The London Restoration

Thomas Nelson. Aug. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780785235026. pap. $16.99. CF
Immediately following World War II, architectural historian Diana Somerville is recruited by a former MI6 agent to uncover design patterns in churches in Vienna and London for an anticommunism mission to locate a Russian double agent. Her husband, Brent, was a stretcher-bearer during the war, and upon returning to London discovers his wife mysteriously missing. When she reappears five weeks later, the couple struggles to reestablish their lives as newlyweds before the war split them apart. Despite feeling hurt by Diana’s continued secrets, Brent joins her on her quest for clues, which quickly leads to danger as the pair crosses paths with enemy spies. McMillan’s (“Herringford & Watts” series) love of Christopher Wren churches in London is evident in the copious details on church architecture. Unfortunately, this ultimately detracts from Brent and Diana’s challenges as a couple, and the rather weak espionage plot leaves readers asking why a former MI6 agent would recruit civilians for an unauthorized mission, and why Diana is chosen to root out the communist spy.
VERDICT Fans of the author may still want to give this a try. For readers seeking a more nuanced historical mystery, one might suggest Sherry Thomas’s “Lady Sherlock” series.
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