“The Secrets We Kept” by Lara Prescott is a story of espionage during the Cold War, the push and pull of two countries, the United States and the Soviet Union, each with their contrasting ideologies.
Ms. Prescott in her debut novel, tells the story of the publishing of “Doctor Zhivago,” written by the Soviet poet, Boris Pasternak, containing an incendiary rebuke of communism, which has been censored by the USSR, who refuses to publish it. The book is leaked by Pasternak to the West and then published in Italian. Using their espionage channels, the US tries to smuggle inside the Soviet Union to further turn popular opinion inside the Iron Curtain against its government.
Prescott tells the story through the eyes of the main characters, from OSS agents, to Pasternak and his mistress, to the typists at the OSS, who are also in on the secret plan. It is an interesting historical fiction, retelling the story from many different perspectives. As a debut novel, the book tells of love and betrayal. It deals with the horrors of communism contrasted with “undesirable” taboos in American life at the time. While the differences between both societies are so stark, there remain similarities that cannot be overlooked that Prescott draws out.
Overall, the novel is a superb debut and I look forward to reading future works by Ms. Prescott.
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