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The Secrets We Kept: A novel

By: Lara Prescott

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of September 2019: There are a few love stories in The Secrets We Kept, mostly of the unhappy kind: adulterous, unrequited, forbidden, and ill-fated. And in between these thwarted romances, history happens. In Russia, a mistress suffers years in a Gulag rather than betray her married lover—Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago—to Stalin. Her suffering inspires Pasternak to create Lara, a literary heroine for the ages. A few years later, in mid-1950s Washington DC, two intriguing, courageous women work as spies for the CIA while masquerading as typing pool secretaries. It’s a long way from the Gulag to the B

Product Details

  • Pages:368 pages
  • Publication Date:Mon Sep 02 2019
  • Publisher:Knopf
  • Language:English
  • Readers:162

Product Description

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of September 2019: There are a few love stories in The Secrets We Kept, mostly of the unhappy kind: adulterous, unrequited, forbidden, and ill-fated. And in between these thwarted romances, history happens. In Russia, a mistress suffers years in a Gulag rather than betray her married lover—Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago—to Stalin. Her suffering inspires Pasternak to create Lara, a literary heroine for the ages. A few years later, in mid-1950s Washington DC, two intriguing, courageous women work as spies for the CIA while masquerading as typing pool secretaries. It’s a long way from the Gulag to the Beltway, but Prescott cleverly links these two narratives via the progress of the Doctor Zhivago manuscript, whose besieged creator half-pleads, half-prays, “May it make its way around the world.” That this contraband masterpiece did make its way around the world while Russians were forbidden to read it, and that the CIA hatched an audacious plot to smuggle it into Soviet Russia so as to turn its citizens against communism, is credited to men with famous surnames: Pasternak, Stalin, Dulles, and even publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. But Prescott’s mesmerizing novel brings women out of the shadows and gives them their due, as spies and muses yes, but also as unsung heroines who put their lives on the line to get a novel out into the world, trusting that to do so would rouse a nation and change the course of history. --Vannessa Cronin

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Review

"A gorgeous and romantic feast of a novel anchored by a cast of indelible secretaries."

—The New York Times


"Enthralling... This is the rare page-turner with prose that's as wily as its plot."

Vogue


"Proto-feminist Mad Men transposed to the world of international espionage—all midcentury style and intrigue set against real, indelible history.”

Entertainment Weekly


"The Secrets We Kept is simply sensational. Two gripping narratives unfold in the pressure cooker of the Cold War: passionate, courageous Olga who stands in the shadow of Soviet author Boris Pasternak yet inspires him to write a heroine for the ages, and the cynical, equally-overshadowed women of the CIA who help bring Pasternak's masterpiece Dr. Zhivago to bear as a weapon against Soviet oppression. From the gulags of the USSR to the cherry blossom trees of Washington DC, the story grips and refuses to let go. Lara Prescott is a star in the making." 

—Kate Quinn, New York Times Bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network


"Prescott crafts a cloak-and-dagger story of passion, espionage, and propaganda."

—The Wall Street Journal


"A page-turner that is at once a spy thriller, historical fiction and heartfelt romance...A thumping good story."

—The Columbus Dispatch


"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."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"A whirlwind of storytelling. In Prescott’s supremely talented hands, the result is no less than endlessly fascinating, often deliciously fun as well as heartbreaking.

The Secrets We Kept is a dazzling, beguiling debut."

—BookPage (starred review)


"Delightful... An intriguing and little-known chapter of literary history is brought to life with brio."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“Epic in scope, deliciously meaty, and utterly convincing.”

—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

 

“Stylish, thrilling, smart, vivid.”

—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories

 

“Provocative, haunting and a damn good read.”

—H.W. Brands, author of The First American

 

“A first-rate novel, and it signals the arrival of a major new writer.”

—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This

 

“One of the most unique and devastating novels [I have] read in years.”

—Deb Olin Unferth, author of Minor Robberies

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