Get a free audiobook

The Secrets We Kept

A Novel
Written by: Lara Prescott
Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

A HELLO SUNSHINE x REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK

"This month for Reese’s Book Club, we are listening to The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott! Set during the Cold War, it tells the story of secretaries turned spies who are tasked with smuggling Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR and into the hands of Russian citizens. You’ll get to know Sally and Irina, two spies who risk it all for love and adventure." (Reese Witherspoon)

A thrilling 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 the greatest love story of the 20th century: Doctor Zhivago.

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dares publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world - using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally's tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents. 

The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story - the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago's heroine, Lara - with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak's country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, DC to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature - told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.

This audiobook features performances by Mozhan Marno as Olga, Carlotta Brentan as Irina, Cynthia Farrell as Sally, Saskia Maarleveld as The Typists, Jonathan Davis as Boris, David Pittu as Sergio, and James Fouhey as Teddy.

©2019 Lara Prescott (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"The Secrets We Kept is simply sensational. Two gripping narratives unfold in the pressure cooker of the Cold War: passionate, courageous Olga who stands in the shadow of Soviet author Boris Pasternak yet inspires him to write a heroine for the ages, and the cynical, equally-overshadowed women of the CIA who help bring Pasternak's masterpiece Dr. Zhivago to bear as a weapon against Soviet oppression. From the gulags of the USSR to the cherry blossom trees of Washington DC, the story grips and refuses to let go. Lara Prescott is a star in the making." (Kate Quinn, New York Times best-selling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network)

"Through lucid images and vibrant storytelling, Prescott creates an edgy postfeminist vision of the Cold War, encompassing Sputnik to glasnost, typing pool to gulag, for a smart, lively page-turner. This debut shines as spy story, publication thriller, and historical romance with a twist." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"Delightful.... An intriguing and little-known chapter of literary history is brought to life with brio." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No reviews are available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Clueless
  • 2019-09-06

Eh...it was ok.

The only thing that kept my attention was the various storylines with each character. i was hoping for a more climactic connection between them all. The chapters that held my attention were few and too far between. This was a book I could put down and walk away from so much to the point I was looking for other books to read next. For me, it was simply ok.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ignatius
  • 2019-09-27

Meh

If you are going to fictionalize true events, then you should create compelling characters, situations, and events. Unfortunately, this book did not. The overall premise is great, but if the author can't make up better stuff than these cardboard characters, then she should have stuck with non-fiction reporting of the Boris Pasternak story. Good narrators, though.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • julie e. sadeghi
  • 2019-09-12

too disjointed story

I found this book to be a bit boring. The story line sounded good but none of the characters are very developed. The book kept jumping from one character to another and in the process not giving much information on any character. Left a lot to be desired.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rojack
  • 2019-09-17

Mixed feelings about this book.

I wanted to like the story more than I did. I struggled to finish it, it felt slow and I had hoped there would be more spy story then there was. I debated returning it but decided to push through to the end. I did find the basis in historical fiction interesting, however.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Freets H. Ham
  • 2019-09-04

Noah P.

This is one of the best books I've ever read (well, heard). The performance was magnificent -- such high production value! And the storyline was amazing. I listened to the whole thing in 3 sittings. Usually it'd take me at least double that. Spies, romance, literature -- this one has everything. A++

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandy Edwards
  • 2019-09-07

Excellent listen!

I so enjoyed the audio of this book. It makes me want to do more research of the actually history of the time and all that took place. Narrators were excellent!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • 2019-09-06

Intriguing

I wish the characters were more closely linked. it is as if the book had two plot lines who two groups of characters that were only distantly related.
I wanted to know more about some of the characters disposition, i.e. Henry.
This opened my desired to listen to Dr. Zhivago.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • HilaryZ
  • 2019-09-07

Riveting

Hooked me in the first two minutes. Great story telling by the author and the audio performances were so good I felt like I was watching a film.
Highly recommend.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda C Rosenberg
  • 2019-09-05

This book has it all

An intriguing story of strong women, their places in history and the effects and consequences of lives well lived

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lou
  • 2019-09-07

A story for the ages

This story is timeless. The beautiful way it was put together by years in sequence, by those telling the tale, was near perfect in presentation. Characters were well-described, and I liked the many voices. I would recommend this book to those romantics who either never read the book and are sorry, and to those who did and want to know the background.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful