kvon's Reviews > Half a Crown

Half a Crown by Jo Walton
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Aug 11, 2011

really liked it
Read from August 11 to 13, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Alternate history, set in 1960s London after England sided with Hitler, Russia and US lost WWII. Intersecting plots between civil unrest, a Jewish underground railroad, and the debutante season. Parts of this were so uncomfortable reading, when a main character is in the interrogation room, or doing something dumb (but in character), that I had to put it down. There were lots of red herrings throughout the book, places that the plot could have gone but didn't, chance meetings, the difficulty of knowing who else is a secret rebel. I still feel the secretary was more active than Carmichael knew. And some of my gut reactions about alternate history get challenged--when the one guy asks who to kill, Hitler or the Prime Minister, my immediate thought is kill Hitler, because isn't that always the goal of alternate history? I really wasn't sure if this book would end up getting rid of the fascist regime or strengthening it, as Walton's previous books in this series weren't terribly cheerful. I liked the ending--all the plotting of the men (except for Guy) is pretty much in vain. The women get together and fix the problem. The characters all seemed real--the cheerful debs looking at their future, overbearing mother, the double life of the police inspector, his relationship with his ward and the love between them. Except Jack. I never warmed up to him.
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