A Shadow in Moscow
A Cold War Novel
by Katherine Reay
Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Lisa Flanagan
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jul 2023
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.
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.
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.
“In her nail-biting latest . . . Reay builds an immersive world behind the Iron Curtain, full of competing loyalties and a constant, chilling sense of paranoia. Readers will be enthralled.”—Publishers Weekly
“Rich with fascinating historical detail and unforgettable characters, A Shadow in Moscow deftly explores two female spies who will risk everything to change the world. Katherine Reay eloquently portrays the incredible contributions of women in history, the extraordinary depths of love, and, perhaps most important, the true cost of freedom in her latest stunning page-turner. A story that will leave readers examining what they hold most dear and positively brimming with hope, this is an important, timely tour de force—and a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered if just one person can make a difference.”—Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Veil
“Katherine Reay’s latest has it all—intrigue, twists and turns, acts of bravery and sacrificial love, and an unforgettable Cold War setting with clever, daring women at the helm. An expertly delivered page-turner by a true master of the craft!”—Susan Meissner, USA TODAY bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things
“This riveting story of two female spies operating in Moscow during different eras has everything you could ever want in a novel—suspense, intrigue, compelling characters, exotic settings, deep insight, and gasp-inducing plot twists. A word of advice: clear your calendar before opening A Shadow in Moscow. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop until you regretfully reach the last page of Katherine Reay’s masterfully written novel.”—Marie Bostwick, New York Times bestselling author of Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly
|DURATION||11 Hours, 43 Minutes, 54 Seconds|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 122 members
5 stars! 5 Stars! Admittedly, I felt something when I realized 1985 was historical fiction now, but this novel was much more than I expected.
I initially requested the ARC because I’ve read a bit of WWII historical fiction and this seemed a bit different, I was absolutely drawn into Anya and Ingrid’s story and stayed up way past bedtime to come to the conclusion.
So in this novel, the reader is introduce to “Life in the USSR” in the 1980’s. Anya has just returned from a foreign student exchange and graduated from an American university with a degree in engineering. Although offered an opportunity to stay in the US with her vey dedicated boyfriend, and possibly offered an opportunity with US intelligence, she hopped on a plane back to Moscow. She knew she couldn’t disappoint her family. She’s headed to be.a missile/defense systems engineer. Her friends are all embarking on assigned careers, living in assigned housing and eating what they can with the ration cards they have. No one seems particularly happy or unhappy, but they have each other. Until one day they don’t. Her best friend is killed and something in her breaks, and she embarks on a journey into the world of espionage and intelligence. Anya is good at her job, but she’s too impatient and often tries to rush things along. At one point she finds herself on a list of informants and must make some hard choices rapidly. She’s saved, in the end, by her steadfast mother who has many secrets and surprises of her own.
I think this book is really an excellent read, it captures the Cold War environment that I recall from my youth and the author provides fascinating bits of information that was new to me. In addition, Anya repeatedly refines her “why” which gives the reader many insights on the concept of freedom - not from a flag waving jingoistic perspective but really from the core of her being,
This would be a fantastic book club read, I found myself describing chapters to friends and encouraging them to read it when it comes out.
This was stunning. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this beautiful story. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
Da. Da. Da. A million times da. Since reading Red Sparrow years ago I have been waiting for another historical fiction Russian spy book to grab my attention like the KGB conducting an interrogation. This book absolutely did just that. The plot was enthralling long before all the pieces came together. I am truly sad that this story is over for me but highly recommend any historical fiction lover to pick it up and introduce yourself to two INCREDIBLE female leads, Ingrid and Anya, and hear their stories that likely reflect so much of what so many never got to tell for themselves.
A huge thanks to @netgalley and @harpermuse for allowing me to relish in the bravery and brilliance of Anya and Ingrid.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and HarperVia for my copy of A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanagan in exchange for an honest review. It publishes June 13, 2023.
First off, the narration of this book is very well-done. I felt like everything was well-read and pronounced! I would listen to anything by these narrators.
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!
This is an absolutely fabulous story! It is very well written with fascinating characters that have such depth that I felt like they were my friends . They come alive throughout the story! I could not stop listening!! The setting was so well described that I felt like I was walking the streets with the Ingrid and Anya. The narrator did a superb job in voicing the various characters - I never wondered who was talking or felt any conflict in the characterization.
I received a paperback copy from the publisher, but when I saw the narrators on the audiobook, I knew I needed to listen to this one. Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanagan are OUTSTANDING and really brought this book to life! 🙌🏻
A Shadow in Moscow is a gorgeous, dual timeline, double POV, historical fiction novel about two badass women living decades apart but with some parallels.
1950s Vienna - WWII: following the death of her family, Ingrid marries a Soviet Embassy worker who secretly works for the KGB. But after the birth of her daughter, Ingrid has some secrets of her own... What do you do when you're married to the enemy and what he stands for is the antithesis of what YOU stand for?
1980s US - Cold War: Anya is participating in the Foreign Studies Initiative at Georgetown. She loves her time in D.C., makes friends, and falls in love with an American man. So when it's time to go back to Moscow, Anya does so with a new perspective, and realized how oppressive the Soviet Union really is. When the KGB kills her best friend, Anya decides to work as a spy, doing what she can to help end the 1980s arms race.
