The secrets we kept

by Lara Prescott

Hardcover, 2019




New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.


INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  A HELLO SUNSHINE x REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK 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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Clara53
In this historical fiction, with chapters named "West" and "East" interchanging throughout the book, I (probably predictably) was more compelled by the latter, and Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago" theme drew me in - so much so that I felt a great desire to reread the classic for the 3rd time.

From the American side, there are multiple protagonists, some more prominent than others, with their personal histories, but the main topic is the Cold War and glimpses into CIA work at the time. For me, the premise of the novel was a little more noteworthy than its implementation.

Here's a meaningful quote - sentiments of one of CIA operatives - especially for the fans of Dostoyevsky and other Russian literary giants:

"After I dropped down to my high school freshman weight and my skin took on the color of a city sidewalk, it wasn't my parents or the doctor they forced me to "just talk to" that pulled me out of it, it was "The Brothers Karamazov". Then "Crime and Punishment", then "The Idiot", then everything the man ever wrote. Dostoyevsky threw me a rope in the fog and began to tug... I was convinced, as only a young man can be, that deep down I had the soul of a Russian".
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LibraryThing member Cariola
While I'm not usually a fan of spy stories of any kind, I was intrigued by this novel that focuses on the women involved (at least in the author's imagination) in getting a manuscript version of Pasternak's [Doctor Zhivago] out of the Soviet Union, published into various European countries and the US, then translated back into Russian so that copies could be smuggled back into the homeland. The book focuses on Pasternak's lover, the woman who inspired the character of Lara, and on Sally and Irina, members of an intelligence bureau "typing pool" who are also secret agents. Sally is a flashy, stylish, larger-than-life figure, the kind of 3--something woman men easily fell for in the 1950s and '60s. Irina, American-born daughter of a Russian immigrant, is surprised when she is chosen for the typing pool, since she is the slowest applicant, but the boss sees something in her that he'd like to develop, and soon she is being trained as a carrier. Her life is about to change--especially when Sally is assigned to take over her training.

While Olga is also involved, to a lesser extent, in the scheme, hers is mostly the story of her long devotion to Pasternak, despite his failure to divorce his wife and marry her. Olga is not only Pasternak's lover but his protector and defender; she even spends eight years in hard labor after refusing to become an informant. The poet himself comes off as a rather pathetic, unlikable character who stands up for his principles only to stand down and give in. Of course, with the full force of the Communist Party against him, his only other option would have been condemnation, persecution, and death.

Initially, the structure of the book is rather confusing, shifting between East and West and among the various main characters--who are identified by changing descriptives. Irina, for example, is described as The Typist, The Carrier, The Nun, The Student, and more. But this all starts to fall into place about halfway through.

While [The Secrets We Kept] won't make the top of my list, it was an engaging read.
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LibraryThing member brenzi
I knew I was meant to read this book when just a few pages in the author is talking about the women working at the CIA and she mentions Virginia Hall. It was just a few weeks ago that I read Hall’s biography, A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII. It was serendipity to see her referred to in this novel.

This book tells the story of the role played by the CIA in getting Boris Pasternak’s novel Dr. Zhivago, which had been smuggled out of Russia by an Italian publisher, translated into Russian and into the hands of the Russian people. The narrative moved back and forth between the female CIA agents (and typists) and Boris Pasternak and his lover in the Soviet Union. It was a bit hard to follow at first but eventually I could easily follow the threads and found the narrative very compelling. The sections about Pasternak’s lover, Olga, as she endured her time in the gulag were incredibly horrific. It’s incredible what she survived.

I believe this is a debut novel and so it does read like a first novel. She touches on homophobic behavior in the CIA in the 1950s when this story is set and also the misogyny in the agency which both reflect opinions in the country at that time. And she shows us once again that women make the best spies. I found this historical fiction to be quite gripping and well done and will be looking for whatever this author does next.
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LibraryThing member maneekuhi
“The Secrets We Kept” (SK) seemed to me not to be a novel that takes place in two world capitals half a globe apart but rather two rather distinct novellas, one set in Washington, the other in the outskirts of Moscow. The protagonist of the latter is clearly Olga, Boris Paternak’s mistress. The Washington novella is anchored not by a single individual, but rather a team, in this case of mostly over-qualified typists working for the fledgling CIA, taking direction from not so qualified males., all perfect role models for the MCP label that evolved a decade later.

