So this. As a disclaimer, I generally do not like stories set in the 1970s. There is no explanation for this -- I just picture it as a time where hideous orange and yellow decor was in style, clothing material was primarily polyester, disco was popular & hair styles were questionable at best. All important events that occurred in the 1970s are currently escaping me, which leads me to believe that obviously nothing of interest happened during that dark decade.
I like books that involve: 1) British people, 2) spies, 3) female protagonists, 4) book-lovers & 5) a heartwarming coming-of-age/finding myself story, so I really thought I would like this book. I prefer my spies to be involved in intrigue set during either WWI or II but I put my misgivings about my most hated decade aside.
I liked the plot but there were two things about this book that made it blah for me: 1) the Cold War intrigue (which was so boring/confusing to me that I was tempted to skim over those parts, but then realized what a major chunk they comprised), and 2) Serena, the main character. Serena, as we are told, is gorgeous & kind of smart, but not as smart as she thinks & is honestly THE WORST SPY EVER. She is constantly thinking about boys, even though it seems like she should be thinking about something more important instead, like BEING A SPY. For a mathematician, she is remarkably illogical and emotional. Yet she remains a detached narrator -- which makes sense I suppose when you get to the end.
The opening really draws you in -- I was sent on a mission. I didn't return safely -- and I kept reading because I needed to know WHAT HAPPENED. And then...Serena slept with the guy from her secret mission? BIG SURPRISE -- she's been flirting with every man in sight, and gave little to no thought as to whether that was a good idea. So everyone found out that MI5 was secretly funding Tom? I mean...I tried to muster up the energy to care, but I just couldn't.
In sum, Serena is boring & boy-crazy & I hate the Cold War. I love surprise endings, but by the time this one happened, I could care less.