Sourcebooks Landmark. Aug. 2022. 432p. ISBN 9781728248448. $16.99. SF
Carey, who writes the 1930s-set Agent Clara Vine books under the pen name Jane Thynne, publishes her first novel as C. J. Carey—a chilling thriller with an alternate-history twist. The setting is 1953 Nazi Britain, a country where information and women are categorized (from the beautiful and privileged to the barren and outcast) and controlled in equal measure. Rose Ransom, privileged as long as she cooperates with the subjugation of her country and herself, is employed to erase and sanitize both history and literature. She is radicalized in “Widowland,” the slums that barely house those who have nothing left to lose. Seeing her future in their fate, she commits a desperate act to save her nation—if not herself. Rose seems at the top of her world, but the more time readers spend with her, the more her constant fear is exposed and her naivete stripped away. She’s heroic and sympathetic, doing the best she can in hell. Her job of sanitizing and bowdlerizing the classics of literature will send shivers down the spine of any book lover.
VERDICT Highly recommended.
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