Olga is Pasternak’s mistress – for years; she is a secret to no one, particularly Pasternak’s wife. Pasternak is favored by some in the upper echelons, mostly for some earlier poems. But as word leaks out in the final years of the Stalin era that Boris is writing a novel critical of the government, it is decided that punishment must be meted out. And so Olga is sentenced to 5 years labor in Siberia! Olga suffers, and ages, but she is a survivor, and a lucky one. There is a change in leadership and Olga is released early. Pasternak’s new book “Dr. Zhivago” is ready for publication and Olga, acting as agent for Boris, approaches book publisher after book publisher in Moscow but no one will touch it - the government wants no reminders of what Russian life has been like in the post-Revolution years.

Meanwhile, in post-WWll D.C., the CIA has opened its first offices and has hired a pool of uber secretaries/typists. Many are college grads, one has a degree in engineering. But there are no suitable opportunities and many need any office work they can get, hoping to eventually move up, so they take the typing jobs. And then Irina joins the pool – she’s fluent in Russian. And Sally is hired as a receptionist but she is hardly ever at the reception desk.

The two “novellas” alternate blocks of chapters. The descriptions of place in each is excellent, including the typists meeting for lunch, going to a movie together after work in 1950s D.C., in partying on a boat with the bosses. Irina is given some basic spy training, starting with drops and pickups. In Russia, Pasternak works at getting his book published while living in a comfortable dacha just outside Moscow, the “big house”; Olga lives nearby in the “little house”. Back in DC, one of the CIA bosses comes up with a brainstorm – how about getting a copy of Dr. Zhivago, print hundreds of copies and disseminate it to Russians traveling abroad as anti-government propaganda. The books would be smuggled into the country then passed from citizen to citizen.

So, some pluses and minuses here, in addition to the ones mentioned above. I enjoyed the scenes about life in DC in the 50s. I also thought the glass ceiling scenes were extremely well done and I better understand women’s frustrations over the prejudices they have had to overcome. All was well researched, lots of detail and very authentic. I enjoyed also the descriptions of Pasternak’s work, and Olga’s years in prison – thankfully, not overdone. SK is not a great spy novel, it’s not even a good one. Interestingly, this book is based on true events. I enjoyed the character descriptions, including the rather vague details about final days for some of the main characters. I did not think the two storylines linked together well at all, but despite that I enjoyed the book very much. It has been years since I watched the Dr Zhivago movie but I will do so again soon. And I bought an Amazon Kindle version of the book which I will begin later in the year, all 706 pages.
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LibraryThing member birdsam0610
The Secrets We Kept is an interesting mixture of historical fiction, women’s rights (or lack of) and real-life Cold War spy drama. It’s the kind of story that sucks you in from the start, begging to be read.

What’s interesting about The Secrets We Kept is the way the story is told. There are the views from the East (Russia, told through the eyes of Olga, Boris Pasternak’s lover) and those of the West which come from the Agency, aka the CIA. The majority of the characters come from the West, and multiple chapters are devoted to the main characters, namely Irina and Sally. The third ‘character’ is the collective pool of typists at the Agency who speak as one (similar to the technique used in Whisper Network). I can’t say I love this way of telling a story, blending many voices into one omnipotent tone, but it’s not overly frequent and does give the reader an idea of the overall thoughts and ideals of that section. The overall premise of the story is relatively simple. Boris Pasternak is writing Doctor Zhivago, which goes against the collective ideas of Communist Russia. Authorities are not keen for him to finish it, let alone release it. But between Boris and his lover Olga, they manage to smuggle it out of the country and into Italy. The CIA is keen to try to infiltrate Russia any way possible and they believe that sharing literature is the way to get the Cold War in their favour. But the story is more than this. It’s the story of illicit love affairs, secrets and double identities.

