I am on a fantastic blog tour today and can barely contain my excitement! The blog tour is hosted by the wonderful Anne Carter of Random Things Blog Tours! I will be reviewing The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (published 5th September).
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.
Official blurb for The Secrets We Kept
Firstly, this was a fascinating read. I thought I knew all about the background of Doctor Zhivago but I had merely scratched the surface. As a keen history geek, I love discovering new things, especially stories from a different time. Yet, I hadn’t expected quite so much action and drama wrapped up in the centre!
This story is incredibly interesting and dramatic. I really enjoyed the plot and the characters; Prescott made them come to life before my eyes. I feel as if this story has been brewing for a long time, waiting to be told. Prescott has done an outstanding job.
Don’t worry if you haven’t read Doctor Zhivago as you won’t be confused by the story. Prescott unravels the secrets before your eyes and takes you beyond the story into a world of espionage.
The story is fast-paced and very easy to get through. Even if you’re not a fan of spy stories, I would encourage you to read this one as it is so much more. In addition to the historical significance of this novel, the narrative itself is captivating. Swapping between persons and perspectives, the characters are at the heart of this story. The structure of the novel takes place between the East and the West and helps split up the book whilst keeping the reader engaged.
Seeing history pan out through Prescott’s eyes was enchanting. This fictionalised historical book is itself, about a book- but it is also so much more. It sheds light upon societies, women, and the aftermath, fear, and duty of people. I was very impressed by this novel and I am 100% sure it is going to be a hit!
As always, I have tried so hard not to include spoilers in my review (and I think I have succeeded!) but I hope I have tempted you to read this story! For anyone with an interest in war history, I implore you to read this novel. Equally, if you are a fan of historical fiction, this brilliant book should be on your shelves! And for those wanting to read something a little bit different- you need to read this book. I flew through it!
An incredibly interesting retelling of the secrets lost to history…
Available from September 5th (TOMORROW!!!) in all good book stores and online and HERE
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.
Twitter : @laraprescott
Thank you as always to the lovely Anne Carter for my gorgeous copy and spot on the blog tour! Thank you also to the publisher, Hutchinson, and last but not least, the author, Lara Prescott!
Check out the rest of the tour below!
Happy reading! Lx
Images and ‘about the author’ courtesy of Anne Carter