Our American Friend

A Novel

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Pub Date 15 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 15 Feb 2022

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A mysterious First Lady. The intrepid journalist writing her biography. And the secret that could destroy them both.

Tired of covering the grating dysfunction of Washington and the increasingly outrageous antics of President Henry Caine, White House correspondent Sofie Morse quits her job and plans to leave politics behind. But when she gets a call from the office of First Lady Lara Caine, asking Sofie to come in for a private meeting with Lara, her curiosity is piqued. Sofie, like the rest of the world, knows little about Lara—only that Lara was born in Soviet Russia, raised in Paris, and worked as a model before moving to America and marrying the notoriously brash future president.

When Lara asks Sofie to write her official biography, and to finally fill in the gaps of her history, Sofie’s curiosity gets the better of her. She begins to spend more and more time in the White House, slowly developing a bond with Lara who, to Sofie’s surprise, is entirely candid about her mysterious past. The First Lady doesn’t hesitate to speak about her beloved father’s work as an undercover KGB officer in Paris—and how he wasn’t the only person in her family working undercover during the Cold War.

As her story unfolds, Sofie can’t help but wonder why Lara Caine is rehashing such sensitive information. Why to her? And why now?

For fans of THE SECRETS THEY KEPT and AMERICAN WIFE, OUR AMERICAN FRIEND is a propulsive Cold War era spy thriller crossed with a fictional biography of a First Lady. Spanning from the 1970s to the present day, traveling from Moscow and Paris to Washington and New York, Anna Pitoniak’s novel is a gripping page-turner about power and complicity and how sometimes, the fate of the world is in the hands of the people you’d never expect.

A mysterious First Lady. The intrepid journalist writing her biography. And the secret that could destroy them both.

Tired of covering the grating dysfunction of Washington and the increasingly...

Advance Praise

 “An irresistible political thriller with wit and heart, Our American Friend is a fascinating take on a mysterious fictional First Lady and a moving, rueful exploration of love, loyalty and the presence of the past." —AMY BLOOM, author of White Houses 

"This should be catnip to political thriller fans--a smart, witty take on a fictional, foreign-born First Lady with a secret tied to Cold War espionage who tests the boundaries of friendship with her would-be biographer. This fast-paced novel about love, loyalty, and the secrets we should or should not keep will keep you gobbling up each page." —MELANIE BENJAMIN, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Children’s Blizzard

"Anna Pitoniak's Our American Friend is a smart, political thriller, sharply observed and well-written." —ALAN FURST, bestselling author of A Hero of France, Midnight in Europe, and Mission to Paris

 “An irresistible political thriller with wit and heart, Our American Friend is a fascinating take on a mysterious fictional First Lady and a moving, rueful exploration of love, loyalty and the...

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ISBN 9781982158804
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Featured Reviews

I am a fan of Anna Pitoniak and have enjoyed all her previous novels. This one was no exception. It was smart, entertaining, interesting, and impossible to put down.

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Wow- was not expecting this book to be so good having read the author's previous two books. It was a whirlwind, but in the most thrilling way! Felt like a mystery novel told in a more high-brow way, and it was truly a book that I did not want to put down.

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Wow just wow. I couldn't put this book down. Do yourself a favor and make this book your next read! As I said, must read!

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I have read all of Anna Pitonak’s books, and this is by far my favorite! Our American Friend is part love story, part spy novel, and it’s perfectly written. If you loved An American Wife, this is in the same vein - a thinly veiled story of the women in the White House with recognizable elements to true-life action. I absolutely adored this book and cannot wait to see what Anna comes up with next!

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Already one of the most anticipated books for 2022, Pitoniak expertly crafts an atmospheric sense of place and a shockingly irresistible cast of characters--some with traits all too familiar to readers. The candid moments between First Lady Lara Caine and her biographer Sofie Morse are riveting and surprising. From Russia to Paris to New York to Washington (and elsewhere), the tale spun flips the script on power and who actually holds it. Those searching for more KGB to D.C. stories are in for a real treat

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This was an extremely captivating read. From the very first chapter it draws the reader in. The incessant curiosity that drives a reader into this multi-plot mystery is an echo of the main character Sofie's journalistic need to find out more about the books other main character, FLOTUS Lara.

"Our American Friend" essentially features a president in office causing continued damage to the entire U.S. and even beyond, with out a doubt modeled after Trump. The added small details spread in the book— how President Caine was backed by Russian ruler to ensure election, how he loathed the press and made up grand conspiracies, how teflon he was no matter what weekly scandal— all added up to a not so subtle nod to Trump. While I appreciated those moments, the real story lies with his Russian born wife, Lara, whose father was a leader in the Soviet Union's SGK. What follows is a riveting story of intrigue, mystery, love, and loss, spanning from Lara's childhood to how she ended up as FLOTUS to an exceptionally cruel man. I loved how this story really focused on the stories and connections made in the shadows.

Most refreshing about this book was Pitoniak demonstrates exactly how important her craft is in this novel with an intricate storyline containing many twists and turns. The history and timeline of Lara is so intriguing and well spread out it reads of a real jounralistic feature piece, where all the time lines compel the reader further into the plot. Each plot line and time jump from past to present was well thought out and added together quite great. While there were few true shocking reveals in this book, the plots perfect pacing, storytelling, and mystery were incredible. The books plot came together much like how Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" movie did, minus the more shocking twists the movie had.

This is probably one of the best historical fiction books I've read in a while.

The only aspect of the book I didn't like was the eventual depiction of the CIA as an unlikely, underdog hero doing the best it can when the CIA has its own shady history of doing many wrong things. This is somewhat acknowledge in one of the sacrifices that comes from the CIA's actions but not enough when the organization as a whole looks like a hero.

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