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A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice--inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.
At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world--using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally's tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.
The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story--the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago's heroine, Lara--with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak's country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature--told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Part real-life spy thriller, part romantic melodrama, and part historical fiction, this multifaceted novel is a true genre-buster. It’s the 1950s and the Cold War is raging. In the Soviet Union, novelist Boris Pasternak and his mistress, Olga Ivinskaya, face persecution by authorities for his subversive new manuscript, Doctor Zhivago. In the U.S., two brilliant women are pulled from the CIA typing pool and sent on a mission to destabilize the USSR—by publishing Pasternak’s novel and smuggling it back into the country. Both sides of this artfully fictionalized true story are taut with suspense and rich with compelling, three-dimensional characters. From Boris and Olga’s tragic romance to the fascinating machinations of the CIA and its early-feminist heroines, Lara Prescott’s debut novel is an unputdownable pageturner.
Prescott's triumphant debut offers a fresh perspective on women employed by the CIA during the 1950s and their role in disseminating into the Soviet Union copies of Dr. Zhivago,Boris Pasternak's banned masterpiece. In 1956, American-born Irina Drozdova gets a job at the CIA ostensibly as a typist but is destined for fieldwork. Former OSS agent Sally Forrester trains Irina in spycraft. Meanwhile, inside the Soviet Union, Boris Pasternak's lover, Olga Vsevolodovna, is interrogated about Pasternak's work in progress, Dr. Zhivago. After three years in a prison camp, she reunites with Pasternak, who, unable to publish in the Soviet Union, entrusts his novel to an Italian publisher's representative. Back in Washington, Irina, now engaged to a male agent but in love with Sally, seeks assignment overseas. Dressed as a nun, she places copies of Dr. Zhivago, printed in the original Russian for the CIA, into the hands of Soviet citizens visiting the Vienna World's Fair. Through lucid images and vibrant storytelling, Prescott creates an edgy postfeminist vision of the Cold War, encompassing Sputnik to glasnost, typing pool to gulag, for a smart, lively page-turner. This debut shines as spy story, publication thriller, and historical romance with a twist. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Faded at end ....
But otherwise pretty good character development and unique story line, which is hard to come by in fiction these days ....
When I get to read something based on a time and place in history that I know little about, yet I feel at the end I know the people populating the story, to me that is the best intersection. Thank you Lara, and Lara.
Riveting Historical Fiction
This book kept me up way past my bedtime, I could not put in down. Set in the primarily in the ’60’s but so many of themes are relevant to today’s world.