Saturday, November 11, 2023

Review: The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.

Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King's College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

My Review

The city of London was a major character in this book, especially its churches. The main character Diana is obsessed, or devoted, to the architecture of Christopher Wren, and her knowledge and intuition about the churches pulls her into secret agent work. The story is told with a dual timeline of the present post-war intrigue and Diana's reunification with her husband Brent, and the early days of the war when they met and fell in love, and Diana's codebreaking work while Brent was abroad. The style of writing is very ambiguous, especially in the beginning, and I had a difficult time connecting to the characters and story. The vibe felt hazy, with too much unknown, and the details too slowly revealed. Even though there was quite a bit of description, I never felt grounded in the setting. By the end of the book I had a better picture of things, but my experience reading the book felt fumbling, much like Diana's amateur investigative work. The thing I enjoyed the most was the friendships Diana gained during her time at Bletchley Park, and the way she and Brent eventually gained the footing back in their marriage.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Don't miss the author's connected post-WWII book, The Mozart Code

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