Lara Prescott’s THE SECRETS WE KEPT
This is one of those books you can’t help but devour. It is a double-edged spy thriller based on a thrilling true story to get a book smuggled out of the USSR, published for the world to read and then smuggled back into the USSR to use as propaganda against the Soviet regime. While at the same time it is an epic and tragic love story set at the height of The Cold War with all the paranoia and prejudices of the era.
Lara Prescott constructs her novel brilliantly. The story is told from the point of view of three main protagonists. Firstly, Olga Ivinskaya, who is author Boris Pasternak’s mistress and muse. She is not only the inspiration for the novel but is instrumental in pushing and encouraging Boris to write and finish his masterwork. She is both muse, editor and agent however she pays a heavy price for being associated with Boris and his novel when the Kremlin gets wind of what Boris has written and his perceived criticisms of the Russian Revolution, Stalinism and the Socialist regime in his epic novel.
Interspersed with Olga’s story is that of Irina Drosdov and Sarah Forrester. Sarah Forrester was a highly successful OSS agent during the Second World War and has recently returned to the profession with the newly created CIA. Irina is a member of the typing pool at “The Agency” but her real potential is quickly realized by those above her and she is taken under Sarah’s wing to learn the arts of spy craft before both are sent on the secret mission to obtain and publish a copy of Doctor Zhivago.
Each narrative dances back and forth, rising in intensity as the stakes get higher and higher. The emotional and political strain takes its toll on each of the three narrators, with devastating consequences, but the mission remains the same for each; to get Doctor Zhivago out to the world. However the motivations each character has are vastly different and will dramatically change the closer they each get to completing their respective missions.
I have to admit I haven’t read Doctor Zhivago (or seen the film) but after reading this amazing novel it is now high on my ‘To Be Read’ list. The urgency and importance of getting a book published adds an extra dimension to an already intriguing and fascinating spy thriller. Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club has done it again with another inspired choice that is impossible to put down and a book you will want to share with as many friends as possible so you can discuss it and relive the key moments of the story.
Title: Secrets We Kept
Author: Lara Prescott
Publisher: Random House
Length: 234.0 millimetre
Width: 153.0 millimetre
Publication Date: 03/09/2019