I am on an action-packed blog tour for you today! I’m reviewing Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin, published by Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House).
It’s 1952 and Soviet troops control British streets after winning the Second World War.
After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west. The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar.
On the Soviet side of the wall, Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice, hoping to surprise him. But instead she detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime.
Jane rushes to confront them, but soon finds herself caught up in the glamorous actress’s death.
Her husband Nick is arrested for murder. Desperate to clear his name, Jane must risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail of corruption right to the highest levels of the state.
And she might find she never really knew her husband at all.
Gareth Rubin creates a murder mystery on the wrong side of history. This is no ordinary murder mystery. Based on the question, ‘what would have happened if we didn’t win the war?’, Rubin’s imaginative alternate history creates the backdrop for this intense novel.
The writing style made me think of Phillip K. Dick’s, The Man in the High Castle (what would happen if the other side won the war). However, instead of being obsessive and focused on the political situation, Rubin focuses on the ordinaries- the people trying to get on with their lives, until the unthinkable happens.
Jane suspects she cannot trust her husband… then his ex-wife is found dead. With the world against her in this new political domain, Jane finds herself tied up in a mystery which runs deeper than she first thought. Jane is an incredibly likable character whose inner conflict is something that grips the reader from the get-go. Does she believe those closest to her, or is something else preventing her from seeing the truth? Who can she trust? What happens now? Who murdered the actress? Her determination confronted by her own emotions creates a balance for a character who the reader can connect with. I also thought the first-person narrative was a good technique to get this across to the reader.
I really enjoyed the plot and thought the setting and history was well-worked out. I found the history easy to get my head around even though it was formed in Rubin’s mind. His ideas are not far fetched enough to say that things wouldn’t have happened, but also introduce some new ways of thinking which was refreshing to read.
Fans of historical fiction, WW1/2 fiction, alternate history, sci-fi, and dystopian crime will love this novel. I found this genre interesting as I like historical fiction, but this took history to a whole new level. Rubin’s clever mystery is at the centre of a tangled web of lies, corruption, and deceit. A fabulous debut.
How to get your hands on a copy
Thank you to Jenny for my wonderful copy and spot on the blog tour! Many thanks also to the author.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour:
Happy reading! Lx