A Shadow in Moscow

A Cold War Novel

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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jul 2023

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In the thick of the Cold War, a betrayal at the highest level risks the lives of two courageous female spies: MI6’s best Soviet agent and the CIA’s newest Moscow recruit.

Vienna, 1954

After losing everyone she loves in the final days of World War II, Ingrid Bauer agrees to a hasty marriage with a gentle Soviet embassy worker and follows him home to Moscow. But nothing within the Soviet Union’s totalitarian regime is what it seems, including her new husband, whom Ingrid suspects works for the KGB. Inspired by her daughter’s birth, Ingrid risks everything and reaches out in hope to the one country she understands and trusts—Britain, the country of her mother’s birth. She begins passing intelligence to MI6, navigating a world of secrets and lies, light and shadow.

Moscow, 1980

A student in the Foreign Studies Initiative, Anya Kadinova finishes her degree at Georgetown University and boards a flight home to Moscow, leaving behind the man she loves and a country she’s grown to respect. Though raised by dedicated and loyal Soviet parents, Anya soon questions an increasingly oppressive and paranoid regime at the height of the Cold War. Then the KGB murders her best friend and Anya chooses her side. Working in a military research lab, she relays Soviet plans and schematics to the CIA in an effort to end the 1980s arms race.

The past catches up to the present when an unprecedented act of treachery threatens all agents operating within Eastern Europe, and both Ingrid and Anya find themselves in a race for their lives against time and the KGB.

“Eloquently portrays the incredible contributions of women in history, the extraordinary depths of love, and, perhaps most important, the true cost of freedom.” —Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil

  • An exciting story of two brave female spies in Cold War Moscow
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

In the thick of the Cold War, a betrayal at the highest level risks the lives of two courageous female spies: MI6’s best Soviet agent and the CIA’s newest Moscow recruit.

Vienna, 1954

After losing...

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Featured Reviews

Sometimes you fall in love with a story. Sometimes you fall in love with the writing. Sometimes you fall in love with the character. A Shadow in Moscow captured me in all those areas. Katherine Reay’s writing!!!—so many sentences that I always want to remember. And the story—nothing like a good historical drama especially one that seems relevant today with the Russia/Ukraine saga. And A Shadow in Moscow also has great mother/daughter drama and love stories that last over time and will visit the reader in their dreams. A novel about history and freedom within one’s country and within one’s family. A novel of secrets and finding oneself, of love and strength, of contrasts between the US and Russia. May we find and enjoy the freedoms we have, to love and to be loved; to be brave and to be honest; and to pass on to or children the goodness of a life well-lived.

Thanks to the NetGalley and Harper Muse for the Advanced Review copy.

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What a fascinating story!
This dual time story takes readers on an educational ride through Vienna, 1954 and US/Soviet Union 1980. It’s an intense story, filled with details about the Cold War that helps readers understand what went on during those times.
Ingrid lives with her parents in Vienna. Her life isn’t terrible, but she senses her parents are keeping secrets from her. What she discovers sets her on an unexpected course and will change her life completely.
Anya’s time in America is drawing to a close, finishing her degree at Georgetown as an exchange student from Russia. Having tasted another life outside the Iron Curtain, Anya is faced with questions that one cannot answer. And when she returns to Russia, she’s faced with life-altering decisions.
The connection between these two characters isn’t obvious at first, which makes the story that much more interesting.
Descriptions are fascinating, immersing the reader into historical Vienna and Moscow. Readers can easily connect to the individual characters, though I found Anya’s immaturity to be frustrating at times. However, there wasn’t anything in this story that didn’t make sense, and Anya’s immaturity would play a pivotal role in the entire novel.
It’s a heavy read, but really fascinating. For readers who want to know more about the Cold War, this is an ideal read. For those who love a great dual time story with the connection not easily guessed, pick up this book!
I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This book slowly pulled me in and then did not let go. Two seemingly separate stories are told: One around Ingrid, a woman who lost everyone dear to her in the last days of WWII and the other around Anya, a young woman who grew up in Moscow only to get her college education in the States. I love the London House for the way it's dual timelines wove into a seemless story, and A Shadow in Moscow stunned me at the 60% mark when I saw the connection. This is a spy novel set in the dark days of the Cold War. It's a race to see who can survive, and with men like Aldrich Ames in the story, you know not everyone can. But it's a story of love, of sacrifice, of looking for truth and beauty in dark places. It's a book filled with the search for goodness and hope in points you can't expect to find it, and with the subtlest overlay of James Bond. I highly recommend it.

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Forty years apart, two women choose to spy against the Soviets for the West.

In 1944, Ingrid is an Austrian whose parents are seized and killed by the Nazis controlling the country, and she can do nothing to help them. When Adam, the man with whom she has fallen in love, reveals that her parents had been working for Britain’s MI6 as in fact does he, Ingrid decides to exact her revenge on the Nazi regime by doing all that she can to continue to provide the Allies with information to defeat Hitler once and for all. When the war ends, she chooses to stay in Austria and provide intelligence against the Soviets who now occupy Austria rather than let Adam extract her and bring her to London. Time passes, and she marries a young but persistent Soviet man named Leo. All too quickly, they are moved back to Moscow, and Ingrid realizes that her life under the Soviet regime will be far worse than she could ever imagine. When she gives birth to a child she is determined to make the world a better and safer place for the next generation, and resumes her work for MI6. As Leo is promoted higher and higher, the quality of information to which she has access increases as well. Then in 1985 a list of names of those spying in Moscow for the West is leaked to the KGB and Ingrid must choose what she values most.

In 1980, Anya is a young Soviet woman who has been studying at Georgetown University in Washington DC for four years thanks to the Foreign Studies Initiative of her government. The KGB keeps tabs on her, as they do on all of the students in the program, to make sure that she behaves as the ideal Soviet while she earns her degree. She has excelled in her studies, but has also developed friendships and enjoyed freedoms that would be unheard of back in the USSR. One relationship in particular, with a young man named Scott, is almost enough to tempt her to stay beyond her graduation. Scott certainly wants her to do so, but she cannot imagine not going home to her friends and family….especially knowing what would happen to those people if she embarrassed her government by attempting defection. As her senior year draws to a close, she is called to the office of her professor and advisor and introduced to a man named Olivers. He attempts to recruit her to work as an agent for the CIA upon her return to Moscow. She refuses, but is advised to contact them in the future should she change her mind. Anya returns home to Moscow, and while she is happy to see her parents and lifelong friends again, she realizes that her time in the US has changed her and how she views Soviet life. She misses the freedom to offer her opinions even if they differ from others, the ability to just relax and be herself; in Moscow, someone is always listening, judging, and when necessary reporting on others. Anya’s closest childhood friend Dmitri, disillusioned and distressed by his work with the KGB, seeks to bring the spirit of rebellion brewing in neighboring Poland to the USSR. He attends underground meetings, and is drinking heavily. After a night out with Anya and other friends, an inebriated Dmitri heads out on his own and is found dead the next day. It appears to be a mugging gone bad, but Anya suspects that he has been killed by the same people for whom he works. It is the impetus she needs to reach out to someone at the US Embassy, sending a message back to Olivers….she is ready to do whatever is necessary to bring freedom to her country. She finds ways to take information and schematics from projects at the military lab where she works and send it through a handler to those in the West who can use it to counter Soviet military progress. She takes risks that are unwise, and is in a vulnerable position when that same list of spies is released to the KGB in 1985.
Two women choose loyalty to their homelands over love, and both risk their safety and their lives to contribute to the downfall of a communist regime when it costs them someone they love. Their lives are not the stuff of a 007 film, but what each is able to do has an impact on the Soviet regime nonetheless. Some chapters are from Ingrid’s point of view, spanning over forty years of her evolution in espionage; others are from Anya’s as she says goodbye to love and freedom at Georgetown, has to relearn how to live a circumspect life under continual observation and inspection, and finally must follow her conscience and act against her government without being discovered. Each woman comes to question past decisions made, struggles with the double lives they lead, and most of all never forget the men they chose to leave behind. In the canon of espionage novels, the spies whose lives readers are shown have generally been men. A Shadow in Moscow shows us that there were, and are, women taking the same risks and making the same sacrifices as well. The capabilities of women have been underestimated for so long, so it is no surprise that women have in fact been able to operate successfully in the shadows. Author Katherine Reay has done a wonderful job of creating two characters in Ingrid and Anya who act boldly and with conviction to achieve a measure of justice and peace for themselves and those they love. I highly recommend A Shadow in Moscow for lovers of espionage of any type, and especially those who have enjoyed books by Susan Elia MacNeal, Gayle Lynds, Paul Vidich, and Stella Rimington. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Muse for the advanced reader’s copy.

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Riveting, even heart-breaking, to the last moment. Catch a glimpse into the world of Soviet Europe and the network of spies that worked to pass information in and out of the regime. Reay’s suspense writing just gets better and better. It wasn’t until midway through the book that I even started guessing at the ended, and when I got there, I still had surprising waiting for me!

I received a copy for review via NetGalley and am giving my honest opinions in this review.

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This book was stunning! A novel of the Cold War, told through the interwoven stories of a mother and daughter. This book was riveting!

I love the repetition of the phrase "Duc in altum," which is "put out into the deep," and was a phrase that Ingrid teaches her daughter. She teaches her, within the stifling framework of Cold War Russia, to press into life, to do the hard things, and to do what is right. Because of the significance of this phrase throughout the book, I was also delighted when I actually saw the cover to realize that the theme of water was carried into the artwork.

I stay away from thrillers as a rule, but this one was just my speed. It was suspenseful and exciting!

I received a complimentary #earc from #netgalley but all enthusiastic opinions are entirely my own.

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This was my first book by Katherine Reay and I will most certainly be enjoying more! I’ve read a fair amount of historical fiction - and Christian-published historical fiction at that - and I feel confident saying that this is one of the best. It boasts good writing, strong characters, and historical elements to strengthen the context along with vibrant fictionalized components that enrich the overall story.

I was initially intrigued by the setting and timeframe of Soviet Russia during the Cold War era as it is one I have not read much historical fiction on. Reading this book spurred me on to be immensely grateful for the incredible freedoms I am blessed with as an American in this time.

Reay did an incredible job of building the two main characters, giving them each a unique voice and perspective. The control, mind games, and oppression of the Soviet was so well portrayed. Along with the power of sacrifice and risk for what you believe in and ultimately love; I FELT it as the reader.

The story carried me along, moved at a good pace, and concluded with a satisfying and hopeful ending. I enjoyed a few curves and surprised that were weaved in, and the thread of romance. Though the romantic relationships are not the chief focus of the story, they helped to add depth and feeling to the characters and fullness to the story.

Content: No language. A couple kisses & married sex vaguely alluded to, no description.

Thank you to HarperMuse and NetGalley for the complimentary ebook in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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#AShadowinMoscow #NetGalle

A story set during the cold war. It is told in dual time periods. The story is about two female spies both living in Moscow Russia. The KGB are always watching and with cameras and bugs, they miss very little.
This book captured my attention from the beginning and the intense situations had my stomach in knots. I connected with both Ingrid and Anya. Katherine Reay is good at writing details, this was well researched.

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I have not been as drawn to historical fiction lately, but I always love a book by Katherine Reay, and this one was no exception. The dual timeline was compelling and when the two timelines intersected, even though I could see it coming, it was almost like a controlled explosion. I loved the twists and turns of the story and Reay's take on history and how the characters reacted and felt to the Cold War and all its implications. Having most of the book set in Moscow really made it different than most historical fiction books I have read, and it seemed to me that everything was true to life (although my experience of foreign cultures is admittedly limited). I read this entire book in two days, I could not put it down. Cannot wait for her next one.

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This is an absolutely mesmerizing story! Women who silently supported freedom by spying on the Nazis and the USSR government. Unsung heroines who remained in the shadows. Ingrid AKA Inga, who worked against the Nazis. Anya, who has a taste of freedom while attending college in the U.S. and later on finds Russian life intolerable. The story pulled me in fast and I sympathized with the characters so completely. An incredible amount of research has to have gone into the story to make it so realistic.

