The Secrets We Kept
A BANNED MASTERPIECE
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.
TWO FEMALE SPIES
The CIA plans to use the bo ...more
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Set both in the East and the West, our two main protagonists Sally Forrester and Irina Drozdov work in the CIA typing pool, a very male dominated env ...more
I am going to change my rating on this book to a 3.5 rounded up to a 4 star book. I love books about spies, particularly women spies so I had really high expectations for this book. I had some problems with the flow, back and forth between what was happening with the author of Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, in the East and what was going on in the West, centering on the CIA and how it planned to use the book as a “weapon” against the Soviets.
All in all I enjoyed this book, it ...more
”Sometimes they’d refer to us not by name but by hair color or body type: Blondie, Red, Tits. We had our secret names for them, too: Grabber, Coffee Breath, Teeth.
“They would call us girls, but we were not.
“We came to the Agency by way of Radcliffe, Vassar, Smith. We were the first daughters of our families to earn degrees. Some of us spoke Mandarin. Some could fly plans. Some of us could handle a Colt 1873 better than John Wayne. But all we were asked when interviewed was ‘Can you type?’”
Much has been said about this book, it has been ‘hyped’ ( not a great word but its as it is ) and spoken about as ‘THE book of the year’ and various other platitudes
The book is all about ( trying to keep this as simple as can ) Doctor Zhivago, the author of it, his lover, how the book was banned and how America managed to get the book published and into Russia ( all based on fact ) intermingled with fiction re the ‘spies’ of the 1950’s, the ‘typists’ of the American Govt, who saw all and said no ...more
I first saw this book, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, on NetGalley and knew I had to read it. What a joy to find glorious historical fiction not set during WW II.
COLD WAR THRILLER
Prescott’s debut novel occurs during the Cold War, with chapters that flip between the CIA in the States and Russia — where Boris Pasternak (author of DR. ZHIVAGO) and lover Olga (inspiration for the character Lara), struggle to get his masterpiece published.
NYT critic Janet Maslin cal ...more
There’s no secret that the Secrets We Kept is going to be a big hit this fall. It’s one of those books that I imagine publishers dream about – filled with true-to-life intrigue, touching upon little-known history, and presenting real-life and fictional characters that readers really care about.
Like most people, I’ve seen the movie Dr. Zhivago multiple times and it has never failed to captivate me (interestingly, I minored in Russian literature but never read the book). Although I was aware that ...more
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.
This is a fictionalised telling of a fascinating true story that pitched the CIA in a battle against the Soviet authorities over Pasternak's Dr Zhivago. Sadly, as I'd read some of the same sources as the author (The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book, 'The Pasternak Affair', Anna Pasternak's Lara: The Untol ...more
To my mind, the parts of the novel which worked best, were the scenes f ...more
Female spies. The Cold War. Communism. Secrets. Double Agents. Forbidden Books. Forbidden Love.
Brilliantly put together, despite being fiction, a lot of this is based on fact of how the book Doctor Zhivago made it to being published when the Soviet Union had such issues with it that lives were at risk. This is the time that the country controlled it ...more
Makes me want to read Dr. Zhivago...
We’re all familiar with the political Cold War, but what’s less well known is the cultural Cold War. The USSR and the US battled for cultural supremacy, using the arts as their weapons.
The CIA seized upon Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago as the ultimate weapon in this war. Pasternak wasn’t allowed to publish his book in the USSR because the state viewed it as anti-Soviet. The CIA obtained a smuggled copy and not only used it as their source for a ...more
I was expecting a suspenseful spy novel, but what I got was thinly disguised romance/chick-lit. It's all too common with historical fiction in recent years, and why I struggle with the genre.
The love affair between Pasternak and Olga left me cold, the alternating narratives in the West chapters were confusing, the secretarial pool characters lacked depth, and the writing style was simplistic. Frankly, I was bored silly.
The Secrets we Kept starts off interesting, with the collective voice of the typists setting the stage for what's to come. The true story of the publication of Doctor Zhivago is fascinating, and the focus of much of the book, with slight detours into story lines of fictional characters.
I would've happily read about Boris and Olga, or have enjoyed fleshed out stories of Sally, Irina, and Teddy but all of these p ...more
There are some clever touches. I especially liked the chapters told from the collective point of view of ‘The Typists’, the members of the CIA typing pool. Equally as intelligent (and in many cases, more intelligent) than the male employees of t ...more
The Secrets We Kept is based on Boris Pasternak’s famous ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and the chaos behind it. Lara Prescott does an incredible job with the outline and plot of the novel. This story is told in a collection of first-person narratives. We meet Boris Pasternak, his mistress Olga, two female spies Irina and Sally, Teddy and ‘The Typists’. The structure of the novel was my favorite part of it. I loved being able to un ...more
The setting. "It’s the dawn of the Cold War, and words have been weap ...more
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 for ...more
This was an ARC from BookExpo NYC.
|Reese's Book Club...: What did you think?||2||268||Sep 10, 2019 07:19AM|
|Reese's Book Club...: The Secrets We Kept by Laura Prescott||11||557||Sep 08, 2019 06:38PM|
|Reese's Book Club...: Little Known History||1||205||Sep 03, 2019 08:15AM|
|Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "The Secrets We Kept" by Lara Prescott||2||16||Jul 29, 2019 12:45AM|
Lara received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in 2018. She grew up in Pennsylvania and studied political science at American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to writing fiction, Lara worked as ...more