Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Anne Perry's A Question of Betrayal (An Elena Standish novel #2)

A Question of Betrayal by Anne Perry

A Question of Betrayal (Elena Standish novel #2) by Anne Perry 

ISBN-10: 0593129555 Hardcover $28.

Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 8, 2020), 304 pages. 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Britain’s secret intelligence service, MI6, has lost contact with its informant in northern Italy, just as important information about the future plans of Austria and Nazi Germany is coming to light. And young Elena Standish, to her surprise, is the only person who can recognize MI6’s man—because he is her former lover. Aiden Strother betrayed her six years before, throwing shame on her entire family. Now, with so much to prove, Elena heads to Trieste to track down Aiden and find out what happened to his handler, who has mysteriously cut off contact with Britain.

As Elena gets word of a secret group working to put Austria in the hands of Germany, her older sister, Margot, is in Berlin to watch a childhood friend get married—to a member of the Gestapo. Margot and Elena’s grandfather, the former head of MI6, is none too happy about the sisters’ travels at this tumultuous time, especially when a violent event at home reminds him that even Britain is growing dangerous. As his own investigation collides with his granddaughter's, what’s at stake on the continent becomes increasingly frightening—and personal.

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry crafts a novel full of suspense, political intrigue, and the struggle between love and loyalty to country.

My review:

I've long been an avid reader of Anne Perry's novels. This latest series with Elena Standish is engrossing and deeply satisfying. 

Elena Standish had a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a prominent diplomat. Among her father's posts had been Berlin and Paris and their family is well received throughout. In her own nuclear family, Elena is a bit of an ugly duckling, less appreciated and constantly overshadowed by her glamorous older sister Margot and her father. It takes Elena's grandfather Lucas to see the extent of her strengths and intelligence. 

Lucas had similarly been undervalued by his diplomat son until Lucas's secret professional life had been revealed. Lucas had been in charge of MI6 and his granddaughter Elena Standish had previously been an agent. Drummed out of MI6 after a disastrous and ill-advised affair with an older double agent, Elena Standish has tried to rebuild her life. 

Elena is known for her photographs and it is under the guise of travel photography that her former boss at MI6 asks Elena to travel to the Continent and make contact with her former lover, the double agent who might have been loyal all along. There is great risk as Hitler's reach has penetrated greater aspects of German and Austrian society. There is the possibility that even in Great Britain there are supporters and sympathizers that are willing to aid Hitler to avoid another war. 

Elena finds herself pushing her personal feelings and reactions aside to search for and make contact with an old and treacherous lover. Her skill with languages and observation make the difference for Elena but it is unsure whether she will be able to evade a dangerous enemy and if she can trust the man whose life she is sent to save.

Meanwhile Lucas Standish is approached by a former colleague, similarly retired from MI6. There are unusual money transfers hiding a fund that may be used for one of Hitler's organizations. But to have such reach inside MI6 indicates a grave danger to Great Britain and to world peace. When his old friend is found dead, Lucas and his wife the former codebreaker come out of retirement to search for answers. 

A Question of Betrayal captures the closeness between Elena and her grandfather Lucas and the competitive relationship between Margot and Elena while building the elements of a wartime mystery/thriller. I couldn't stop reading A Question of Betrayal!

About the Author:

Anne Perry is the New York Times bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels. She is also the author of a series featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt’s son, Daniel, including Triple Jeopardy and One Fatal Flaw; the new Elena Standish series, beginning with Death in Focus; five World War I novels; eighteen holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Resolution; and a historical novel, The Sheen on the Silk, set in the Ottoman Empire. Anne Perry lives in Los Angeles.

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