Reader reviews and comments on The Secrets We Kept, plus links to write your own review.

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The Secrets We Kept

A novel

by Lara Prescott

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott X
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2019, 368 pages
    Jun 2020, 368 pages


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There are currently 25 reader reviews for The Secrets We Kept
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Theresa P. (Arkport, NY)

The Story Behind the Story
This book was enjoyable for many reasons. The division of the story into East and West, with the chapter headings becoming more and more telling as the story progresses, made for a fascinating telling of the back story to the publication of Dr. Zhivago. The addition of the west chapters is a bonus that I never expected and thought added a good deal to this story.The book stands alone beautifully, but it spurs the urge to re-read Boris Pasternak's novel and/or view the movie. I believe this well crafted novel will appeal especially to those who have a memory of Dr. Zhivago. I will definitely be recommending it to my book club.
Arden A. (Longboat Key, FL)

Wonderful first novel!
I loved this book. It is a terrific first novel. It takes place during the Cold War and relates a story about Boris Pasternak and his muse (lover) during the writing of Dr. Zhivago, wrapped around the story of the "typists," who are really CIA spies, and their involvement in the publishing and covert distribution of the novel in the late 50s. Lara Prescott tells a compelling story from both the East and the West points of view, with chapter titles that actually keep the thread of the story more alive.

You can learn a lot about history from reading historical fiction, particularly when it teases you into delving deeper into the past. There is so much to be learned about Pasternak and his muse, Cold War politics, the CIA's deviousness, Russian culture and the stifling of anything deemed to be against the ideology of the state. The man himself is of questionable character, perhaps loyal to his country in a Russian sort of way (fear being the operative word), even if he did go against the state by allowing his ego to get the better of him and putting the manuscript of Dr. Zhivago into the hands of an Italian publisher; but hardly loyal to his wife/children. A telling quote that speaks volumes about Russian society is, "I never read Pasternak, but I condemn him."
Jeanne W. (Colorado Springs, CO)

Great Cold War Intrigue
Lara Prescott does a wonderful job making these three women come alive. Daily office life at the CIA has a kind of Mad Men feel to it while Olga's life in Russia feels more 19th century than 20th century. Olga's experiences in the gulag compared with Boris' relatively benign experiences is frustrating, yet typical. I think Sally's story was the most interesting and yet it was the least detailed. The treatment of women and how men viewed them in the 1950s is infuriating and eye-opening. Lara Prescott's research and access to historical documents make this a fascinating book to read.
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)

Terrific Historical Novel Coming Soon to Your Bookshelf
I confess, I stayed up nights reading this one! It delved into one aspect of the Cold War I was never aware of before – and what an interesting piece of history it is. Who would have thought that the CIA would find Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago to be a great propaganda tool. Debut author Lara Prescott deftly entwines this recently revealed historical tidbit with an enduring romance between Pasternak and his mistress/muse Olga and two indefatigable female spies who rose out of the CIA's typing pool. Definitely arrange for a binge reading session.
Mary L. (Greeley, CO)

Outstanding historical novel
Spanning the Cold War period 1949-1961 and from Russia to the United States and Europe, this novel sheds light on Boris Pasternak, his mistress Olga Ivinskaya, and "Dr. Zhivago," for which Olga served as a muse and largely influenced the character of Lara. At the same time we gain insights into the CIA of the 1950s (referred to as "the agency") through the eyes of the female typists and two female spies. Lara Prescott uses a variety of narrators, never confusing the reader, to reveal an unfolding story of love, desperation, government repression and the undermining of the Soviet Union through "Dr. Zhivago." Ultimately it is truly about secrets kept. Well researched and beautifully written.
Esther L. (Newtown, PA)

The Secrets We Kept
The Secrets We Kept is a fabulous debut novel about Boris Pasternak's struggle to publish his literary masterpiece Doctor Zhivago, which ultimately won the Nobel Prize.

In 1965 when Doctor Zhivago the movie was released I was a teenager, newly in love with my future husband. I saw the beautiful Lara and her love for Zhivago and never knew the story behind its publication or of Boris Pasternak and his love Olga. I probably would not have believed the CIA's involvement!

The novel alternates the stories of Pasternak and Russia with the Agency and the "secretary spies" in Washington,DC seamlessly. Lara Prescott wrote a truly wonderful book which I highly recommend. Many thanks to BookBrowse for the chance to read this extraordinary book.
Betty B. (Irving, TX)

Such A Great Book
I wish I could rate The Secrets We Kept even higher than 5 stars. Once I started reading, I just could not put down this literary love story set during the Cold War with Russia. Secrets has everything...spies, romance, history, and a captivating story. It is beautifully written and I look forward to more books from this author. I am eager to introduce Secrets to my book club after it is published, and know we will have a very interesting discussion. I predict this will be one of the best books of 2019.
Susanna K. (Willow Street, PA)

This book starts out strong and stays that ways from the 1st page to the last. I loved the creative way the chapters were titled. As this book deals with the intricacies of planting information with foreign governments during the Cold War, moving back and forth between the East and the West has you holding your breath! Becoming attached to the character's personalities is easily done which leaves you wondering – could you be a spy?

Beyond the Book:
  Dr. Zhivago, the Movie

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