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Heart of Deception: A Novel by M.L. Malcolm

Heart of Deception: A Novel

by M.L. Malcolm

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Heart of Deception is the sequel to M.L. Malcolm’s first book, Heart of Lies, which centers on the enigmatic Leo Hoffman. Malcolm picks up the story about three years later in 1942. Leo has agreed to spy for the Allies in exchange for American citizenship and a reunion with his young daughter, Maddy. With the outbreak of war in Europe, the Allies don’t seem eager to fulfill their end of the bargain. Even more upsetting, his letters to his daughter Maddy haven’t been getting through. When Maddy’s aunt turns up in New York, her life changes dramatically. She is introduced to wealth and the good life but is also poisoned against her father. All of these things conspire to create a prolonged estrangement between Leo and Maddy.

Heart of Deception follows the Hoffmans from 1942 to 1963. Leo becomes completely embroiled in the events of World War II and barely makes it out alive. Maddy has her share of adventures and heartbreak along the way. The lies Maddy is fed about her father are frustrating and lead her to make poor decisions. I was hoping against hope that Leo and Maddy would somehow reunite after the horrors they both endure.

Heart of Deception is just as rich in historical detail and emotion as Heart of Lies. Despite the fact that Leo and Maddy are both deeply flawed, I couldn’t help but root for them. If you enjoyed Heart of Lies, Deception will not disappoint. I’m not sure if this is the end of our journey with Leo and Maddy or not, but would be happy to continue my journey with the Hoffmans.

http://iubookgirl.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-heart-of-deception.html ( )
  iubookgirl | Sep 28, 2011 |
3.5 stars, but it didn't quite live up to the first book for me. Still, I'm looking forward to the next book.I need to be clear here. I enjoyed reading this book. I just was hoping for more. I liked all of the aspects that I wanted more from. If I didn't like them, then I could have just written them off. So for every issue I have, keep that in mind.Part of the problem was that I couldn't figure out what kind of book it was, so I could set my expectations accordingly. I love books that bend genres, but they have to blow away my expectations for all areas they touch.The spy story is great for a subplot, but isn't enough to sustain the book. Given the description of the book, I expected it to be more about Leo, but his sections weren't what dominated the book, at least for me.The other characters were interesting, but there weren't enough of them with the depth for an all out family drama. Maddy was almost enough to carry the book for me. While I didn't always like her or her actions, she did make an intriguing character to follow. I'm conflicted over whether I felt she was justified in her behavior toward her father (given what she knew, not what I as the reader knew). I don't know if I ever quite bought into her grand love affair, particularly her lover's side of it. I do think that there was depth here I didn't quite latch on to; a comparison between her and her mother, and the difference in the way they handled a sudden, all consuming passion.The other characters weren't as well fleshed out, and the only one I liked at all was Maddy's old Katherine.The stories that made up the plot were good, but scattered. They didn't necessarily connect up in a way that compelled me to see this as a cohesive book.In the end, I think much of this book is a bridge between the first book in the series and the next one, which I believe is the last. I'm certainly looking forward to reading it, and hope that it redeems the issues I had here. ( )
  ImBookingIt | Jun 6, 2011 |
I am normally terribly fussy about reading series books in the order in which they were meant to be read but occasionally I can be persuaded to ignore this tendency and read the one that is at hand. Somehow, I missed the information that Heart of Deception is a sequel to Heart of Lies and so I might never have known I was breaking my own rules except that I read the back of the book when I picked it up to read and that was all she wrote of my ignorance of the previous book. In a happy circumstance though, this book stood on its own perfectly well so I didn't have to worry too much about a backstory with which I was unfamiliar.

Leo Hoffman is a spy and a damned good one. He's also a father who wants nothing more than to get back to his daughter. And if these two pieces of his life seem contradictory or mutually exclusive, they are. After his wife's death in a bombing in Shanghai, he sent their daughter Madeleine to the US and to safety with his new wife, a nasty, vindictive woman who wants revenge on Leo after he annulls their marriage. Maddy lives first with Amelia, the spurned wife, then with the family of a school friend, and finally with her mother's sister, a stern and emotionally cold woman. She has no knowledge of what her father does or where he is, indeed even if he's alive. In fact, in many cases, the people in her life actively try to poison her against her father. Leo meanwhile, is trying to be of enough use to the SOE (the WWII precursor to the CIA) to earn his American passport so he can rejoin the daughter he loves more than anything else.

Although narrated mainly by Maddy and focusing on the life she leads in New York, feeling abandoned and confused without understanding why, the storyline does jump back to Leo's exploits as one of the most successful Allied spies during the war. Malcolm weaves real life characters into the narrative to add to the realistic feel of the tightness and interconnectedness of the world of espionage. However, the jumps away from Leo's life leave some gaps that would perhaps have best been filled in, especially in the case of Leo's time as a German prisoner of war given the emphasis on his and Maddy's Jewish heritage earlier in the book. The plotline following Maddy's life likewise has some underdeveloped portions. More plot driven than character driven, sometimes the characters' actions come from out of left field rather than as a logical development based on how they are drawn. Maddy's wild, all-consuming affair with Gene Mandretti is just one instance of this.

Despite the flaws here and the characters I found not particularly likable, the story does gallop along and even when situations start to feel too far-fetched to be believable, it's impossible to put the book down. I finished this one in just a few short hours and while I could have wished for more fully developed characters and a few less coincidences, overall, it was an entertaining, fast-paced read. ( )
  whitreidtan | Apr 28, 2011 |
Intrigue follows Leo Hoffman everywhere he turns. Never fully allowing himself to be known, he is forced to let his daughter believe he is who he is not while he carries out missions for the government. But who remembers him when his handler for the spy mission dies.

Malcolm writes with knowledge and realism in this her latest historical fiction.

I am looking forward to reading more from her ( )
  KayDances | Apr 24, 2011 |
An engaging sequel to Heart of Lies. My review may be read on my book review blog Rundpinne: http://www.rundpinne.com/2011/04/book-review-heart-of-deception-by-m-l-malcolm.h... ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Apr 11, 2011 |
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