A Shadow in Moscow

A Cold War Novel

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on BN.com Buy on Bookshop.org
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jul 2023

Talking about this book? Use #AShadowinMoscow #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


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...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781400243037
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 198 members

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

#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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.


Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

****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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Thank you to Harper Muse via Uplit Reads for the copy of this book. All views are my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

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 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.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Harper Muse, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review.

Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction, Espionage
Format: Dual POV, Dual Time Period
Spice level: Low
Violence level: Low
Language: Low
Interest: High!

I've loved other books by Katherine Reay, and even though I've never read a book with spies, I wanted to see what I think. Wow! What a ride!

The danger with any dual point-of-view or dual time period is that readers will be more interested in one than the other. I was so vested in both storylines!

WWII is always interesting when we see different stories and perspectives. But this novel bridges from the 40s to the post-war era in the 50s and on. Ingrid has a fascinating life, and her eyes of what happened in Austria is heartbreaking. She is faced with so many choices with such large consequences. Having lived through the 80s, I instantly related to Anya and the attitudes and living through the height of the Cold War. I can't believe the heartbreaking choices she makes.

As we continue to see Russia's politics in the news, this seems like a timely novel.

I was lucky enough to go to four cities in Russia in 1993. This novel helped me solidify some of my experiences and expand my viewpoint. I also feel like A SHADOW IN MOSCOW is written so well that anyone will get sucked into the story. I mentioned how much I loved this book to my husband, and he can't wait to read it too.

Yes! I absolutely recommend this book!
I ate this book up in a couple of days.

Happy reading!

Was this review helpful?

A Shadow in Moscow alternates between the Cold War of the early 1980s & the establishment of that ideological conflict, from post-war Austria to the highest echelons of Soviet power, Reay spins the story of two female spies separated by years but with a common passion: freedom, & a common goal: preventing another conflict.

I love dual-time narratives, & it is refreshing to read one where both timelines are historical, & there is no attempt to insert a contemporary storyline. Its not that I don’t enjoy the typical dual form, but this was a welcome change & kept the tension ratcheted throughout the novel as Reay weaves together her spies’ lives through over three decades of Cold War tensions.

I cannot remember the last time a novel brought me to tears. This is an exceptional examination of women in history, particularly those who in a time & a society were oft overlooked – ironically making them even more effective in high-risk activities more often attributed to men. This is an aspect of history that I will never tire of exploring or championing, the stories of women like Ingrid & Anya who accomplished extraordinary feats in tumultuous times, who stepped into the gap & answered the age-old question: if not now, when?

The phrase “duc in altum” echoes its challenge throughout the narrative: put out into the deep. When it comes to counting the cost of freedom & choice, there is a victory in doing the hard thing because you know in the marrow of your bones that it is right. Ingrid & Anya are a study in the impetuosity of youth v. the wisdom of experience. Its so easy to look at circumstances & rail (often rightly); but Ingrid’s story powerfully illustrates the beauty & sacrifice of dying to self, counting the cost, & finding the true freedom within that no government or ideology can destroy.

This is a story of politics & spies, but more than that an unforgettable story of hope, redemption, & sacrifice. This is a rich, challenging character study that I already long to revisit. Reay’s storytelling continues to astound.

Was this review helpful?

✨ Review ✨ A Shadow in Moscow: A Cold War Novel by Katherine Reay; Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Lisa Flanagan

I read this entire book in one sitting! I was so caught up in it that I literally couldn't put it down. I did alternate between the print book and the audio, and both were great ways to experience this book!

The book is a dual timeline/POV book that follows Ingrid Bauer, starting in 1954 Vienna to her life married to a (likely) member of the KGB, and Anya Kadinova in 1980 who returns to Moscow after finishing her degree at Georgetown University as part of the Foreign Studies Initiative.

NOTE: I recommend going into this book without reading the description on the back of the book -- more fun to leave this one mysterious.

Both Ingrid and Anya have a strong commitment to their own personal ethics, and are a delight to follow through their lives. Talking more about what I enjoyed would be spoiler-y I suspect :(

I do wish this had been a bit more directly critical of "The West" rather than pinning it as the ideal; while a critical reader could find criticism of capitalism, the CIA, and other markers of the West, sometimes this felt a little lost under a celebration of the free choice available in the West. I also wish it had dug a little more into Soviet culture and life, though I really appreciated the insight that this book did give me.

