Following her time at Cambridge University and after a brief affair with an older tutor, Serena Frome is groomed for the intelligence services, however, Britain in 1972 remains a closed bastion of male supremacy, and women in MI5 are still treated as little more than glorified secretaries. When Serena is recruited to the aptly named Sweet Tooth mission, the story takes on an altogether more complicated rhythm and as the seeds of deceit and disillusionment are sown, the intelligence of the narrative starts to emerge.
Overall, the story is well thought out, the characters are believable, and although at times I was irritated by Serena, I think she was representative of educated women of the time, who frustrated by the lack of advancement endeavoured to discover the world for themselves, without really knowing what they were striving to achieve. The rather lost and forlorn feel of England in the 1970’s, with the decline of the Cold War and Britain’s struggle under an avalanche of unrest, is eerily accurate.
There have been times when I have been profoundly disappointed by McEwan’s novels, but I'm relieved to note that Sweet Tooth is back on track. I read the book quickly, which is a first for me, as I sometimes find McKewan’s books a little over complicated to read with ease, but Sweet Tooth engaged my interest from the start and soon became a real page turner.
My thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for a review copy.