked. 

I was unaware at the time of reading that @charlotte_philby had written a previous novel so that has been added to the digital (and ever-growing) TBR pile. 

Thank you @charlotte_philby for keeping me gripped and allowing me to live vicariously through both of Gabriela's lives!
Was this review helpful?
Gabriella works for the Counter Terrorism Unit and is the main bread winner. Her husband looks after the children. Isobel is a journalist who witnesses a horrific attack. The book follows the two and slowly you understand how Gabriella and Isobels lives entwine. Sometimes uncomfortable, plenty of twists, would really recommend....
Was this review helpful?
Loved this. Smart, compelling and brave - dealt with issues many thrillers shy away from. I was absorbed. More, please.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first thriller I have ever read that features a Foreign Office specialist in the literary character of Gabriela who is tenacious, career-minded and ruthless in her ambition. After a return from a stint abroad, she begins to lead a double life and the fissures between Gabriela and her young family become more painful. Meanwhile, the life of the second protagonist, North London journalist Isobel, is also spiralling out of control due to her alcohol and drug addictions. How the paths of these two characters eventually cross puzzled me for a while but presented a good read. I felt some of the portrayals of contemporary London were a bit exaggerated, but it did not detract from a gripping, fast-paced and well-written story. Readers should also be aware, that this is the second book in a series of three.  Reading the first book, Part of the Family (previously issued as The Most Difficult Thing) first might help in understanding some of the characters in A Double Life.

I would like to thank the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing mre with an ARC via my Kindle in return for my honest and unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
This is my second Charlotte  Philby book and this one really hit the spot for me.  Again the main character is female and in my opinion ruthless in some ways and selfish without a doubt without giving the story away Gabriela is the one with a double life living in London and Moscow we also have Isobel a journalist with a mission uncovering the dark network of human trafficking and as lives begin to unravel the two women’s lives cross and the personal cost of living with deceit revealed- this is dark and chilling and a world away from 007
Was this review helpful?
Given the author's surname you could be forgiven for expecting a sy thriller but that really is not the case.

Gabriela works at the FCO counter terrorism unit and returning to work after maternity leave she encounters Isabelle, a journalist who witnesses an attack. Their paths and lives converge and this turns into a lively thriller regarding human trafficking and its consequences.

Well written and cleverly plotted with well drawn characters, this was an exciting and thought provoking read.
Was this review helpful?
I'll be recommending this to all of my library friends - the Swindon Library is a star at the heart of this story of a mysterious man who arrives in town, checks into a local B&B and then takes to his bed and reads. He gives lists to his hosts of books to acquire from the library, and the narrator and her friends fall over themselves to fulfill his requests, reading the books themselves. The reader becomes a local celebrity and soon everyone in town wants to read too. I particularly love this vignette:

"At first, everyone at the library had been thrilled that so many people were taking out books, but then a man in Lydiard Millicent fell down the stairs while reading and broke his neck. Soon the librarians' delight turned to worry as there were hardly any books left on the shelves."

In her afterword, Alice Jolly talks about how members of the Swindon public library bookgroup contributed both book suggestions and ideas for the story, and I can't help but think one of the librarians may have had a hand. Although perhaps one went a little too far, because there is also this brilliant passage that made the cataloguer inside my soul laugh aloud:

"At our last book group, Susan told us more than we wanted to know about the Dewey Decimal System."

Rookie error, Susan. I spend my life talking about my garden at social gatherings because no-one - not even I - cares about Dewey.

Joking aside, both the main text and the afterword are absolute joys. I hope this will not be Alice Jolly's last library-based collaborative project, as she comes across as someone who really knows how to work in the setting. I'll be recommending her book, and her, to my friends across the library community, and think it only fitting to end this review with her words:

"I feel that I own the words but that the reader owns the white spaces around the words ... The white space is your and I know you will fill it with your own questions, thoughts and images. Welcome to the conversation. Make this story your own. Enjoy the magic - and the danger - of the written word."
Was this review helpful?
If you like spy novels, then this is the book for you. 

Very intriguing read. Well written and lots of detail about the two women that the book focuses on. I would have liked their paths to cross over a little sooner though.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, I'm still reeling from the ending to this. Hard to explain without spoilers. I'm heading straight to read her first book "part of the family" as apparently that will help (just as well I'm on holidays). So if you want to be gripped and intrigued pick this one up. I'm giving it four stars because I've been engrossed might upgrade that to five if / when I understand the ending!  I'm certainly keen for the next installment, There must be one surely?
Was this review helpful?
I loved the characters and storyline but didn’t see how Gabriella could get away with her double life.
Was this review helpful?