Publication: 18th April 2019 – Michael Joseph
1952. Soviet troops control British streets. After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, but is eventually liberated 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.
When Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice and detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei – star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime – she fears what is between them. But when Jane rushes to confront them, she finds herself instead caught up in the glamorous actress’ death.
Nick is soon 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 level of the state.
And she might find she never really knew her husband at all.
Set within the familiar streets of London, Rubin’s debut dystopian thriller dares to reimagine what 1950s Britain would have become under the iron rule of the Soviet Union.
Happy Monday everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for LIBERATION SQUARE, the brilliant debut novel by Gareth Rubin. I’d like to thank Jenny and Michael Joseph for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this fantastic novel.
It’s the year 1952 and Europe is divided by a wall: Russian Comunism on the east side and American Capitalism on the west side. But the wall is not in Berlin, as it says on all the history books, because, in Gareth Rubin’s version of World War II, D-Day failed, Nazi Germany occupied England, and only the intervention of Russian and American troops brought the war to an end. While the royal family and Winston Churchill escaped to Scotland, a wall was erected in London dividing the capital and the nation between the Russian Republic of Great Britain on one side and the American Democratic United Kingdom on the other side.
With an atmosphere that reminded me of 1984 by George Orwell (who, by the way, makes a surprising small appearance), LIBERATION SQUARE kept me completely engrossed. The protagonist is Jane Cawson. Newly married to local GP Nick, when he is accused of the murder of his first wife Lorelei, Jane is sure he is innocent and, as she investigates on her own, she uncovers a web of lies and deceit that make her question not only the government, but also her marriage and her trust in her husband. At the beginning, Jane seems like any average woman until unexpected and exceptional circumstances turn her into a spy, a determined and fearless woman ready to do anything to find out the truth, including breaking into a house, impersonating someone one else, and sneaking into parties to mingle with very powerful people.
Very well-written and self-paced, LIBERATION SQUARE describes a scary and dark world where the government encourages procreation for the welfare of the nation, where opponents of the regime are sent to mental institutions to be reprogrammed, where people who try to escape to the other side of the wall are shot by the soldiers guarding it.
I loved how Gareth Rubin perfectly mixes crime, dystopian, spy thriller, and historical genres to create a remarkable and gripping novel that features a likable and strong heroine and a twisty and engaging plot that made it almost impossible to put the book down!
Gareth Rubin is an author and journalist who has written for many national newspapers. He lives in London; Liberation Square is his first novel.