Both women are strong, courageous, and inspirational. And while I loved the way the author wove these two seperate but connected stories, Anya's story resonated with me more. Her story was such a stark reminder of what it means to be free, and the things we take for granted. The part that I keep thinking about is the cost of knowledge. The knowledge that she obtains while in DC came with such great cost. And I really appreciate this angle.
All in all this was a beautiful historical fiction with a little bit of everything. War, spies, family, danger, high stakes, love... Just a solid book through and though. Highly recommend, especially in audiobook format. My review will be posted to my Instagram in the coming days.
Thank you Harper Muse for my gifted ALC. ❤️
This novel is EVERYTHING and I absolutely LOVED it. If you disagree, I’d need to know exactly why. Any historical fiction has liberties taken when written; that would be the fiction part…if that bothers you be sure to read/listen to the author’s note in the end. Ms. Reay addresses what parts were fiction and fact and why. She also discusses her research and time developing a novel in the midst of the Cold War Soviet Union. The audiobook version is excellent. Both narrators brought every detail of Ingrid and Anya to life through tone, inflection, and accent.
The novel switches between two timelines in two very different worlds. Vienna, Austria in the midst of World War II begins Ingrid’s story and Washington, D.C. in the 1980s begins Anya’s story. Both women find themselves in conflicting situations between faith to their country and family and the desperate desire to create a better world.
Ingrid’s story is very slowly built over time, this is done intentionally as part of her character development. Upon the death of both of her parents, who were secretly working with the British during Nazi controlled Austria, Ingrid finds herself alone and without a rudder. Listlessly she marries Leo who she believes is a soft-hearted embassy worker; he is not. Upon moving to Moscow, she realizes how deep in the KGB her husband is and his reasons for marrying her are far from what she thought. This leads Ingrid to contact someone from her past and begin her incredibly important work for MI6. Her story follows the historical realities of misogyny and sexism, as who would ever expect the greatest spy in the Cold War was a “housewife”.
Anya’s story was more difficult for me, progressing incredibly quickly with all the angst and impetuousness of youth. Though I found this tedious, it was also incredibly important to her character development. Who but the youth could want changes now, in the present, and at that very moment. Anya has also been heavily impacted by her time studying in America at Georgetown. My favorite realization Anya comes to about America is underneath the colorful consumer culture the real heartbeat of the country is inherent personal rights and liberties. This initiates a great change in how she views her native country and the future she wants.
This is NOT another spy novel set in the Cold War, those belong to male authors like Tom Clancy. This novel is a feminist embrace of the work of real women who were undervalued and continue to be underrepresented in history. Their love, faith, anxiety, family and a myriad of other emotions that evoke criticism from male counterparts are the exact reasons they were far more successful as spies and revolutionaries. Well done Ms. Reay! You have successfully written a novel with two incredibly strong female protagonists, their passion and purpose for creating a better world for future generations was never deterred.
Wow! I love hearing about the resistance of people during WWII and the cold war! Who doesn't love a good spy story where the good guys are making a difference? But I did not see the twist coming near the end and it just made the story SOOOO much better but also more sad. If they had all be able to speak freely and able to tell the truth so much heartache and strife would have been avoided! I can't wait to read another book by Katherine Reay!
I love historical fiction and this book is unlike anything I have read recently. It hooked me from the beginning and didn’t let go.
This book is about the Cold War and goes back and forth between Vienna in 1954 and Moscow in 1980.
We get to know Ingrid Bauer, who after losing her family at the end of WWII, married a Soviet embassy worker. As she begins to see that things are not what they seem, she reaches out to Britain and begins passing information to Mi6. Not only was this incredibly risky, it wasn’t common for women to be doing this during this time. Add to it her living in the Soviet Union and the risk was even higher.
We also get to know Anna Kadinova. She was in the United States via the Foreign Studies Initiative which a strict directive that at its completion she would return to the Soviet Union. Once back, she begins to see things that do not add up. Then the KGB murders her best friend and she is determined to do whatever she can. She begins passing into to the CIA, at very great risk to herself and those she is closest to.
I was very young during the Cold War and this novel helps me understand so many things about it, about the efforts of the different agencies to help and stop the Cold War.
Ingrid and Anna are two strong women driven by the need to answers and to understand. What follows is a story that keeps me engrossed the entire time.
As with all dual-timeline stories, the past and the present collide and I still remember my jaw dropping when I put the pieces together. Katherine Reay wrote and incredible story and this just might become my favorite book by her. I loved everything about it. The mystery, the intrigue, the history, the espionage.
If you like historical fiction and want to read about a time period not often explored in the genre, I highly recommend this one.
Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanagan are quickly becoming my favorite narrating duo. Their voices and talents complement each other and do an excellent job brining this story and the characters to life.
Thank you to Harper Muse for the ALC. All views are my honest opinion.
Loved this book! I loved the dynamic between characters stories and how it woven together. This is a fabulous historical fiction pick for any reader! Thank you #netgalley for the #arc!
In this dual timeline slow=burning thriller, the stories of Ingrid and Anya are told. In 1954, Ingrid Bauer finds herself married to a Russian man and living in Moscow. She is told to keep her British mother a secret and begins to suspect that her husband is working for the KGB.
In 1982, Anya has graduated from Georgetown and is immediately forced to return to her home in Soviet Russia, where she is expected to be a loyal comrade in the arms race against the United States. Then her best friend is killed, and it may have been by her own government.