Sometimes the individual characters overwhelm the spy plot in this novel. If you are expecting a dramatic Cold War novel with double crosses and secret identities, there isn’t much of that. It is primarily about Irina, a young woman who applies to the Agency as a typist, but is singled out for her skills and potential anger against Russia. (She comes from a Russian background). The story is as much about Irina’s personal growth as she discovers who she is and what she wants. To the collective typists, she is a mystery and to the reader, she is still somewhat of a mystery. Irina isn’t the type to lay herself bare (she does so very few times in the book) and occasionally it is difficult to understand her motivations. In contrast, Sally is much more of an open book, straightforward and cynical having lived the Agency life for years. I warmed to Sally more as a reader as she isn’t afraid to show her feelings, good or bad. Teddy, Irina’s boyfriend, starts off as an interesting character but is consigned to the background as the book continues. I know little about Boris and Olga (nor have I read Doctor Zhivago), so I don’t feel I can comment on how real people are portrayed in the book.

Overall, the story is incredibly entertaining. The writing style is straightforward, without hiding any secrets or red herrings. I found the drama dropped off a little after the book was distributed to the Russian people and became more of a story about the relationship between Sally and Irina. However, The Secrets We Kept is a solid debut novel that covers a little-known period of history.

Thank you to Penguin for the copy. My review is honest.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
Women typists at the CIA, female spies, and the author of Doctor Zhivago, this book weaves a thread between the three. There are a lot of different points of view and except for the collective voice of the typing pool, they do not sound very different. It’s hard to keep track of who is speaking and they all have about the same tone. I found myself wishing this one would end faster. I would’ve preferred a book on just one of the three plots, any of them, instead of trying to combine them all.… (more)
LibraryThing member BALE
A novel for commercial appeal and the movie screen.
LibraryThing member TLVZ721
“In a man’s world, women are the perfect spies.”

What an exceptionally fitting tagline for Lara Prescott’s enthralling novel set in the Cold War era! Told from multiple points of view, this story takes us from the deceptive calm of typing pool of the CIA to the warm hearth of Boris Pasternak’s cottage as he and his muse discuss his latest masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago, unaware of the fate that would befall them because of it. The women of this story are far and above the masterminds, the moving forces, and the backbone of everything that transpires. It was absolutely a stunning page-turner of historical fiction, meticulously researched, and characters so masterfully fleshed out that you forget the “fiction” aspect entirely. When I closed the final pages, I was not ready to leave Olga, Sally, Irina, and the typists behind, despite the satisfying endings. Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2019!

Five heart-wrenching stars and a huge thank you to Book Browse, Lara Prescott, and A. A Knopf Publishing for supplying me with this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member SamSattler
After struggling with it for years, in 1957 Boris Pasternack finally completed Dr. Zhivago, the novel that would come to define his life. But, unfortunately for Pasternak and his countrymen, there was no way that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would allow the book to be published there. It is thanks to the efforts of Italian publisher Gianglacomo Feltrinelli that the Zhivago manuscript was smuggled out of Russia and published (in Italian) in 1957 to became a best seller in the West. Strangely enough, Feltrinelli, a left-wing activist and militant would himself go on to die while setting explosives during a botched act of terrorism in Milan just fifteen years later.

As if all of that were not already crazy enough, it turns out that America’s Central Intelligence Agency saw the book as a useful Cold War propaganda weapon. To that purpose, the Agency had the novel translated back into Russian and it produced just over 350 copies that would be handed off to vetted Russians traveling in the West. Lara Prescott’s historical novel, The Secrets We Kept, tells us just how that may have been accomplished – and what the results were.

Beginning in 1949 and ending in 1961, the story is told in alternating “East” and “West” segments. The “West” segments are told largely through the eyes of members of the CIA typing pool, a group of women who have trained themselves somehow to type documents without absorbing the real meaning of the words they put on paper. But not all of these women are what they seem – to a woman, for instance, they know much more about what is happening around them than their male superiors suspect they know. And they have secrets of their own, secrets with the potential to get people killed.

