A critical moment in history meets an array of meticulously wrought characters in The Secrets We Kept (Knopf, $26.95), an enthralling debut novel from Lara Prescott. Set in the throes of the Cold War, the story unfolds through the eyes of Irina, Sally, and Olga—each with a poignant side of the story to tell. Irina, a CIA typist and budding spy, is mentored by the enigmatic Sally, a sharp-witted and glamorous Agency swallow, as they both work to publicize Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. Their story is deftly interwoven with the voice of Olga, whose character animates the real life figure of Pasternak’s mistress and muse. Prescott crafts her protagonists in such a way that they maintain sharp individuality, yet share a coequally powerful feminine voice. The historical aspect of the novel is carefully researched, shedding light on both the worldwide and personal impact of Doctor Zhivago. The author frames the setting in such fine detail that the reader could walk the very paths being described through Washington D.C. today. Everything about this story, from the relatable dynamics between characters to the elegantly described clothing they wear, feels close enough to touch.
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott