The Reluctant Spy, by Holly Kerr Forsyth, book cover
Book reviews

The Reluctant Spy, by Holly Kerr Forsyth

If only we all could lead the charmed life. Or the mostly charmed life. One where everything just seems to fall into place. Like a fairy tale. Now we all know the fairy tale life is not all beer and skittles. There trolls and tragedies to confront. There are dangers and challenges to surmount. Which, in the end, are. How else can everyone live happily ever after?

The Reluctant Spy (published by Zabriskie Books, 2019) the debut novel of Sydney based Australian author Holly Kerr Forsyth is not a fairy tale, but at times reads like one. Forty-something Rachel Edmistone runs a successful marketing company, and lives near the sparkling waters of Sydney’s Rose Bay. Life is good until it is not.

After the sudden death of her husband, Adrian, Rachel’s life begins to unravel. Adrian had not been completely honest about the state of his finances, and before long Rachel and her three children are forced to leave their home. But when the night is at its darkest, an opportunity to start again manifests itself. Rachel is offered work in Sri Lanka.

Ostensibly Rachel will be the marketing manager for an international hotel, but, as the title alludes to, that is not the only reason for her presence in Sri Lanka. Prior to writing The Reluctant Spy, Kerr Forsyth was known for her academic and research work, and had published several non-fiction books about gardens and gardening. Fiction therefore may not quite be her forte.

The pacing and tension is uneven. A number of times a build up to some sort of conflict or difficulty is presented, only to come to nothing. For instance, on one occasion Rachel ventures to an area reputed to be dangerous, only to be safely home a few paragraphs later without anything further being said. While I couldn’t recommend this title, let’s see what Kerr Forsyth does next.