Miss Bridge takes us to Portugal; not only the well-known world of Estoril and the Embassies, but behind the scenes, into the life lived on country estates by the Portuguese themselves. Both aspects are seen through the fresh eyes of a young Hungarian girl just released from behind the Iron Curtain, who also gives vivid and horrifying glimpses of life in Soviet-dominated Hungary from 1945 to 1955. Communist intrigues lend suspense and excitement to this book full of rapid movement, when any drive in a car may hold possibilities of danger; and readers who enjoyed the calm, dumb-blonde Julia Probyn in The Lighthearted Quest will be glad to meet her again here, playing her accustomed role of outsmarting the professionals at their own game. But though lively this book penetrates further into the life of another country, and gives too a revealing account of the impact of western life and behaviour on a highly intelligent observer from 'the other side'.

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