The first twenty percent or so of this intriguing spy thriller is a bit of a slow burn, but as suspense builds it becomes more and more captivating. In both timelines, the innermost thoughts of both women indicate love, loss, and the decision to make tough choices. The difficult, dangerous, harrowing life of a spy is well described, and the reader learns what it might have been like to live behind the Iron Curtain.
The audiobook narration is done well by Saskia Maareveld and Lisa Flanagan, and both of the women in this story are definitely brought to life. The cast of characters with varying accents was well portrayed.
The ability of the author to delve deep into the innermost thoughts of her characters is admirable.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in U.S. and Russian history.
I really enjoyed this one. It was a tiny bit difficult to follow the stories at first but once I got them figured out I was completely engrossed. I definitely didn’t see it coming how the stories were intertwined and I loved that as well as the ending. This was a very well written book that I highly recommend!
This new historical fiction encompasses so many aspects I love in a book. Spy stories are always fascinating to me and I love reading about strong women making a difference. Having this book set around the Cold War rather than the oft covered WWII was refreshing as well.
The story follows two alternating points of view of female spies in 1954 and 1980 and delves into the complexities of the Soviet Union, loyalty, and fighting for the future you want. I will say that I feel like the synopsis of this book spoils some things, so if the basic premise sounds good to you already, going in blind might be the best option.
The audiobook is very well done. There are different narrators for the two perspectives and I was already a fan of both women’s work so it was so fun to hear them narrate together.
Trigger/content warnings: grief from death of loved ones
The story is set during the Cold War with female spies. It is filled with espionage, danger, family and love. I enjoyed this book so much that I listened to it in one day. The narration was done well too.
Thank you#NetGalley, #HarperMuse, #KatherineReay, #SaskiaMaarleveld, #LisaFlanagan and # AShadowinMoscow for the advance audiobook for my honest review.
What a beautiful story!! This is my first read by Reay, and I gotta say I’m becoming a fan. Reay did a beautiful job painting this world and the characters in it. Ingrid and Anya are two of the bravest and most courageous women I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. The romance was beautifully written. It’s don’t take away from the deeper meaning behind Ingrid and Anya’s story. If anything it enhances their story, gave more reasoning behind their actions. Excited to pick up another read by Reay.
I really enjoy historical fiction. I’m making more of an effort to read it lately and I’ve been loving it. I read a lot more WW2 than Cold War so this book taught me a lot and allowed me a glimpse into Soviet Russia and what it was like to live there during that time.
🕵️♀️Female Spies in Russia
Secrets, bravery and espionage. This book had it all and hooked me from the first chapter.
Anya was raised by the “perfect” Soviet parents. Their position allows her an opportunity to study abroad in America before going back to fulfill her duties to her country. But allowing a young mind to see the freedoms of the rest of the world was always a risk.
Ingrid was raised in a house of spies/intelligence work and without knowing it, learned how to be the ultimate tool of espionage. Living in danger behind the Iron Curtain she must be constantly be vigilant but she also cannot ignore who she is.
These two brilliant women used their skills to help stop wars and change the balance of powers during the Cold War. Their stories are beautifully woven together on different timelines. I was instantly gripped by this book. The narrators did an incredible job with the accents and characters. I learned so much about Soviet Russia and look forward to reading more.
I love a good dual timeline, especially when I learn a lot while reading it! And add to the fact that it's a Katherine Reay book and I know that I'll be enjoying my reading time immensely!
I was hooked! Didn't want to set it down at all. And lucky for me, I actually had an audiobook that I was listening to. So I didn't have to set it down. I was working away at home prepping for visitors and a graduation party and had my little headphones in and listening away to this riveting book.
From 1954 to 1980, Vienna to Moscow and the USA, there was a lot happening. I've actually read a couple different historical fiction books over the last year or two about the Cold War. It was very interesting to read another one about women being spies and trying to survive and navigate in their lives with all of the mistrust, being watched at every move and so much more.
Ingrid's story was heartbreaking. But her strength was inspiring. I kept cheering for her and hoping that there would be some sort of out for her and her family.
Anya, I just wished she would find a way to stay in the USA and truly feel free and able to live her life to its fullest. But her love for her family and knowing that she would constantly be followed and hunted, she heads home to Moscow. When she sees more of the oppression and controlling of her life, she tries to find her why and reasons to do what she needs to do.
Both of these women were incredible. I absolutely loved how their stories wove together in the end. And all of the other characters were so well written. The little interactions they had that created their spy network was so fascinating. I was holding my breathe at my points in the story. And I'd find myself pausing what I was doing because I was so engrossed in the story.
The two narrators were fabulous! I loved how they brought to life Ingrid and Anya and the rest of the characters and their story! Very moving and captivating!!!
Content: This deals with war, post war, cold war and spies. There are deaths and moments of peril. The author was good at being sensitive to the topic and not being too graphic. I thought it was all written very well. I'd let my teenagers read it. There is no explicit content.
I received a copy of the audiobook through the publisher, Harper Muse, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.
Happy Reading (or listening)!!!
ALL. THE. STARS.
The narration was terrific. The vocal range, the accents, the pacing. It all was seamless. I listened on 1.75x speed and don't feel like I missed out on any emotion.
The story following 2 women--1 in 1950s and 1 in 1980s--and the story only soars because it that. The two timelines wind intricately around each other while crafting these unique worlds that are clearly embedded in unimaginable depths of historic research.
