For my second post of the day I’m thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for gripping debut novel The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. Thank you to Anne Cater for the invitation and to Hutchinson Books for my copy of this fantastic book.
About the book:
TWO FEMALE SPIES. A BANNED MASTERPIECE. A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY.
1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.
But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation.
In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.
Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.
It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.
Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott’s dazzling first novel is a sweeping page turner and the most hotly anticipated debut of the year.
About the author:
Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivagoand first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.
She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.
Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.
Website : http://www.laraprescott.com/
Twitter : @laraprescott
Wow, what a phenomenal debut novel The SecretsWe Kept by Lara Prescott is! It tells the fictional tale of how Boris Pasternak’s epic novel Doctor Zhivago was smuggled out of the East and into the West before the powers that be could prevent it from being published.
But the two women charged with this mission of a lifetime are not the typical type of spy you would expect. They are charming, experienced Sally and talented novice Irina, two typists who have been entrusted to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary, a task that will be fraught with more danger than they ever could have envisaged. But it’s a task they can’t afford to fail – as this is a book that has the power to change history.
The Secrets We Kept captivated me from the very first page, instantly transporting me to the highly pressured and very different world of the 1950’s. But this is not only Sally and Irina’s story, it is also the story of Olga, Boris Pasternak’s mistress who is treated appallingly for the role she played in helping him. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Irina and Olga and is an incredible tale of bravery and resilience. These strong women were brought vividly to life before my eyes, somehow surviving in a time when it wasn’t always easy to be a woman, where they were thought of as ‘lesser than’ the powerful men of the world.
I loved Irina and the spy aspect of her story. The idea that she was posing as a typist when in actual fact she was working for the CIA is astonishing and made for a tense and exciting read. Under the expert guidance of Sally, Irina became increasingly adept at her job, with the story moving along at a cracking pace and the tension ratcheting up to breaking point as we move towards the exhilarating conclusion.
Lara Prescott has written a brilliant story that’s filled with intrigue and suspense, touching on a time in history I knew very little about. But The Secrets We Kept is more than just a book about the importance of Doctor Zhivago in Russian history, it is also a story that celebrates the empowerment of women and the important role they’ve played throughout history. Women like Irina and Olga have been silenced for far too long and their voices deserve to be heard.
With an intricately detailed plot that brought these memorable women so vividly to life, this is a book that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Lara Prescott has written and outstanding debut novel that I would highly recommend.
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott is available to buy now: Amazon UK
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