Northern Spy: Book summary and reviews of Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

Northern Spy

by Flynn Berry

Northern Spy by Flynn Berry X
Northern Spy by Flynn Berry
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2021
    288 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

The acclaimed author of Under the Harrow and A Double Life returns with her most thrilling novel to date: the story of two sisters who become entangled with the IRA.

A producer at the BBC and mother to a new baby, Tessa is at work in Belfast one day when the news of another raid comes on the air. The IRA may have gone underground in the two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, but they never really went away, and lately bomb threats, security checkpoints, and helicopters floating ominously over the city have become features of everyday life. As the news reporter requests the public's help in locating those responsible for the robbery, security footage reveals Tessa's sister, Marian, pulling a black ski mask over her face.

The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa is convinced she must have been abducted or coerced; the sisters have always opposed the violence enacted in the name of uniting Ireland. And besides, Marian is vacationing on the north coast. Tessa just spoke to her yesterday.

When the truth about Marian comes to light, Tessa is faced with impossible choices that will test the limits of her ideals, the bonds of her family, her notions of right and wrong, and her identity as a sister and a mother. Walking an increasingly perilous road, she wants nothing more than to protect the one person she loves more fiercely than her sister: her infant son, Finn.

Riveting, atmospheric, and exquisitely written, Northern Spy is at once a heart-punding story of the contemporary IRA and a moving portrait of sister- and motherhood, and of life in a deeply divided society.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] taut and compassionate thriller...This is not a book of action, though there is plenty, but instead a greater reflection on personal choice and consequence. A poignant and lyrical novel that asks what is worth sacrificing for peace—and provides some answers." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] twisting...emotional thriller...Berry's portrayal of Irish life is uncannily accurate...dropping readers headfirst into the emotions of living in conflict." - Booklist (starred review)

"[M]oving...The tension becomes at times almost unbearable as the plot takes increasingly sharp, sometimes improbable twists. It's a measure of the author's skill that she never loses sight of the humanity of her characters. Berry remains a writer to watch." - Publishers Weekly

"Tense, terrifying, and briskly paced, Flynn Berry's Northern Spy is not only a thrilling tale of espionage and conflicting loyalties in a deeply divided Northern Ireland, it is also a tender and honest portrayal of those fierce, all-consuming early days of motherhood and the complicated bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters. A stunning story, beautifully told. I couldn't put it down." - Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine

This information about Northern Spy shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Flynn Berry

Flynn Berry is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers and the recipient of a Yaddo fellowship. Her first novel, Under the Harrow, won the 2017 Edgar Award for Best First Novel and was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and the Atlantic. Her second novel, A Double Life, was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.

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