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A Shadow in Moscow is a fascinating, compelling story of two women in the Cold War era of Soviet Russia who become disillusioned with their country's repressive regime and are recruited as spies for the West. The narrative alternates between their voices: Anya, a young woman sent by the Soviet government to college in 1980s America, and Ingrid, a young woman living in Vienna during the World War II Russian occupation, who marries a Russian soldier and then moves to Moscow with him.

Reay does an excellent job balancing various historical time periods, cultural norms, pivotal conversations, and interactions to bring each woman to life. Initially, I sometimes got lost as to which woman was the focus of a chapter. However, this concern disappeared as I got to know each character and became engrossed in her story.

The convergence of the two women's stories towards the end of the book was probably a bit far-fetched, but I still loved and totally bought into this plot twist. It was a catalyst for the subsequent climatic events, so was absolutely necessary.

The actual historical events of each era were seamlessly woven into the main narrative, providing a perfect backdrop for the story events. I grew up during the Cold War, so I have a child's memory that the possibility of nuclear war was a constant backdrop to daily life. This book taught me so much about historical events that had been whispers and fragments of conversations from my childhood.

At times all the conversations between each woman and her various handlers slowed the pace. However, in retrospect, these conversations were integral to understanding what it was like to be a spy: long periods of planning and waiting, then heart-stopping moments of terror. The conversations also provided the opportunity to muse on important themes like differences in the notions of freedom between Soviets and Americans, the significance of even small acts of defiance, individuality vs the collective and the necessity for sacrifice. There were many times I felt compelled to write down a pithy opinion or read aloud a beautifully written section to someone, just because the comments were so insightful.

If you are interested in the Cold War era, I highly recommend this book.


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Excellent! I loved A Shadow in Moscow by Author Katherine Reay! I was captivated from the start. From Anya Kadinova attending college in the United States in 1984, being exposed to other ideas and freedoms before returning to a job back home in Russia after graduation, to Ingrid Bauer who lost everyone she loved at the end of WWII, lives in Vienna, and in 1954 she marries a gentle Soviet man and moves to Moscow, deep within the Soviet Union's Totalitarian regime, I absolutely could not stop turning pages! I especially enjoyed turning pages to see if these two women's stories connected at all.

There is depth here. Depth of ideas, trying to make the world a better place, love, sacrifice, betrayals, propoganda, freedom, and choices.

The difference in freedom alone is staggering. In America, Anya could speak freely, debate ideas, and read what she wanted to, to her homeland where she has far fewer choices. These lessons remain with her.

She resonated with the idea that "we all have an 'end point', a point past which our consciences won't allow us to venture", based on Thomas More's philosophy.

In Moscow, Ingrid's home was frequently bugged by the KGB, and they were everywhere and seemed to know everything about everyone. She wants to make the world a better place for her daughter and starts working with MI6 to try to end the cold war. I love spy stories!

Ingrid shares her mother's phrase 'duc in altum' (into the deep) with her young daughter, teaching her daughter that she can find freedom and choices within those constraints.

I highly recommend this engaging story! Thank you to the publisher and net galley for allowing me to read an early copy of A Shadow in Moscow. All opinions are my own.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the compelling story Katherine Reay tells in A Shadow in Moscow. Both parts of the dual time line are well paced and very interesting. And the way they merge together in the end is flawless and captivating. I wouldn’t normally pick up a “spy story” but I loved the author’s The London House and the beautiful cover and title of this new book lured me in. So well written, researched and all around enjoyable I look forward to more.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for the opportunity to read for my honest review.

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Stunning. Gripping. Powerful. This novel had all of the intrigue and spy games that you want in a Cold War thriller mixed with the heartfelt and poignant relationships found in the best fiction. I was blown away by Reay’s masterful weaving of Ingrid and Anya’s storylines throughout the decades as the Iron Curtain slowly crushed their lives but not their spirits. I was captivated from the very beginning and couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it ended. We often associate men with the Cold War, but this book makes it clear that there were countless numbers of strong women who were the true unnamed heroes behind the scenes.