Every character was a draw and made the story magical. The insight into espionage techniques, double agents, and political games were so detailed and yet not overwhelming. The story never really ebbed, but continued to flow and then take off---constantly leaving me racing to listen to more!
One of my all time favorite books is *The Nightingale* by Kristin Hannah, and I can see this one right up there with it! BRAVO!
Overall: 5 stars
I'll tell my students about: alcohol, death, language mental health/trauma, violence
**Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for the free ALC. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Thank you to Harper Muse and to NetGalley for allowing me the chance to listen to the audiobook version of this wonderful book written by Katherine Reay. I absolutely loved this book, and the audio version was extremely well-done. It was easy to follow the two storylines and time frames while listening to Saskia Maarlevid and Lisa Flanagan narrate it. The book held me enthralled from start to finish, and the story itself kept me in 1950's and 1980's Moscow where the storylines are centred Ms. Reay combines real people with fictional people seamlessly. We slipped back and forth from time to time effortlessly. To my mind this is the perfect book. A real, gut-wrenching plot based on spy craft from the Cold War, and two indomitable women who risk their lives every day while trying to fix injustices and protect others. The KGB is portrayed so realistically that it appears to be another character in the book. Ingrid's life was forever changed when she lost two of the most important people in the world to her at the end of WWII. In her quiet and unassuming way, she sets out to change the course of history, and succeeds almost single-handedly in just that task. Anya is a Russian foreign studies student in the US in the early 80's, and she gets a glimpse of what true freedom is, and finds the love of her life while doing so. Both women set out, with no real thought for their own safety and in complete anonymity to try to rescue their beloved country from the clutches of KGB tyranny. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read gritty, true-to-life spy stories. This book is the ideal novel for just that. Step into the deep shadows with Ingrid and Anya, and stay one step ahead of the encroaching tyranny behind the Iron Curtain.
Magnificent! A Shadow in Moscow captured my attention from the first page to the last, even though I was initially a bit put off by the two time frames: the 1940s and the 1980s. Surely, I thought, the author could have come up with something more current than the 1980s. But the story lines and the two female protagonists were both so perfectly developed that I quickly stopped resisting my immersion into their lives. The novel concerns two women, years apart, fighting secretly to destroy the corrupt power of the Soviet Union. Katherine Reay provides exquisite detail regarding the daily lives of both Ingrid and Anya, allowing the reader to feel the suffocating weight of the Soviet state as it demanded total control over its citizens. The author’s exhaustive research into the times covered never overshadows the story, but the reader/listener can’t help but finish the book better informed and in awe of the bravery certain individuals were able to muster. How sad that the book came out in 2023, at a time when the “liberated” Russian people have once again given up self-determination in favor of vicious totalitarian control. I listened to the audio version of this wonderful book, and while the narration was excellent, I was saddened by small mispronunciations that are easily avoided. In Russian, a woman’s head scarf is, indeed, pronounced BaBUSHka, but the word for grandmother is accented/stressed on the first syllable, just as it is in English. But I guess we all cannot be polyglots like the admirable heroines of A Shadow in Moscow.
I read this book before I listened to the audio version and let me just say that the two narrators nailed it!! Beautifully done.
And now for the story...
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.
This is my first novel by Katherine Reay and it will not be my last. As a fan of historical fiction, I was initially intrigued when I saw A Shadow in Moscow announced. I read a lot of WWII fiction, but haven’t found a lot of fiction that takes place during the Cold War. This was so eye opening and definitely a page turner of a read.
I loved the two storylines, each following a female spy in the Soviet Union during the Cold War and their reasons for risking everything to go against the government and world they were trapped in. There were some great twists, some I had hoped would happen, and just so many edge-of-my-seat and heart pounding moments; I did not want to stop reading.
I loved the questions this book had me asking. The sacrifices it highlights. The way humanity is represented. It was definitely a standout for me in this genre and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I read a mix of both the audiobook and physical copy of this novel (listening to the entire audiobook, the performance was so well done). I recommend both formats. The narrators were excellent with their emotions and accents, making it easy to differentiate who and what. I found it easy to listen to and follow along. Thank you Netgalley, the publisher, and Uplit read tours for the complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I absolutely loved this historical fiction audiobook by @katherinereay💙 The story follows two female spies that are in Russia during the Cold War. The book is so well researched and the characters are well developed. I was pulled in from the beginning and did not want to stop listening. The narration was superb. This book is out now and I highly recommend it!
Thank you @harpermusebooks and @netgalley for allowing me to listen to this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.
I was blown away by this powerful historical account of two female spies at the height of the Cold War. A dual timeline romantic suspense that truly had me engrossed from start to finish.
I found myself rereading to take in so many of the quotes, thoughts, and reflections. I was immensely proud to be an American and gained a better insight into some of the communistic ideologies that blinded so many.
Both women, Ingrid and Anya, found their line in the sand moment and made the decision to fight for humanity and freedom. The risks they both took are not even fathomable and yet, Katherine Reay provides a beautiful tribute to how spies might have pulled it off.
There are twists and turns all along the way that will keep you turning the pages, holding your breath, and wiping tears from your eyes. There is some romance, but more so, different looks at deep, genuine, sacrificial love.
I had the amazing privilege of both reading the book as well as listening to the audiobook. This brought even more depth to the characters with accents and personalities.
I received complimentary copies from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.
I am a self-proclaimed lover of historical fiction and also a big fan of strong female characters, so A Shadow In Moscow was right up my alley! I was super excited to read a story about not one, but two female spies living behind the iron curtain. Let me just say that this book did not disappoint!
Be warned. This will likely be more of an incoherent ramble than a formal review, but I LOVED this book!
First of all, our two main characters were very believable. Their motivations for spying were realistic and the way that the pressures of the job affected them were realistic too. I also loved that they aren't molly sues who are naturally perfect at everything! We see impulsivity and recklessness. We see extreme caution and fear. We see two women who are very human.
I also felt like the plot really kept me engaged and at the edge of my seat! I could not wait to see what happened next and honestly, I finished the entire audiobook in one day because I just could not put it down. The pacing was masterful.
I will say that the surprise reveal of the story was fairly apparent to me at about the 50% mark of the story, but in this case knowing the twist didn't ruin anything. You don't know how the characters will react to what happens or what the repercussions of it will be, so it kept things quite interesting.
Also, an odd little note, but I am a professional chef, so I really appreciated the food description in this book. I love the way one of the characters thinks of the foods from her former home and how she can no longer safely cook them. I love the description of Russian dishes. It added a level of depth to the story and I'm so glad it was included.
And since I listened to the audiobook, I want to note that the narrator did a fantastic job as well! Her voice really fit the characters and I was able to follow the narrative easily.
All in all, if you are a fan of historical fiction, strong female characters, and post-WW2 politics, I feel confident that you will like this book.
*Thank you to Netgalley, Katherine Reay, and Harper Muse for the Audio-ARC of this book. This in no way affects the objectivity of my review.
This was an amazing story which kept my attention and interest . I don’t usually listen to audiobooks unless I go on a road trip but this book was fascinating despite not being son a road trip . It follows two different women at different time periods. Lies, spies , intrigue, suspense , murder , theft , the CIA , MI6, and the KGB all make their appearance in this book . The book has many twists and turns with danger in every chapter .
The narrator was incredible ! I love that she had different voices for different characters.
The only small issue I had is that because the book went back and forth between the two characters it sometimes took a couple of minutes to figure out which character and time period we were in.
There were quite a few twists and turns that shocked me . This was a wonderful read which made me want to study more about both time periods and to read more from
This author .
Thank you to Netgalley for the free download in exchange for an unbiased review.
Thank you to Katherine Reay, Harper Muse, and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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 deep within the Soviet Union's totalitarian regime is what it seems, including her new husband, whom Ingrid suspects works for the KGB. Upon 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--and starts passing along intelligence to MI6, navigating a world of secrets and lies, light and shadow.
Washington, DC, 1980
Part of the Foreign Studies Initiative, Anya Kadinova finishes her degree at Georgetown University and boards her 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 Soviet regime at the height of the Cold War. When the KGB murders her bestfriend, Anya picks sides and contacts the CIA. Working in a military research lab, Anya passes along Soviet military plans and schematics in an effort to end the 1980s arms race.
I could feel the amount of research and time the author has put in. The book is written in alternating point of views and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I love books based on wars, the role of women in those wars because women have always been underestimate and in many places we still are.
Even we as children fail to understand our mothers outside that specific role.
When I requested the ARC I had no idea what I was getting into but it surpassed my expectations.
If you love books based wars and the role of women in those wars, then this book is definitely for you.
I hadn’t read anything by Katherine Reay since her early women’s fiction and romances. I had missed her last novel, The London House, but having read A Shadow in Moscow, it is now on the top of my to-read pile!
I was able to listen to the audiobook version of A Shadow in Moscow, thanks to NetGalley, in exchange for a review. I took a chance on this when I saw Saskia Maarleveld was among the narrators, and I am so glad I did! I was captivated by this story of women spies during the Cold War. It was a terrific listen. So involving, emotional, and well-researched. There were perhaps a few too many coincidences to be entirely realistic, but it was altogether a great story which I listened to compulsively for three days.
I highly recommend this to any fans of well-written, women-centered historical fiction.
What an amazing book! You need to read this book!
What would you do to make the world a better place? What would you be willing to sacrifice? If you enjoy historical fiction, mother/daughter relationships and/or mysteries this book is for you.
The historical basis for this book was World War II in Vienna, the cold war in Russia and ending in the current time. The majority of the book takes place in Moscow, the details of this history were new to me.
The author does an interesting job of making some of the characters well known and others not so much. What you learn about each character is on a “need to know basis”. This adds intrigue to a book that was hard for me to put down.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Muse for an audio-arc in exchange for a voluntary, honest review.
I loved this book! It follows two Russian women in separate POVs through all kinds of drama and intrigue, Russian corruption, American spy secrecy. And of course, there's romance. The writing is gorgeous, quotable, and emotional. Reay wrote so beautifully of the identity struggle, struggling to love Russia as home and yet hating the corruption and politics, and the pain of keeping secrets. I was totally floored by the ending! I didn't see it coming and it was so well done.
Wow! There is so much going on in this story! Spies, intrigue, all kinds of WWII and Cold War stuff I had no idea about, or didn’t really understand because I was too young. I was fascinated and horrified by some of the lengths that the KGB went to because they were scared little rabbits who couldn’t withstand any scrutiny themselves. I found both Ingrid and Anya to be compelling heroines, strong women who stood up for right when their whole world was going left. There are heart pounding escapes, soul crushing moments, flashbacks that filled my eyes with tears of rage and injustice. And yet through it all, these women and others that support them are willing to sacrifice everything for justice and the greater good. There is a strong faith element that tied the timelines together and it’s clear what motivates our heroines and how that resonates when the connection between them is revealed. The audiobook was so well done, with spot on accents and unique voices for important characters. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and was not obligated to provide a positive review.
