This thrilling spy story (8 hours and 24 minutes) was published in January of 2020 by Blackstone Publishing. The audiobook takes you to post-WWII Paris. Melissa listened to Spitfire and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.
Olivia’ Livy’ Nash has been in a muddle for a year, alive but not really living. Her days are spent proofreading an inane lady’s column for a newspaper, and she wiles away her nights with just a bottle of off-brand vodka for company. Then Ian Fleming walks into her life.
Livy spent the war fighting in the resistance. It gave her purpose and the love of her life — until betrayal left her with nothing except a hardened heart. Now she’s alone and jaded, left behind by the more respectable war heroes and doomed to return to a life of… what? A single woman in a world that wants her to return to her pre-war, lady-like position of looking pretty and doing as she’s told.
Then Ian Fleming buys her a drink and throws her a lifeline that might be more complicated than it seems: He offers her a job as a foreign correspondent, but Livy soon realizes that typing stories is not what he has in mind for her. Fleming is recruiting an espionage unit to fight ‘the next war’ which ‘began before the last even ended.’ He sends Livy to Paris on a mission to track down a traitor and, perhaps, find the fierce version of herself that she lost.
In the post-war days, the cities of Paris and London are glamorous and treacherous; champagne and threats flow with equal abandon. As Livy meets with contacts and follows clues, we traverse the streets of Paris with her, dashing under bridges, drinking wine, eating chocolate pastries by the Seine, and outrunning Russian agents on the cobblestones.
The plot is rife with double-crosses, intrigue, action-packed set pieces, and the wry humor of agents, veterans, diplomats, and government officials who approach every conversation with ulterior motives and healthy cynicism. And through it all, there’s Livy, a heroine to believe in: mouthy, distrustful, slightly broken, but determined, a woman who cares just enough — and too little — for herself that she strides brazenly into danger at every opportunity.
We love the audiobook version of this book. It’s narrated by Justine Eyre, and her voice acting and accents bring the characters to vibrant life.
Exciting news: The second Livy Nash mystery Nightshade will be published 8 September 2020.
Tonight at the French Embassy, there’s a soiree, and you are cordially invited… I trust you’ll keep that Lancashire sass under wraps. You enter the party as Mademoiselle Bélanger and you leave the party as the same. It’s a simple assignment. Maintain your cover at all costs. Like falling off a log for you, darling. Oh, and you’ll be receiving microfilm from an operative at the party. Only trouble is, we’ve no idea who it is. — M.L. Huie
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
If you like the work we do, you can help support us through our Patreon! That'll unlock additional content, too — like Mel's recipe for Banh Mi Bowls, and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.