I especially loved the mother-daughter storyline as someone who was very close with my own mother. The power of a mother’s love cannot be broken, and I loved how Reay writes this special yet complex relationship full of misunderstandings and deep love. It was real and believable.

I love reading books about the Cold War time period and especially enjoyed the 1980s setting of this book. Usually Cold War books focus on the earlier time periods, but with the sweeping nature of this book, all of the Cold War time is described in wonderful detail.

Anyone who loves historical fiction about strong women in trying times will like this book.

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I have loved every Katherine Reay book that I’ve read. This was a fascinating story of 2 women who were spies in different generations and of the KGB and what life was like. Two very strong women, taking risks, being innovative and resourceful. A horrible time in history showing the resilience of the human spirit.

Thank you for the opportunity to read an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I love a good spy story and this one definitely qualifies! A riveting page-turner, Cold War era female spies!

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Wow was this good! An excellent cold-war, spy-centered thriller that I didn't know how much I was craving until I began this story. This gorgeously written historical thriller was amazing. It was absolutely lovely! Think Kate Quinn or Michelle Moran - that level of quality of writing. There are so many WWII books in the market nowadays, but this one stands out from the rest because of its unique setting (cold war) and the wonderful atmosphere of the novel. Every phrase was poetry, and the descriptions were so vivid it was like I was there. It short, it was unputdownable.
This book was everything I had been wanting and missing. Excellent dialogue, solid world building, an independent, likeable heroine. I just savored each page and was very sorry when it ended. I will definitely be buying this book in print! TEN STARS!

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A Shadow in Moscow is a thrilling, heartstopping story that grabbed me from the first pages and never let go! Told in two separate story lines, first by Ingrid starting in the 1930's, and then by Anya in the 1980's, it's a story of love and self sacrifice, hidden within secrets and lies. Real historical events are deftly woven in further cementing the reality of the story. It's as spine chilling and suspenseful as The Red Sparrow, with an ending that will surprise you!

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harper Muse for my copy of A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay in exchange for an honest review. It publishes June 13, 2023.
As usual, Katherine Reay writes another fantastic novel! I could not stop thinking about this one and kept coming back to it. It may be my favorite of hers so far! This book had my on the edge of my seat unlike some other cold war novels I've read.
I loved the overall theme of hope threaded throughout this and the epilogue was definitely perfect!

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Wow, what a fast-paced, engaging read, from beginning to end! I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction book. And reading it over Memorial Day weekend, it brought new meaning to the freedoms we Americans enjoy, compared to the spy/communist reality for those living in Russia. Well done, Reay, on all your research to pull this book together!

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I have loved every Katherine Reay book that I’ve read. This was a fascinating story of two very strong women,during a horrible time in history.
I enjoyed how strong these women were and thought it was interesting to read about how they decided where to put their loyalty and the reasoning behind their decisions.
Totally recommend this book.

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A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay

This is a book that will stay with me. Two stories interwoven and connected in such a beautiful way.

Two female POVs told in different timelines each as tremulous as the last. This is a story of hope and doing all you can to shape the world into something better. There is love and sacrifice and making peace with yourself. Truly a fantastic story and would make an excellent book club pick!

Read for the
🪆Undercover spy vibes
🪆Beautiful familial relationships
🪆Breathtaking prose
🪆Satisfying ending
🪆Edge of your seat action

Content: death of loved ones

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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****Publishing June 13, 2023*****

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This dual-timeline book is a highly detailed account of Anya’s participation in the Foreign Student Initiative experience as a college student during the Cold War at Georgetown University and the career path she chose after graduation in Moscow and Ingrid’s experience as a spy in the 1940’s in Vienna, Austria and then moving to Moscow in the 1950’s. Their experiences showed the lengths they had to go to protect themselves and survive with the daily “games” they had to play. Can you imagine not being able to trust anyone and every decision and movement could expose you? One bad decision and that could be it! Can Anya and Ingrid keep under the radar and make good decisions or will they succumb to their own mistakes?

