A Most Clever Girl: Book summary and reviews of A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A Most Clever Girl

A Novel of an American Spy

by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton X
A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2021
    416 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

A thrilling novel of love, loyalty, and espionage, based on the incredible true story of Elizabeth Bentley, a Cold War double agent spying for the Russians and the United States, from USA Today bestselling author Stephanie Marie Thornton.

1963: Reeling from the death of her mother and President Kennedy's assassination, Catherine Gray shows up on Elizabeth Bentley's doorstep demanding answers to the shocking mystery she just uncovered about her family. What she doesn't expect is for Bentley to ensnare her in her own story of becoming a controversial World War II spy and Cold War informer…

Recruited by the American Communist Party to spy on fascists at the outbreak of World War II, a young Bentley—code name Clever Girl—finds she has an unexpected gift for espionage. But after falling desperately in love with her handler, Elizabeth makes another surprise discovery when she learns he is actually a Russian spy. Together, they will build the largest Soviet spy network in America and Elizabeth will become its uncrowned Red Spy Queen. However, once the war ends and the U.S. and U.S.S.R. become embroiled in the Cold War, it is Elizabeth who will dangerously clash with the NKVD, the brutal Soviet espionage agency.

As Catherine listens to Elizabeth's harrowing tale, she discovers that the women's lives are linked in shocking ways. Faced with the idea that her entire existence is based on a lie, Catherine realizes that only Elizabeth Bentley can tell her what the truth really is.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Thornton is a rare talent who always pairs fast-pace writing with excellent research, and A Most Clever Girl is a fascinating true Cold War story by a gifted storyteller."—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette

"Take a firecracker of a plot and add to it the true story of a female double agent and the result is one explosive and unforgettable story. Elizabeth Bentley is a complicated and absorbing woman and her life as a spy for both the Russians and the Americans makes for a fascinating tale, told with immense skill by Stephanie Marie Thornton." —Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress

"Harrowing anecdotes and juicy spycraft will keep readers turning the pages." ―Publishers Weekly

"Thornton's latest blends Cold War espionage thriller and biographical fiction into an engaging, difficult-to-put down story that readers will savor. … Readers who enjoyed Lara Prescott's The Secrets We Kept (2019) will be engrossed by this biographical novel about America's Red Spy Queen." ―Booklist

"John Le Carré has nothing on Stephanie Thornton. She takes the Cold War spy novel to a whole new level with this fast-paced, multifaceted drama about Elizabeth Bentley, the real-life Russian Spy turned FBI informant. Thornton gets to the heart of a woman seeking redemption after leading a tortured life of bad politics and impossible choices. I couldn't put A Most Clever Girl down and now I can't stop thinking about it. Bravo!" —Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer

"Stephanie Marie Thornton's A Most Clever Girl, the harrowing tale of an American Cold War spy, is as moving as it is thought provoking. Brimming with danger, unexpected twists, and heart-shattering love, the pages of this novel all but turned themselves. Nuanced, complicated characters not only kept me guessing until the very end, but stayed with me long after I finished the book. Captivating and unforgettable, this is a must read!" —Kristin Beck, author of Courage, My Love

"Thornton's novel hews closely to the factual details of Elizabeth's life but adds the emotional underpinnings that make her more than a lurid headline.…The wily Elizabeth snatches center stage and propels readers through the Red Scare and the opening years of the Cold War. Even though fictional, Thornton's interpretation rings true and tragic." ―Library Journal

"With meticulous research and a rare gift for breathing life into historical figures, Stephanie Marie Thornton follows the true story of a complex and fascinating woman—American spy Elizabeth Bentley. Filled with danger, intrigue, love and loss, A Most Clever Girl is a powerhouse novel, exquisitely written and utterly gripping." —Christine Wells, author of Sisters of the Resistance

This information about A Most Clever Girl shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Stephanie Marie Thornton Author Biography

Stephanie Marie Thornton is a high school history teacher and lives in Alaska with her husband and daughter.

Stephanie's first two novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt reimagine the lives of two of history's forgotten women: Theodora of the Byzantine Empire and Pharaoh Hatshepsut.

Her third and fourth books center around the women who stood behind the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. The Tiger Queens is the story of Genghis Khan's wife and daughters, while The Conqueror's Wife tells of the women who both loved and hated Alexander the Great.

With her love of the ancient world,Stephanie also joined the H Team to help pen a collaborative novel, Song of War: A Novel of Troy, a new spin on the story of ...

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