This is my third read by this author and I think it’s my favorite so far. Told in dual POV and alternating timelines, this story follows two women, Ingrid and Anya, deeply entrenched in Moscow and working as spies for MI6 and the CIA respectively. I found the audio performance to be extraordinarily well done by Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanagan. Both the male and female voices worked out beautifully and I would definitely listen to these narrators again in the future. On to the book review...
While these two women are complimentary foils for each other, their backgrounds are differing, and I enjoyed both timelines and characters immensely. Ingrid was raised in Austria by parents who acted as spies, which got them killed, and though she has a great love for her country, she came to the Soviet Union when she married and reluctantly adopted her new husband’s customs and restrictions. When her daughter is born, Ingrid is compelled to make the world a better place for her future.
In contrast, Anya was raised in the Soviet Union but received special dispensation to study in America and was overwhelmed by all the choices that Americans have the privilege of making for themselves every day from what to eat for lunch to the variety of sweaters available to purchase. When she returns to the Soviet Union, leaving the boy she fell in love with behind, her experiences and the loss of a loved one require her to take action for change in her country.
Ingrid is more practical and methodical in her approach, the perfect social hostess for a rising KGB agent, while Anya is young and brash while working in a military research lab, ready to make changes and frustrated by the way her hands are tied. Though as they both embark upon their careers as spies, there is some frustration with the slow approaches they must take to be safe and able to pass on information without being caught.
There is tension and suspenseful moments in each timeline as both women take calculated risks to find the hope of a better future. Recommended to historical readers interested in espionage and/or the Cold War.
Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Muse for a copy provided for an honest review.
This was such a fun listen/read. Well developed story, characters, lots of historical details. At times this was thrilling, at times heartbreaking. I loved the analysis of the differences in social, economic and cultural mind sets between east and west.
this easily 4 stars from me, maybe 4.5. I always enjoy a good spy story, well this was a very pleasant find and I highly recommend.
This historical fiction book was fantastic! I don’t want to give too much away but I was hooked from the beginning with a plot twist and a story filled with love, bravery, and hope. The story was told in multiple viewpoints with two different narrators about two courageous female spies during the Cold War in Moscow. Highly recommend this one if you enjoy books about spies, unforgettable characters, plot twists and more!
What's better than your standard spy novel? A women-led, intergenerational, multi-country spy novel! I loved the way this book wove together true historical facts and a touching family story. The book spans decades of time and slowly weaves together the stories of Ingrid and Anya, each trying to make the world a better place in their own ways. It all builds to a thrilling and tension-filled ending. Highly recommend!
A Shadow in Moscow is one of my new favorite historical fiction novels. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop listening.
The novel follows two women who live in Moscow during two different time periods. One is after WW2 ends and the other is during the Cold War.
When Ingrid looses everyone she knows after WW2, she meets and marries a Soviet man she has come to love. When he finds out that she is part British the love fades and their marriage becomes cold. Her life is much different in Moscow and she has less freedom than she is used to. Not agreeing with the ideology her husband and his fellow KGB friends embrace, she decided to use her lack of importance to gather information to share with MI6. She becomes the overlooked quiet hostess for KGB gatherings.
Anya is from Moscow and spent time in DC as a fellowship student, but must return to the Soviet Union. While in DC, she fell in love and learned to respect the people and culture. While she missed home, she doesn’t truly fit in at home anymore now that she has experienced the freedoms in the US. A lot of little things add to her dissatisfaction of Soviet life, and then something big happens that convinces her to reach out to the CIA to help fight the oppression in her country.
I loved the title of this book and the strength these two women showed as they quietly helped to combat the KGB. I loved the complexity of patriotism and human rights. One of my favorite parts is when Anya confronts the bias those in her country have against Americans and the bias Americans had against her people. We are not a they or them, we are all individuals with individual thought.
This book was so emotional and suspenseful. I couldn’t stop listening. It made me think about how I view the world and others. It made me wonder what I do with my freedom of thought and how precious it is to safeguard freedoms of speech and education. It doesn’t take someone loud, boisterous or flashy to make a difference. Sometimes even someone who fades into the background can make a huge impact.
I didn't know historical fiction without actual romance, in it could be so good. Yes, there are two love stories in the background of the novel, but not romance. And it surprised me to discover I was more than okay with it. The history and struggles of the Cold War, with in-depth truths of all humans who respect freedom and don't confuse it for socialism, get rolled up in this heroic tale of two female spies. It's a fantastic nod to the brave female spies of the free world. The story will hook you in from the start and make you sad and happy along the way. It will remind you of what true freedom is and why it should exist. In the end, the author details what parts of her story came from history and what portions were fact-based but fabricated, making this an excellent historical fiction read. One that won't leave you confused or misinformed. Granted, common sense is still needed to flush the fiction out, but kudos to the author for helping. What I liked most about this book is the twist that eventually unfolds. But I'm not a spoiler. You'll have to read it to find out. I listened to the audiobook, and the narration is hands down perfect. I would definitely listen to more audio using the narrator on this. -I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
What an amazing story! I have to be honest and say that the first half was a little slow. But I became very connected with the two main female characters and by the second half, I couldn't put it down. So much so that I lost sleep to finish but it was all worth it. Even after I finished, my heart pounding did not stop from the excitement and memorable scenes and the twist I didn't expect. The narrators, Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanaga, were incredible. I thought the accents were spot on and performing surrounding characters including voicing male characters, they sounded great.
