🤐 The secrets we kept by Lara Prescott⁠

✍️ Two stories flow parallel in this book. “East”, depicting the relationship of Boris Pasternak and his great love, muse and emissary, Olga Ivinskaya, the model for Lara in Zhivago. And “West”, telling the story of Irina and Sally, two secretaries pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA 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. ⁠

♥️ I liked:⁠
📚 The importance of books and literature. This is definitely the highlight of the book, the aspect that has been investigated the most by the author. It is heartwarming to realize how literature can change history, and scary at the same time when you think about the sacrifices that have been made in the name of literature. ⁠
🇮🇹 The involvement of an Italian publisher. I wasn’t aware that the first publishing house to print Doctor Zhivago was the very Italian Feltrinelli. I felt proud and impressed. ⁠
👩 The female characters. The author makes Sally, Irina and the typists look definitely better than their male counterparts. Women do the job and men take credit. Also, we know that the men use nicknames that refer to physical features to talk about the typing pool. Teddy, Irina’s first instructor, can’t be remotely compared to Sally.⁠
🗺️ The World’s Fair. I loved the description of the event and how the CIA sets up the smuggling operation thanks to it.⁠

🤔 I wasn’t so sure about:⁠
Olga’s experience in the gulags. It looked too easy, definitely not the dreadful life-changing experience that it must have been. ⁠
🕵️ It’s not a spy story. I was expecting something more on this side. There is no suspense, no thrill… The love stories are the most important part of the plot. ⁠

⭐⭐⭐ 3/5 I loved the importance of books and literature. It changed history and people’s lives more than once. Maybe the author tried to put in the same book too much, without exploring anything deeply enough.⁠

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