I picked this book up in a charity shop and am so glad I did, Boyd writes like a dream. It combines two narratives, the story of Ruth living in Oxford during the heatwave of 1976, the other the story of her mother Eva, a British Secret Service agent during the second world war. The two stories have different narrative techniques; Ruth's is told in the first person and we discover not only the details of her own life and past, but her thoughts on coming to terms with her mother's past that she knew nothing about, a past that she learns of at the same time that we do in the form of a third person narrative written by Eva. Eva's story is a thrilling spy adventure as her training and travels take her from Paris to Scotland to Belgium to America, then to Canada and finally to England. It is exciting, gripping and a real page-turner as the past continues to reach out and effect the lives of both women. Highly recommended.