If you love Historical Fiction, then this is a must read! You can tell this author did an incredible amount of research on this well-told and fascinating story. I love how the author gives us a detailed perspective from Anya and Ingrid’s points of view on their work, their lives and the daily risks they take! It emphasizes how risky and dangerous their work was. This book would make a great T.V. mini-series.

Thanks to Harper Muse, I was provided an ARC of A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Two young women in two different eras face a choice: to take a dangerous step into the world of spies and betrayal and stand up for what they believe in, or to stay safe and play by the rules. Simultaneously, we follow two stories: in 1944 Vienna, Ingrid's parents are killed by the Nazis for their work in espionage and resistance. It isn't until years later that she finds meaning again in her love for Leo, a Soviet official. They move to Moscow and only then does she realize the danger of living a life under constant scrutiny. Then, in 1980, we meet Anya as she finishes her foreign exchange program in Washington, DC. The faces the choice to go home to Russia to her family and a good job, or to stay in the US with her boyfriend Scott, and perhaps never see her homeland or loved ones again. She chooses to go home, but now that she's been exposed to other ideas and options, home isn't all she remembered it being.

Ultimately the book is about the making of a spy--two origin stories that delve into the motivations rather than the detailed mechanics of what spies do. It also explores the philosophy and psychology of espionage in general. The author unspools the yarn slowly, at just the right pace to hold the tension and the reader's attention. The imagery is phenomenal and the feelings are very human and very deep--I could see it playing before my eyes like a movie. There are so many parallels between the two women's stories, showing yet again how history can repeat itself. I would have appreciated it if the book were less obviously ideologically bent toward the glories of the US (in opposition to the evils of the Soviet Union), and showed that there are nuances and neither side is wholly good or wholly evil. But really, the two stories kept me holding my breath and turning the pages until the explosive ending.

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Beautiful prose, and wonderfully written. This book carried me back and forth from World War II at the end of the war into Moscow during the cold war with the Soviet Union.. The transitions from the time lines were seamless and I turned the pages effortlessly until the very end. In fact, I had a book hangover for days. I have picked A Shadow In Moscow as my next book club pick. If you are looking for a historical book about the cold war, spies, espionage and romance, then this book is for you.
This book is probably one of the best books I have read this year. I truly enjoyed it.
*I was given a copy of this book by Harper Muse and this is my honest opinion.

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I have read many of Katherine’s books and enjoyed them all. It was almost ten years ago when I read her Jane Austen retellings and just a couple of years ago The London House, which I still remember well. So, I knew I was in for a great read …. I just did not realise how great a read this would turn out to be.

‘She laid down her pride and truly became the shadow she needed to become.’

A Shadow in Moscow is an incredible Cold War novel that is so sophisticated and compelling that I highly recommend it. Katherine masterfully interweaves two stories - one of Ingrid starting in Vienna in 1954 and then Anya in Washington 1980 and the convergence of the two plots is mindblowing. I love the two viewpoints, the two eras, the two contrasting lives. There is just so much to this tale.

“… you said you wanted to make the world a better place for her. So did I. Our ideas of what that world should be differed. They still do.”

This is a masterclass on how to write a spy novel. The richness of history interwoven through fact and fiction is seamless. To be in the mind and understand what these people went through is truly eye opening. Katherine so eloquently opens readers eyes to both the pros and cons of Soviet politics and philosophy in a way that was most compelling from the conclusion of WWII, to the Cold War and living behind the Iron Curtain. This is a fresh take on post war/Cold War spy novels - feminine at its heart with two incredibly strong female protagonists and their determination to build a better world.

‘Nothing feels right here. Some people believe we are closer than ever to the utopian and global Marxist-Leninist world dream, but we aren’t. It’s slipping away because it was never attainable’

As the story draws to its tension filled ending you will be on the edge of your reading seat in this absorbing Cold War tale. Memorable characters detailing incredible tales of bravery and espionage that lead to shattering conclusions. Everything about this book is well done. As I stated at the outset, I have been a fan of Katherine’s books for many years, but this one … well I think it is top of the list. It is that good! Be sure not to miss it.

“That’s the pain of the Cold War, Ingrid. Cold can burn low for a long, long time, never reaching the heat necessary to burn out . . .”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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