The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena MacDonald @RowenaMacdonald @AardvarkBureau #politics #HouseofCommons #BookReview

This is part of my NetGalley catch up.




A new colleague and a mysterious admirer make life infinitely more interesting for House of Commons secretary Grace, but is everything really as it seems?

Grace Ambrose, Brett Beamish and Reuben Swift appear to have little in common, but as each of them negotiates metropolitan life, they find their fates entwined.

Arty, liberal-minded House of Commons secretary Grace has been counting the tea breaks in the same dull job for approaching a decade and feels she could do something better … if only she knew what.

New recruit Brett, a smooth, high-flying Australian, is on a mission to shake up the dusty backrooms of power – and on a collision path with Grace. Office life begins to look up when Grace receives an email from an admirer with musical and poetic talents … but is soulful, enigmatic Reuben Swift really who he says he is?


The Threat Level Remains Severe


This is a quirky inside look at the people who work in the backrooms of the House of Commons. The staff that keep everything running to time as accurately as Big Ben. It dips into their roles but it is more about them as people and their relationships with each other. The central character is Grace who has worked there for the past ten years.

Grace is a practical woman who has fallen into comfort rather than style as far as fashion goes so she is rather surprised to receive an e-mail from an admirer who says he is a musician called Reuben Swift. A new man has also started work in the office, an Australian called Brett, who is very much a yuppie, has big ideas to change how things are done and ‘lets get to know each other’ outings. Things are going to liven up alright!

This is a pretty strange story but one that I just couldn’t put down. I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching some sort of reality show. Some of the humour is rather subtle with tongue in cheek remarks and thoughts made in all seriousness. I must admit that this is my favourite type of humour. The story takes on a rather darker tone as the book goes on, which sort of crept up on me, a little like when dusk all of a sudden becomes pitch black.

The author took me deep into the minds of the three main characters where I found out what they were really like. I really enjoyed this story as it is very unique with outcomes that I could never have guessed.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Rowena Macdonald

Rowena Macdonald was born on the Isle of Wight, grew up in the West Midlands and now lives in east London.
Her debut novel, The Threat Level Remains Severe, was published in July 2017 by Aardvark Bureau, an imprint of Gallic Books. It was shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2017.
Her debut collection, Smoked Meat, was shortlisted for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize. Her other short stories have won various prizes and been published by Galley Beggar Press, Influx Press, Ambit, Unthank Books, and Serpent’s Tail, among others.


Twitter: @RowenaMacdonald


5 thoughts on “The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena MacDonald @RowenaMacdonald @AardvarkBureau #politics #HouseofCommons #BookReview

  1. Great review, Susan.
    I actually won a copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway and still haven’t had a chance to read it. I’ll have to pull it off my bookcase and give it a go! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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