I read this because I enjoyed Any Human Heart (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/142945044) so much; I don't normally read tales of wartime espionage. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
The story alternates between the wartime life of Eva, recruited as a spy, and ~30 years later, when she tells her adult daughter about it. There are also subplots relating to the daughter's life, though I think the book would have been better without them: Eva's story is exciting enough without trying to draw weak parallels a generation later. I found it a compelling read.
I opens with a vivid description of bucolic 1970s England, which contrasts with later wartime scenes. A major tactic was planting misinformation in minor publications and hoping the bigger ones would pick it up, gaining authenticity with each republication - rather as happens with urban legends on the internet today.
The fear, complexity and psychological aspects of living a duplicitous life are captured authentically, or so it seemed to me: you look at the world differently, never relax and never trust anyone. However, the voice of the 5 year old grandson was not at all authentic (with a few exceptions near the end).
Overall, a fascinating and enjoyable read, albeit imperfect.
* A dilapidated house "giving up its parched ghost to entropy".
* "Massive black-green yews that seemed to drink the light of day."
* Scotland: "There lingered in the landscape a memory of many winters' hardship."
* "I felt like a house shaken by some nearby explosion: tiles had fallen, there was a thick cloud of dust, windows had blown in."
* "Intelligence wasn't neutral... if it was believed or even half-believed, then everything began subtly to change as a result - the ripple effect could have consequences no one could foresee."
* "Sometimes it amazed Eva how fluently and spontaneously she could lie. Think everyone is lying to you all the time, Romer said, it's probably the safest way to proceeed."
* "The guileless child was already beginning to develop the opacities of the growing boy... where veils of ignorance and unknown exist even between the people you were closest to."