The “East” segments, at least until characters start to cross over, are narrated by Boris Pasternack’s mistress, a young woman who does several years of hard time in the Gulag because of her association with the author. Without her help and the secrets she keeps for him, it is unlikely that Pasternack would have successfully completed Dr. Zhivago. Olga may have sacrificed years of watching her two children grow up, but her love and support for Boris never wavered for long, and their relationship was a deep and meaningful one for both of them.

Favorite Quote: “They had their satellites, but we had their books. Back then, we believed books could be weapons – that literature could change the course of history. The Agency knew it would take time to change the heart and minds of men, but they were in it for the long game.”

Bottom Line: The Secrets We Kept is based on an interesting piece of seldom discussed Cold War history, a period during which books and authors were important weapons in the propaganda war between Democracy and Communism. Lara Prescott has peopled the novel with a remarkable group of female characters that play key roles in the Doctor Zhivago story and how that novel became one of the key books of the twentieth century. As evidenced by the three-page bibliography at the end of The Secrets We Kept, this is a well-researched novel, one likely to appeal equally to fans of historical fiction and to fans of books about books. If you are a fan of both types, this is your lucky day.
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LibraryThing member Eyejaybee
I guess this is a fine example of meta-fiction, and explores the extent to which art in general, and literature in particular, can be deployed to bolster or undermine a political regime. Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago is now one of the most famous novels of the twentieth century. A fine novel in its own right, its fame having was boosted by the commercial and critical success of David Lean’s film adaptation starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. The book prevents a sweeping tale, following the title character throughout the period from the early Russian Revolution of 1905 until the outbreak of the Second World War.

Lara Prescott’s novel, The Secrets We Kept, recounts an equally engrossing story behind the publication of the book itself. Pasternak was already an established literary figure within the Soviet Union, celebrated for his poetry, and recognised by the regime to the extent of having an official dacha within Perelkino, the special compound reserved for writers whom the regime viewed favourably. His greatest work, Doctor Zhivago, brought that status under threat, with its caustic portrayal of the impact and aftermath of the Revolution. Indeed, it was soon evident that it could not be published openly within the USSR. A copy was smuggled out to Europe, and the first translation appeared in Italy, closely followed by others throughout the western world.

The Americans were quick to see the propaganda potential behind the book, and strove to publish a Russian version that might be smuggled back into the country. This novel revolves around that operation, telling the story from various perspectives (predominantly feminine), including from Olga, Pasternak’s lover and de facto agent, Irina, a Russian émigrée raised in Washington by her mother, and whose father had died in a Soviet prison camp during the 1930s, and Sally, an American intelligence officer who had undertaken various ‘honeytrap’ operations for the Office of Strategic Services (which metamorphosed into the CIA following the Second World War). Sally and irina work in the Soviet Russia section of the CIA, and become engaged with the plan to utilise Doctor Zhivago to propaganda effect.

The book also posits an intriguing contrast between the two superpowers. While the Americans sought to deploy Pasternak’s novel (with scant regard for the potential consequences for Pasternak himself) as a means of highlighting the lack of personal liberty within the Soviet Union, it was itself falling under the scrutiny of McCarthyism. Even officers and agents of the CIA, engaged in anti-Soviet operations, were not immune from the consequences of that campaign.

Lara Prescott was named after the leading female character of the book, and been intrigued by Doctor Zhivago for all her life. She has woven together an engaging tale that keeps the reader guessing at the next turn, even though the eventual outcome is well known. I felt tat times that there was not sufficient difference between the three narrative voices that tell the bulk of the story, but that did not prevent me from enjoying the book.