Overall, this was an exciting historical fiction that read a bit like a spy thriller. I really enjoyed this one, and appreciated how it placed women in an important role of international diplomacy during the cold war. I wished perhaps for even more commentary on what was based in fact.

Genre: historical fiction, women's fiction, Cold War spies & international relations
Setting: Washington D.C., Vienna, Moscow - mostly between 1950s through 1980s
Reminds me of: Ruta Sepatys, Kate Quinn
Pub Date: June 13, 2023

Read this if you like:
⭕️ historical fiction set in the East -- reminded me a bit of Ruta Sepatys and Kate Quinn
⭕️ spy thrillers featuring women
⭕️ Cold War intrique
⭕️ love stories across continents

Thanks to Harper Muse, Uplit Reads, and #netgalley for advanced copies of this book!

Was this review helpful?

A Shadow in Moscow was a phenomenal Cold War spy book set in Vienna, Moscow and Washington DC in the 1950s and 1980s.

This is dual timeline and dual perspective and honestly I liked both characters a lot. I wouldn't say this is a slow start, because I liked how the book built up the storylines but the action isn't really into the second half.

I loved that this was very much a historical fiction. The author did a lot of research on female spies and the era but the stories of Ingrid and Anya are fictional. I love when you can just immerse yourself in historical fiction without wondering oh how true is this to what really happened during this event.

I listened and the audiobook was fantastic. It's just under 12 hours and I was glad I had a long stretch of driving since I didn't want to stop listening!

A Shadow in Moscow comes out Tuesday - June 13th and I highly recommend if you're looking for a Cold War era spy novel!

Was this review helpful?

1954-1985 Vienna, Moscow and Washington DC

What a journey! Intrigue, history and love are central to this time slip novel.

Ingrid's tale begins in 1954 Vienna as her world falls apart and she chooses which path to take next. Was the path she chose the best one? Perhaps not, but Ingrid made the most of what she had for herself and others.

In 1980, Anya is a Russian student blessed with a study abroad opportunity. She's educated at Georgetown University getting a taste of a different life. Yet it's her home in Moscow that she yearns to return to.

There is a ton of history and culture woven into the pages and the author's note at the end elaborated on that as well as her own motivation in writing this novel.

Spectacular! Many more thoughts are surfacing, but I don't want to include any spoiler comments. If you enjoy historical fiction, add this to your list.

Was this review helpful?

Katherine Reay had me hooked on her writing since her debut novel of Dear Mr. Knightly, but I think she has really come into her own with London House and this novel, A Shadow in Moscow. This novel weaves together the stories of CIA's newest Moscow recruit during the Cold War with an MI6 spy in Moscow shortly after World War II. I love historical novels that have me researching to see what events are true and which ones were part of the author's imagination. These stories were done so well that the fact and fiction blended seamlessly. I highly recommend this book to anyone would loves historical fiction as well as suspense.

Was this review helpful?

Katherine Reay spins a riveting Cold War-era tale brimming with intrigue, secrets, and spies, all while exploring thoughtful themes of truth, freedom, and the timeless bond of family. Rich historical detail adds the bow on top to this thoroughly masterful story based on real-life stories of spies who risked their lives to bring the Iron Curtain down.

Right from the start, I was hooked. The first chapter was gripping, haunting, and emotional. It raised a hundred questions in my mind about who Anya was and why she wanted to die. What secrets did she hold? Who were the loved ones she held dear? What was her story?

In this dual timeline, Katherine skillfully weaves together the stories of two seemingly unrelated women—one in WWII Vienna, and one in Cold War era Moscow—and in the process, spins a breath-taking tale of family and love and sacrifice that leaves you reeling.

I saw myself in Anya—especially in the way she struggled to readjust to her home in Russia after spending years studying in America. I too know what it’s like to try to fit back into a place that should be your home and yet… isn’t anymore. Of constantly feeling caught between two worlds, of always longing for the place you’re not in at the moment. I appreciated the representation of the unique struggles of being a third culture kid.

I loved watching Anya grow through the years as she learned to balance the tension between safety and risk, of taking a stand in the right way, to fight for truth and freedom in the only way she could. I admired Ingrid even more for her mature strength and fortitude even in the face of deep disappointment and loss and change.

