Thursday, September 26, 2019

Audio Review: The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

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.

Audiobook, Unabridged
10 hours 55 minutes
Published September 3rd, 2019
 by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

This was an audio read which involved a cast of 7 readers, which was a new experience and it worked quite well.

I went into this book blind, it’s one of those books that was just popping up everywhere, I’m sure being a Reese Witherspoon Pick might have had something to do with that. The only thing I knew for certain was that this would be a book about strong women - it's Reese's trademark.

The Secrets We Kept reminded me why historical fiction is my favorite, learning about stories of the past that are totally unfamiliar to me. I’ve heard of Dr. Zhivago but had no idea how it came to be published and boy were my eyes opened. The author created an atmosphere of suspense and uncertainty, showing Russia during the Cold War where residents live in fear pretty well walking on eggshells just to survive.

I found the ending a little rushed but other than that this was a solid read and one I highly recommend. Hats off to Lara Prescott for a solid debut.

Audiobook via Scribd

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