This contains multiple spoilers, so don’t read it if you have any intention of reading this book in the future. Or, if you do, don’t blame me.
Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage… and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double life and start anew.
She reinvents herself as an expat mum, filling her days with play-dates and coffee mornings. Then another American couple arrives and it’s not long before Kate becomes suspicious that these people are not who they say they are, and that her on past is catching up with her.
“The Expats,” I cried, “I’m an expat!”
And with that, I walked out of Fnac with quite a disappointing book. Admittedly not as disappointing as you’d imagine a book about an expat mum to be.
Kate’s secret is that she is an ex CIA agent. She used to be a spy. I always assumed that spies earned quite good money, so I’m not sure I understand how she’s struggling to make ends meet. Her husband works in IT, which is also generally pretty well paid.
A lot of time in this book is spent listening to Kate decide whether or not to tell her husband about her old job, which I found a bit confusing since they hadn’t lifted her security clearance, or whatever it’s called, so she couldn’t. We also hear repeatedly about how she’s never going to investigate him again, she promised herself that when they got married. Cue investigations into her husband.
For an ex spy, Kate is pretty stupid. It takes her an extraordinary amount of time to work out that there’s something suspicious about her new BFF, Julia, and her husband, Pervy Bill. She spends her days complaining about how much work it is to bring up the kids and not have a job, and how Boring Dexter, her husband, doesn’t do anything to help (except working long hours to bring home the bacon). I’ve been a stay at home expat partner, I know it’s not easy, but I never screeched at my boyfriend that he never explained to me what his job was. I’ve screeched at him for many things, but not that.
Dexter’s shoes were muddy. Very muddy – caked on the bottom, spattered up top. It had been raining all day, steadily, but Kate didn’t imagine that the landscape of downtown Brussels included expanses of wet soil through which Dexter would have to trudge on his way to the bank offices.
– Actually Kate, you’d be surprised. The cobblestones are held in place with sand, which leads to really dirty shoes when it rains. Which it does quite often.
She stared at the muddy shoes, trying to avoid suspecting him. She’d promised herself that she would set aside suspicion after she married him.
– Yeah, we’ve heard that already. Five times or so.
Eventually, everyone comes clean – Dexter tells her what he’s been up to, she tells him she was in the CIA. Julia and Bill (FBI, as it turns out) have conveniently disappeared at this point). For some reason, Kate forgives Dexter for being such a lying little shit.
Two years later, it turns out that Julia was conning Dexter, and Bill was just conning everyone (or possibly in love with Julia, it wasn’t clear and, by this point, I didn’t care). Kate records all these confessions (which is really just her speaking as she’s finally figured stuff out) so the CIA can arrest the FBI, give her a new job and let Dexter off (I’m sad that this is how justice works). Anyway, turns out Julia’s flipping PREGANT! Kate can’t bear the thought of her frenemy going to prison with a bébé so she tells them to run. End of book.
Would have been better if it had been about when she was a spy.