I’ve read very few books on the Cold War era, so I found the setting of this book a refreshing change. Katherine wove an atmosphere of cold suspicion and distrust into her writing, so that you can almost taste the fear and hopelessness and bondage of Soviet Russia. There were moments I was caught off guard by the turn of the plot, which was a pleasant surprise.

The only downside was that the pacing tended to be slow, especially near the beginning, which weighed down the story somewhat and made it difficult to connect all the pieces. But once I got through the first third, I was fully invested and couldn’t put it down.

A Shadow in Moscow will leave you with all the emotions—admiration for the courageous men and women who sacrificed all, sorrow at the losses, and inspired to take your own stand in the fight for truth. This is the kind of story that changes you, makes you wish it were real, and leave you pondering the lessons it teaches long after you put it down.

Was this review helpful?

Having lived through the Cold War, Reay's look into the events and people of this time period brought back so many memories. This was a heartbreaking and riveting look into two eras that brought vast disagreement between two countries political philosophies. Two women from two different eras both linked to Russia see the inequity of the lives of Russians compared to the freedoms of other countries particularly the United States. One becomes a recruit for M16 and goes on to become one of their best Soviet agents, and the younger for the CIA. Neither knows the connection or the work of the other.

Although this moved a bit slow at the beginning the pace continued to excelerate with every page that turned. Reay brought the events to life until I felt like I was standing beside either Anya or Ingrid as they spied their way through life. Their strength, courage, and intelligence shone through each of their lives as they fought for what they believed was right. The Russian leaders names throughout each reminded me of what was happening in my life during their tenure: things such as duck and cover drills in our school classrooms.

Reay couldn't have done a better job of bringing the Cold War period to life, and this book made it to the top of my list of favorite books from Katherine Reay. Don't miss it.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

Was this review helpful?

** “Another (thing I want) was that I wanted to do everything I could to make the world a better place, one that honored the dignity of humans and allowed each and every person to thrive.” **

Katherine Reay delivers an incredible historical fiction novel with “A Shadow in Moscow,” a story of hope and freedom that follows two women living during the Cold War era.

Ingrid Bauer finds herself searching for a way to make humanity better post-World War II. After marrying a man she suspects is a KGB officer, she finds a way to further the cause of freedom using her special position in life.

Anya Kadinova takes part in Russia’s 1980s Foreign Studies Initiative at America’s Georgetown University. Upon graduation, she is placed in an elite engineering position — a job that will allow her to decide which side of history she want to be on.

Throughout their lives, both women have deeply loved and lost — putting them on a journey to seek truth and justice. Will they successfully find the hope and freedom they are searching for? And will their paths cross?

Reay does an incredible job of diving into the Cold War era with a deeply researched story that offers both historical facts and fictionalized tellings filled with emotion and inspiration. She creates incredibly strong characters.

She also fills “A Shadow in Moscow” with several great themes, like “meaning conveys when words cannot”; the power of freedom and choices; and we can do more than endure. A huge theme is hope — overcoming hopelessness (“We chase it away at night, but it catches us every morning. Desperation. Hopelessness”) and the fact that we have to carry, act on and take risks to grow hope; as well as shadows — becoming a shadow when one needs to, hiding in the shadows, and taking advantage of the shadows.

Fans of historical fiction and stories with strong women characters will love “A Shadow in Moscow,” as well as fans of authors like Kate Quinn, Rachel McMillan and Kristy Cambron.

Five stars out of five.

Harper Muse provided this complimentary copy through NetGalley for my honest, unbiased review.

Was this review helpful?

What is your favorite book, movie, or TV show about a spy?

A Shadow in Moscow is an intriguing and unique cold war historical fiction novel. It is a dual story told in both the 1940s/50s and 1980s. In Vienna, Ingrid loses her family and everything she loves during WWII. After the war, she marries a Soviet Embassy worker and follows him to Moscow. She finds herself reaching out to her mother’s home country of England with information about the communist regime.

Anya is a young Russian girl going to college in 1980. She grows to respect the United States as she finishes her degree at Georgetown and also finds that she has fallen in love with an American, Scott. She has to return to the USSR for her safety and her family’s safety. After the KGB murders a good friend, Anya becomes a spy sending top secret information from a military research center to the CIA in hopes of ending the arms race. Will either Ingrid or Anya be caught?

