The ninth in Helen MacInnes's bibliography of more than twenty novels, Pray for a Brave Heart showcases the author's talent brilliantly. Originally published in 1955, it highlights and expands on many of the elements for which MacInnes continues to be revered, even now, over thirty years after her death; there is a smart energy and a gripping literary prowess that sparks off the pages. Comparing Pray for a Brave Heart with the first of MacInnes’s novels that I recently read, Above Suspicion, I was struck by the way she managed to maintain her unique brand of storytelling while completely altering the experience of the two novels. With fourteen years between the publication of each book, and with seven books in between, MacInnes was able to evolve her story’s thrills to keep her genre fresh without losing touch with the writing style readers instantly came to know her for. I enjoyed the departures from Above Suspicion that she took in Pray for a Brave Heart, most notably the different way she approached her narrative. Bill Denning is a vibrant character and his unique blend of intelligence, humility and vague cynicism bleed through to MacInnes’s writing voice in a way that caught my attention from the very beginning and kept me entertained throughout.
The story, as well, is a riveting journey through post-war Europe; deceptively simple on the surface, the reader is barraged with information, names, places, and scenarios in just the sort of tightly-wound way that gives a good suspense novel its ultimate pull. Smartly crafted, wonderfully paced, and filled with characters whose agendas could be either truthful or malicious, Pray for a Brave Heart is the quintessential exploration of the world of espionage; it’s suspense writing at its finest, and MacInnes at the height of creativity.
Title: Pray for a Brave Heart Author: Helen MacInnes Genre: mystery, suspense Publisher: Titan Books Release date: January 29, 2013 Source: Titan Books (c/o) Buy the book: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble Connect with the publisher: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter