This debut novel tells the 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 one of the great love stories of the 20th century: Doctor Zhivago.
The whirl of trench coats and cocktails and midnight meetings on park benches has the heady whiff of classic old-fashioned spy storytelling, but filtered, too, through Prescott’s thoroughly modern lens. And the result is something like a protofeminist Mad Men transposed to the world of international espionage—all excellent midcentury style and intrigue set against real, indelible history.
This rich and well-researched narrative has an almost epic sweep, with alternating dramatic plots involving spies and espionage, many fascinating characters (both historical and fictional) from East and West, and a gifted writer and storyteller to tie it all together ... For a debut novelist, Prescott writes with astonishing assurance, enthralling readers with tales of secret agents and intrigue, love, and betrayal. Highly recommended.
... electrifying ... Within this novel, Prescott manages to cleverly capture the essence of the Cold War era in the West by means of the lifestyle of her main characters and manages to accurately portray the political and sexual attitudes that were prevalent in the workplace of the time period ... While in the East, Prescott does a brilliant job of portraying the sense of paranoia and dread that existed between Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya, a woman who spent several years in a labor camp because of her association with the famous novelist ... a remarkable debut novel and Prescott’s fictionalized interpretation of the Soviet Union’s suppression and the CIA’s covert distribution of Doctor Zhivago is meticulously researched and a sure bestseller. Although the back and forth between timelines was a bit confusing, this fact does not diminish the novel’s powerfully suspenseful nature and sweeping drama. The reader is easily transported back in time to the Cold War era with stylishly written dialogues and loads of intrigue.