It’s London, the sixties, Cold War paranoia is at its peak. Who is spying for the enemy? Who are the innocent bystanders? In Exposure by Helen Dunmore, no one is quite who they seem as Giles Holloway and Simon Callington, long-time friends and colleagues working for the Admiralty, tragically find out. A misstep in his flat sends Giles tumbling down the stairs and off to the hospital with multiple broken bones. When he comes out of surgery, he is in a panic because of sensitive files he has brought home in a brief case. He trusts Simon to retrieve the brief case and return the files to his office so he won’t be discovered. Simon accommodates his friend, but has grave suspicions about Giles’ intentions with the documents, so he brings the brief case home, putting himself and his family at risk.
With very little evidence, and the briefcase not found, the authorities arrest Simon for espionage while Giles languishes in the hospital with complications from his fall. Meanwhile, Simon’s wife Lily is forced to rent out their home to cover the mortgage and move to a rural area with her three children where the Callington name is not known and prying journalists will not find them. Lily soon suspects that Simon is in prison to take the fall in a cover up of shady activities of more powerful men. Unwittingly, she discovers layer upon layer of betrayals and deceptions. Dunmore has written a quiet yet powerful novel, focusing on the individuals impacted by circumstance, a riveting story that propels us nonstop to a convincing and brilliant conclusion.