Classic Book Review: Mr. Standfast

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan

Mr. Standfast (Richard Hannay, #3)
by John Buchan

4 out of 5 stars

Richard Hannay is serving as a general in WWI, when he is called away from the warfront to engage in some counter-espionage back in England. A dangerous group of radicals in a small county village might be hiding an evil mastermind who is the center of a ring of German spies, hiding in plain sight on British soil. Richard meets some old friends who return to be part of the team, and he is introduced to the beautiful Mary, a voice of wisdom in all their plans.

I love the adventure in this third book of the series! However, it takes some time to get to that point. The beginning is a lot of setup before the action can get started. I liked some of the political and philosophical conversations about the war, but it slowed down the plot too much.

The espionage is thrilling. The mystery is intriguing. We travel to many different settings all over Europe from Scotland to the Italian Alps.

I liked the romance between Richard and Mary, but it seemed sort of insta-love, and I wish that they had had more than three conversations before they fell madly in love. And then, when they do declare their love for each other, it just seems like it’s kind of understood between them that they are engaged without there ever having been an actual proposal. All their friends magically know that they are engaged, but we never hear about the actual proposal or an announcement to their friends. It seems like there are holes in the story regarding this romance. It doesn’t evolve in a natural way. Maybe some things happened behind the scenes or something, but the reader is left wondering about the missing pieces.

I enjoyed the writing style very much. I like that we get to experience all of Richard’s inner thoughts and emotions. The writing is so powerfully descriptive that the reader feels all of Richard’s fear and elation as he escapes from danger.

I also enjoyed learning about this time period of history from a story written right in the middle of WWI.

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