Female Spies in Soviet Russia – historical fiction

Published by Erica on

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay

This novel stars two female narrators, Ingrid and Anya, who become spies in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I really loved reading a historical fiction set a bit more “recent” in the timeline – it opened my eyes to a time period I’m less educated on. Seeing Russia through Anya’s eyes gives it greater dimensionality, as opposed to the common tropes and stereotypes of Soviet Russia that are prevalent in media. I would definitely take more of this background and perspective, but of course you can only fit so much into one book.

After reading the book blurb, I was slightly underwhelmed by the climactic point of betrayal in the book. I was emotionally invested in the characters and cared for their sake that someone was leaking spy names back to the Soviet Union, but much around that scene (and the reveal of the mole) lacked intensity and buildup. I suppose if you know who Aldrich Ames is, that will help, but I didn’t and would have loved a little more writing to build that tension.

If you love stories about relationships, women, and especially how women channel the power they have to make an impact, you’ll enjoy this read!

Thanks to Harper Muse, I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Categories: Book Review


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