It has drawn a lot of press attention, having been the subject of a publishers’ bidding war. I am not convinced that all the publicity is really justified, but it is an enjoyable and interesting book. I didn’t know much about the background to the publication of Doctor Zhivago, and am grateful to feel more enlightened now.
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LibraryThing member kimkimkim
This is a fine piece of historic fiction, except so much of it isn’t fiction. Set during the Cold War, the US Intelligence Service and their Russian counterparts populate this story. The Americans are looking for a way to undermine the soviets and gain the upper hand. The soviets are concerned with the same plus maintaining total control of their society. Caught in the middle and forced to suffer for their brilliance and their love are Boris Pasternak, his book Dr. Zhivago, and his lover/muse, Olga Ivinskaya. Put on your big girl/boy pants if you are going to do battle with Pasternack’s masterpiece.

Having survived the Cold War and lived to understand how tightly controlled Russian society was, it is difficult to bring importance to the story imparted in “The Secrets We Kept.” I admit to being a bit confused. It took a page or two into each chapter to identify who was speaking and what issue they were addressing. Pasternak and Ivinskaya are the story, all the other characters in the book were bit players with their own sidebars who moved the story along marginally. However, the letters that are written by Olga to her tormentors are absolutely brilliant and press the true issue of those times and the results of embracing one’s beliefs in the face of totalitarianism.

My general impression of the book was disappointment.
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LibraryThing member Gwendydd
This is a spy story set in the Cold War. It has two main storylines, from many various characters' point of view. One story line focuses on Boris Pasternak's mistress as she suffers in the Gulag for him, tries to get Doctor Zhivago published, and supports him as he deals with the fallout of Doctor Zhivago. The other story focuses on an American woman who works first as a typist and then as a spy for the CIA. She is involved with the US effort to disseminate Doctor Zhivago in the Soviet Union to spread discontent with the oppressive regime that censored it.

A lot of the book is based on fact, and the true parts of the story are very interesting on their own. Prescott has added an unexpected romantic relationship between the American spy and one of her handlers. The novel is as much about love as it is about spies.

All in all, an engaging novel that reflects on love, patriotism, the power of literature, and the nature of oppression, although none of these themes are explored in depth.
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LibraryThing member ethel55
I was intrigued by the premise of how the United States used literature as possible propaganda during the Cold War. Pasternak finished Dr. Zhivago, but wasn't allowed to publish in Russia. Italy procured a copy and proceeded to publish a translation. While I am accustomed to a lot of back and forth points of view in historical fiction, I wasn't as much a fan this time and kept waiting for things to happen. Women's rights, human rights, the subsequent creation of the CIA, all are touched on in the book. It was a Reese Witherspoon pick, so I suppose I am in the minority of not falling head over heels.… (more)
LibraryThing member viviennestrauss
Not something I would typically read but I really enjoyed it!
LibraryThing member rglossne
Women make the best spies, we are told in this novel of the Cold War. In the late 50s, the CIA believed that an important weapon in the battle of ideologies between the Soviet Union and the West was art and literature. Two secretaries are plucked from the typing pool to help smuggle the novel Dr. Zhivago out of Russia, where it will not be published, to Washington, to be printed and translated. One of the women is a young Russian emigre who lives with her mother in Washington; the other is a more seasoned and sophisticated operative who teaches her the art of espionage. The book also tells the story of Pasternak and his mistress Olga, said to be the model for Lara, and what they endured to bring the book to completion.
A fascinating and little-known piece of history. Thoroughly entertaining.
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LibraryThing member Penny_L
Inspired by actual events during the Cold War, the author delivers a thrilling multi-voiced story of female espionage in the West, a scandalous love triangle in the East, and the book at the heart of it all. A well researched fascinating page turner of engaging characters, taking extraordinary risks, for a bittersweet end.
LibraryThing member bblum
Disappointed. I thought there would be more depth to the Cold War tension between US and USSR. Story of one woman from the CIA typing pool being chosen to smuggle copies of the banned book into the Soviet Union. Lots of info about life of Boris Pasternak and his mistress. Perhaps I was disappointed because I expected more.
LibraryThing member Doondeck
Very entertaining. Clever switching from East to West. Interesting to see the espionage world through the eyes of minor players.
LibraryThing member etxgardener
In 1958 everyone was talking about the novel, Doctor Zhivago. It was banned in Soviet Russia and had been smuggled out of the country and published , first in Europe, then in the United States, and finally just about everywhere - except for the Soviet Union. The book was used as a weapon in the cold war demonstrating the repressive nature of the Soviet state. When the author, Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, a major diplomatic scandal erupted when the author was forced to decline the prize.