Huge thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this advanced copy of the audiobook. #netgalley #AShadowinMoscow
Anya is a student at Georgetown University. She is sent by Russia under the Foreign Studies Initiative. When she graduates, she must leave the man she loves and begin her career in Russia. Life begins to deteriorate for Anya when her best friend is killed by the KGB. She reaches out to a contact from her Georgetown days and this begins her life as an informant to the CIA.
I don’t think I have ever read a novel that begins in college. Most operatives are a bit older and established in life. Anya is just a young girl but she faces so many challenges. As she grows older, her eyes are opened by many things and she refuses to take it lying down.
I have not had a Cold War novel in quite a while. This book hit all the marks! The intrigue, the characters, the mystery and the chase are worthy of an award! I also enjoyed learning about some of the rules and regulations in Russia. Plus, the way people lived within the constraints of the KGB was very fascinating.
The narrators of this tale are Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanagan. They are a fabulous tag team and just did an excellent job. I have listened to several other books by each of these narrators and they are pros!
Need a fabulous, Cold War thriller…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
I have been very into spy thrillers and espionage books with female leads—though set in modern times. Historical fiction is not my preferred genre but this audiobook was a featured title and sounded interesting. It ticked 2/3 of what I have been drawn to lately and I decided to give it a chance.
I am so glad that I did! I live for dual timeline book—even better when the timelines are far enough apart to have multi pov and that leads to intersecting storylines—which A Shadow in Moscow gave me!
The narration was done well—this was my first book with both of these narrators and listening to them was pleasing to the ears.
I’ve never read a Cold War novel before—prior to this the most historical spy/espionage read was set in the early aughts—now I need more and lucky for me Katherine Reay has more of this time on the way!
Overall I really loved the novel A Shadow in Moscow. However, as an audiobook I struggled to put the pieces together of who was who because it is very character heavy. Once I was able to figure out the puzzle, the slow flowed and I felt the narrator did a great job.
Thank you Harper Muse for access to this ALC.
A Shadow in Moscow
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 & the CIA's newest Moscow recruit.......
A Fantastic book about the brave Female Spies who risked everything to bring the Soviet regime down.
It was on dual timelines. Both characters were great & so were their stories. I loved everything about it! The romance, the history, the story, & the suspense.
I enjoyed learning about the Female Spies. I can't imagine what it must have been like for them. This was a great Historic fiction & such a fascinating story. This story will pull you in from the beginning to the end. A Wonderful story of Bravery, Sacrifice, & Love. What's not to love?
Thank U Netgallery for giving me the opportunity to read this great book!!
Thank you Katherine Reay for a great story that I really enjoyed. This was the first time for me with this Author. Looking forward to more.
Katherine Reay really did an amazing job with this book. Her historical accuracy woven into an enjoyable fiction that was very absorbing. As always Saskia Maarleveld did an outstanding job as narrator. She is a master. Lisa Flanagan did a good job, but her use of an American accent for a woman raised in Vienna from a British mother and Austrian father did not feel right. This discrepancy was highlighted when another character, Deloris, comments that Ingrid speaks to her baby in English. It is a small detail, but one that does impact the delivery.
With respect specifically to the story, Reay created wonderful characters with important back stories. The details work together well to create three dimensional characters. Anna's pivot point is credible. Ingrid/Inga is perfect. In all, it is a well written story and I look forward to more from Ms Reay.
#AShadowinMoscow by Katherine Reay is excellent! Secrets, spies, KGB, MI6, CIA, from Vienna to Moscow with the USA visited. The Cold War era has never been more exciting to read about. If you enjoy historical fiction, war fiction, Cold War fiction, spy fiction, or women’s literature you will love this book.
The end is found in the beginning. A tale of Russian spies and the danger they lived in to help bring about the end of the cold war. A stunning story that felt so real at times and was hard to put down. I listened to the audiobook thanks to an advance copy from Netgalley and loved the narration. If you are a fan of historical fiction this is one to run out and get.
I just reviewed A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay. #AShadowinMoscow #NetGalley.
This audiobook had my full interest from the very beginning. This was a fascinating tale of two women turned spies during dangerous times. This book begins with the end of WWII and takes you through the Cold War.
When Ingrid hastily marries a Russian and moves to Moscow, she never dreams her life would change so much. She has to keep real identity a secret and she starts to suspect that her new husband is working for the KGB. For years, she chooses to live in a loveless marriage and look past the dangerous workings of the KGB. But after having a child, she can no longer ignore the situation. She offers to work for the MI-6, spying on her husband and his comrades.
Anya has recently graduated from Georgetown and leaves her whirlwind romance behind to return home to Russia. She is determined to do her duty for her country. But when tragedy strikes, Anya finally sees the truth of what’s happening in her country. She too starts spying for the MI-6 and soon finds herself in the middle of a very dangerous situation.
This book was full of war, political intrigue and espionage. Both timelines dealt with love and heartbreak. I found both women’s stories so compelling. These women showed an abundant amount of determination and courage. They both have to make many tough choices. I loved the slow buildup to how the women were connected. Once I knew the connection, the book become even more captivating. The ending blew me away and moved me to tears.
