Weight: 277 g Loosely inspired by the story of KGB spy Melita Norwood, this novel tells the story of Joan Stanley, an elderly woman who wakes up one morning to British Security Services knocking on her door asking questions about her involvement with a recently deceased suspected Communist spy. There was a problem loading your book clubs. Jennie Rooney was born in 1980 and grew up in Liverpool, Zambia and Bromley. Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2019. While on the surface the book delves into whether or not Joan is a traitor, it is really about reconciling and dealing with the choices in life we make. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in. The film ends with the information, conveyed on screen, that Joan Stanley was not prosecuted. Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App? During her time at Cambridge and then later she was befriended by 2 cousins who were Communists who tried to get her to join the party. Not knowing much about cold war espionage I decided to give it a go. If you have changed your email address then contact us and we will update your details. As naive as she appears in the beginning, she sticks to her beliefs throughout her long life, always certain she did the right thing, for and in, that particular time. Descriptive without out being overly flowery and wordy. When Joan falls for Leo, the cousin of her Russian born friend Sonya, she gets dragged into a world that is dangerous and morally complex. Please try again. Red Joan is the fictionalized story of Melita Stedman Norwood who at the age of 87 was accused of being a Soviet spy during the Cold War. While there is an element of Joan's actions being driven by the man she loved, there is also an interesting moral dimension to her decision. Unable to add item to List. Her debut novel. Donald Trump announced three months ago that the US would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, further igniting a new nuclear arms race. Unlike Norwood Joan comes to doubt what she has done, and finds a way to distance herself from espionage until the security services finally catch up with her. Red Joan was a great book. . Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2018, Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 2, 2019. I loved this book. Oppenheimer, recently the subject of John Adams’ opera Doctor Atomic, was viciously attacked because of his left-wing background and sympathies, and later lost his security clearance. Red Joan brings up other issues and deals with them less successfully. Please check by using, This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google. Inspired by the true story of Melita Norwood, unmasked in 1999 (at 87) as the KGB’s longest-serving British spy, this briskly paced and well-researched historical novel centers on the life of Joan Stanley, a young physicist at Cambridge during the early years of World War II. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2018. Its strength is in conveying Joan’s antiwar feelings and her obvious revulsion at the mass killing of helpless civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This book is set during the Cold War when Russia, the US and England are developing the atom bomb. More precisely, it avoids many of them. This is an updated review, because it stuck with me more than I expected it to, so I felt like it needed to be bumped up to 4 stars, and also because I wanted to expand on my opinions a bit. At once bashful and brash, you see the world through Joan's eyes, while also wanting to shake her shoulders and wake her up to the true goings-on around her. The plot is fairly simple. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. It also subtly asks if someone who has done a traitorous thing in exceptional circumstances is therefore a traitor forever. A different kind of spy thriller, focussing on the psychology and motivation of the characters and their moral dilemmas. I didn't finish because of the differences in the past/present pieces were so different It was just too weird for me reading like that. There was an error retrieving your Wish Lists. She taught English for a while in a primary school in France before training as a solicitor in London and Paris. She worked as a personal assistant to a director of important metals research during the Cold War, and passed along secrets to making the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Red Joan tells the story of Joan Stanley, a retired British librarian in her 80s who is suddenly confronted by Scotland Yard officers and arrested in her suburban living room, accused of having spied for the Soviet Union more than five decades earlier. Could not put it down. Unable to add item to List. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. While Joan’s Communist friends, especially Sonja, are depicted cynically and unsympathetically, the secret service can do no wrong. Joan also feels a growing … The reasons for Joan's betrayal of state secrets are slowly revealed and are shown to be deeper than mere ideology. Jennie Rooney was born in 1980 and grew up in Liverpool, Zambia and Bromley. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2019. The fact that Red Joan was inspired by a true story made it all the more compelling. Judi Dench, in a small but important role, is enormously effective as the haunted elderly woman who finds the strength to explain and defend herself. Cambridge University in 1937 is awash with ideas and idealists - to unworldly Joan it is dazzling. Please try your request again later. It was even better than the film, because it went into more detail and explained things. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. We’d love your help. Does this book contain inappropriate content? In one revealing and historically quite plausible scene, several of the CP students read aloud, at a campus meeting, excerpts of the fraudulent confessions of Russian Bolsheviks Grigori Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, from the first of the infamous Moscow Trials, in 1936. Based on the real life story of Melita Norwood, an eighty seven year old woman who was unmasked as the KGB's longest serving British spy in 1999, this is a flawless novel. I love that! As her modern day story unfolded under the glaring lights of MI5, we were treated to the fully fleshed out - though at times maddeningly naive - character of Joan, a bright-eyed student at Cambridge turned lovesick young adult who finds herself attached to the wrong crowd but ingtrigued by their passion and fortitude nonetheless. British imperialism, its hands dripping with blood from generations of colonial rule as well as in the class struggle at home, is portrayed in Red Joan as well-mannered and democratic. It takes 120 pages to get a hint of what crime it is that Joan is being investigated about, we get an idea that it concerns a violation of the British Official Secrets Act. When she attended Cambridge, studying science, she became friendly with a group of friends who were Communists, and she fell in l. I got caught up in Joan's story right away, and found it to be engrossing and well-written, with Joan a fully fleshed-out character. This book does a remarkable job of creating a sympathetic connection with Joan, as well as bringing up the moral grays of a conflict that we usually view in black and white. Please try your request again later. Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2018. Please try again. All sorts of daily occurrences triggering a long ago memory. Joan remains a sympathetic character even amidst terrible, misguided actions. Joan always only ever thinking she is doing right thing, but is she? I found my. A thrilling page turner. Inspired by the true story of a female spy, this is “an infectious page-turner, as crafty and nuanced and impassioned as any classic thriller” (The National).Inspired by the true story of Melita Norwood, unmasked as the KGB’s longest-serving British spy in 1999, at age eighty-seven, Red Joan centers on the deeply conflicted life of a young physicist during the Second World War.Talented and impressionable, Cambridge undergraduate Joan Stanley befriends the worldly Sonya, whose daring history is at odds with Joan’s provincial upbringing.