The Secrets We Kept tells the story of this novel through multiple narrators - the author's muse, Olga Ivinskaya, various CIA agents both men and women, and a Greek chorus of women in the Agency's typing pool. These multiple narrative voices can be confusing at times, but the story is compelling, as is the cold-blooded way agents of both the Soviet Union and the United States, manipulated the various players like pieces on a chessboard.

And, I suspect often happens, the women are very brave, the men full of privilege, and surprisingly in this telling of the story, Pasternak himself comes off as fairly clueless. This book makes me want to ferret out a copy of the novel, which is still in print, to see if it holds up sixty-two years after its publication
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LibraryThing member maryreinert
Great premise for a story, but the alternating chapters that were not in chronological order were confusing. The story begins with scenes of Olga in a Russian women's camp due to her affiliation with Boris Pasternak's a famous Russian poet who is supposedly writing a novel critical of the government. Boris is married and remains free probably due to his prestige.

Alternate chapters tell of women in a typing pool in the early days of the CIA. The Cold War is at its height. A woman with a Russian accent, Irena, comes to work (she was born of Russian parents in the US) and is chosen to work as a spy. She is trained by another woman working at the CIA named Sally.

So there are really two stories happening. The relationship between Sally and Irena and the story of Boris and Olga.

After Pasternak finishes "Dr. Zhivago" it is first published by the Italians. The US decides that it can be a cultural weapon and work to get their hands on the book so that it can be smuggled into Russian for the Russian people to read. The World's Fair plays a part, the two women working undercover to deliver the book and then to get it back into Russia is interesting.

I wish I could have given this more stars; perhaps I just wasn't in the mood, but it just never really gripped me.
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LibraryThing member shazjhb
Excellent book. Loved the spy stuff. Amazing back story to Dr. Zivago
LibraryThing member BrokenTune
DNF @ 20%.

I am not impressed.

The women characters are pretty vapid apart from Olga, Pasternak's muse. However, even she is so far only defined by her relationship with Pasternak.
I don't know why, but I'm really noticing how this book would fail the Bechdel test in every scene so far.

Also, I'm not interested in the writing style. It's aggravatingly a lot like chick-lit and I also have issues with other aspects of the tone.
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LibraryThing member clue
There are two story lines in this novel. There are groups of EAST chapters that follow Boris Pasternak and his mistress during the writing and release to the world of Doctor Zhivago and groups of WEST chapters that follow two typists working at the CIA, one of them is an experienced operative and the other will become one. There are many issues interwoven within the lives of the characters particularly the limitations placed on working women and sexuality.

Pasternak, even while writing, knows that Zhivago will never be published in Russia because of it's anti-socialist ideals. What he could never have guessed is the CIA will plan a mission to distribute it around the world, though he could guess the response in Russia.

This is Prescott's first novel and I wasn't really hooked until I was at the halfway mark and by the end I was so glad to have read it. The beginning is awkward, I reread the first 50 pages but with a second reading got a handle on the way the book is organized. What a story!
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LibraryThing member DGRachel
The premise of the book was really interesting and I thought it was executed well. The issue I had was I found it challenging to follow the POV changes in audio, so I’m sure I missed or misunderstood some of the details and a, a little sorry that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to read everything I want to in print.… (more)
LibraryThing member dcoward
This was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick about female spies post World War II. I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, and this book did not help that out. The writing style kept me at a distance as well - sections of the book are written from the perspective of a group of people, i.e. " We typed a hundred words a minute and never missed a syllable." I'm not sure if this was supposed to give the effect of a Greek chorus narrating the book? But in a book that deals a lot with sexism, it is strange that women are grouped together like that. Also, one of the main characters has a disturbing event happen to her that felt unnecessary. All in all, while this is inspired by interesting historical events, per usual I wish I was reading nonfiction.… (more)



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