The audiobook was fantastic with two different narrators for both main characters. Both did a beautiful job with the voice inflections, emotions and accents.
Thank you Harper Muse Audio and NetGalley for the ALC. All opinions are my own.
A Shadow In Moscow is one of those rare historical fiction novels that captures your attention and your heart. The story follows two Soviet women during the height of the Cold War. Ingrid is a young woman who rushes into a hasty marriage to a Soviet government employee after losing everything in World War II. Anya is a college student participating in the Soviet Union's Foreign Studies Initiative. The story is told through the alternating perspectives of Ingrid in the 1950’s and Anya in the 1980’s until their stories converge in an unexpected way. Both women have remarkable stories and I love how courageous they are. This book was emotional but also tense and suspenseful. As this story reached its climax I was on the edge of my seat and dying for the answers to all my questions.
One last thing to mention, the audiobook t is narrated by Saskia Marleveeld who is arguably one of the greatest narrators of all time!
A Shadow In Moscow is a great book for fans of Kate Quinn or Beatriz Williams.
This was so good. This follows the lives of two Russian spies during the Cold War. There were so many pieces of these two women’s lives that intertwined seamlessly into one story of heartbreak, desperation, and what measures one may take in order to protect those they love.
This was my first Reay novel, and will not be my last.
Highly recommend if you like historical fiction stories.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
I adored this book! It's a true gem among historical fiction novels that will capture your heart while keeping you engaged and on the edge of your seat from start to finish!
The characters within these pages are not just well-developed; they are complex, intriguing, and deeply human. Ingrid's unwavering resilience is truly inspiring, while Anya's introspection and inner monologues lead readers down a path of profound contemplation about the true essence of freedom - the one that comes from within. Their two stories eventually came together, resulting in an ending that left me utterly speechless. I also liked Scott and his remarkable patience, understanding, and unyielding love for Anya.
The author did an incredible job of bringing the inner worlds of these characters to life. I felt deeply connected to the main characters, especially Anya.
I listened to the audiobook, and narrators Saskia Maarleveld and Lisa Flanagan were wonderful and truly brought this story and its characters to life!
This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story about two incredibly strong women who never wavered in their bravery and determination to carve a brighter path for their children and future generations!
Thank you, NetGalley, the publisher Harper Muse, and author Katherine Reay for the audiobook copy! I received this book for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
What a fabulous book! I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I love historical fiction, especially the Cold War Era, but sometimes it can be a bit cheesy. I was a little worried A Shadow in Moscow would fall into the trap of being low on historical details and significance and heavy on romance. I am very happy to report that that is not the case.
A Shadow in Moscow follows 2 women, decades apart:
Ingrid, a young Viennese woman, lost both of her parents during WWII and rushes to marry a Soviet man. She follows him to Moscow and struggles to adapt to her new homeland.
Almost 30 years later, Anya is a Muscovite, living in Washington, D.C. as part of the Foreign Studies Initiative. Once she has her degree and returns home, Anya realizes that her time away from home has changed who she is.
Both Ingrid and Anya end up joining the underground world of spies giving information to the CIA.
This is such a great read. Ingrid and Anya both are well-developed, the plot is nuanced and captivating, and the historical details are distinctive.
I will definitely be doing a deep-dive into the books that Katherine Reay mentioned in her author’s note.
A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay follows females spies in dual timelines during the First and Second Cold War Eras. This book was so much more than just a spy novel. It was compelling and filled with such heart and intrigue that I just had to know what happened to the characters next. This time period and location aren’t not always an auto read for me. I am so glad I did not allow my preconceived notions to keep me from this beautiful story of courageous women fighting for hope and freedom.
My favorite character was Ingrid. Her story unfolds in such an unexpected way. Her devotion to those she loved was immeasurable, and her journey was one filled with such personal growth.
Thank you NetGalley and Harper Muse Audiobooks for an advanced audio copy to honestly read and review. All opinions are my own. Publication date was June 13, 2023.
I love Katherine Reay’s historical fiction. She is an auto-buy author for me at this point, and I’m so grateful that I could read this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve yet to read any type of fiction that goes back and forth between a mother’s and a daughter’s perspective. I’ve also yet to read, until now, a story based during the Cold War. There was just so much for me to learn from this story, and I am so appreciating for Katherine’s storytelling abilities!
I’d have to say that while I enjoyed both heroine’s story lines, I really felt more pulled in by Ingrid’s story. I loved how she fought and risked things to do what she knew she had to do. As a mother myself, I know I would do whatever it took to protect my child and I loved reading how this mother, in 1954, navigated her world of secrets.
That said, I loved Anya’s relationships with her handler, her mother, and even other B characters, swayed her and changed her, ultimately molding her into the spy she would become.
The ending of this story was way more than I ever anticipated and in the best way possible. I highly recommend A Shadow in Moscow to all historical fiction lovers!
I was first introduced to Katherine Reay's writing with The London House, her first historical piece. I immediately wanted more, and she delivered with A Shadow in Moscow. After writing numerous contemporary novels, all fun, she has found a new niche with historical fiction. I have found that she is a go-to author for me...immediately pre-order any new work as soon as it's announced, without even reading the blurb! Watch for her upcoming novel, The Berlin Letters....already on my TBR list.