I have not read too many historical fiction novels set during the cold war and I really enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed both stories equally, which is important in a dual narrative novel. Both Ingrid and Anya are strong female leads with intriguing back stories. I have enjoyed Katherine Reay’s novels in the past and this one did not disappoint with great characters and an riveting plot. The plot and romance were both slow burn as the novel set up the story, but I was intrigued and couldn’t stop reading once the story got revved up. I love a good spy story with all of the feels!

This novel has a great author’s note and discussion questions at the end. I feel like I learned a lot about the Cold War in this novel.

Book Source: Review Copy from HarperMuse. Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Was this review helpful?

A remarkable story of two brave women changing their harsh reality.

I've a soft spot for WW2-based novels, docos and films after studying this era of history as a teen. It's such a tragic time on the human calendar, and the stories can be suffocating and heartbreaking, yet there's always a glimmer of hope somewhere.

But the Cold War? It's a less familiar part of history to me (probably because I haven't obsessed over it, LOL). I knew more about the suffering of the Russian people and less about the espionage. Despite my ignorance, I was able to fully immerse myself in Anja and Ingrid's worlds.

I fell in love with Ingrid the moment she graced the pages and enjoyed seeing her growing from the hurting girl of the 1940s to the courageous woman she became. I mourned her many losses - family, love, freedom - but cheered her choice to make a difference in the world.

Anja's first scene was shockingly bleak that I HAD to know what happened to her, so was happy to travel back in time and see how she'd ended up where she did. I sympathised with her pull to Scott despite knowing it could never be, the futility of her life and expectations back in Russia, and her internal fight.

The characters throughout this book were phenomenal, regardless of whether I liked them, loathed them, or struggled to know where to place them in my heart. I don't think I've been as invested in a story like this in a long time. The tragedy overwhelms me because fiction always finds its root in reality.

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

Was this review helpful?

Katherine Reay has done it again. This is a well-researched and well-written story that takes us into the cold war, from the beginnings and into the heart of it.

Ingrid is from Austria, her papers say she is Russian. She witnesses much regarding her parents and the Nazis during WWII. She ends up becoming a spy as she does not have many options and eventually marries a Russian man. What she doesn't tell anyone in her new homeland; her mother was British. Her husband grows through the ranks and the more this happens, the less she feels his love.

The other timeline is Anya. Anya is given an opportunity to study in the United States. This is an honor and she is meant to return to her homeland. She falls in love, but duty brings her back to the Soviet Union. Before she returns, she is recruited by the CIA.

These two women both have much to lose, but find themselves fighting a war that no one can see. They use the tools they have to work for a better world.

The story is well written from these two perspectives creating a story of espionage and intrigue that kept me turning pages to figure out what would happen next, Their very lives were on the line. As it builds, there are things the reader learns that makes the story all the more intriguing and ultimately satisfying. I could not put this one down. This is a spy novel of the best sort.

The character growth is beautifully written and the reveals are timed perfectly. I highly recommend this book full of suspense and humanity.

I received an early copy through the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This is one of the most powerful books I've read in a long time. Ingrid and Anya live in different decades, but their lives are intertwined in this historical fiction novel. It's got all the biggies — FBI, CIA, double agents. This is one read you won't be able to put down until the very end. Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

A Shadow in Moscow is one of the best espionage thrillers that I've read and the first book by Ms. Reay. The story starts during WWII and ends in the 21st century portraying the life of a family that starts in Europe and ends in the USA. It deals with the horror of a possible nuclear war, shows how the countries led by the communist regime fell in Europe, and especially how Russia operates in the world puzzle game and how it treats (or treated?) its citizens.
It's also a powerful story of love and strong women. Beautifully written and very entertaining.
I thank the author, her publisher, and NetGalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This book is stunning.

The characters have moments of bravery and moments of indecision. They are so human I often forgot they were fictional.

@katherinereay weaves through her story the truths fiction sometimes glosses over. Spies who make mistakes, countries that let us down and love that is imperfect and can’t solve everything.

But she also beautifully portrays that love is a choice; and hope, humanity and freedom are worth fighting for.

The plot twist is created in such a way that you are expecting in, but are still left in awe when it happens.

She writes fascinating cultural details and ideas that speak newness on both sides. Written in such a way that it leaves an impression on your heart.

I loved the generational nature of the story and the difference between the facade and the strength of the women.

I loved the history and the emotion.

I loved the pacing and the suspense.

This story is a must read.

Was this review helpful?

WHAT. A. RIDE! A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay should be required reading. This story is the kind that strikes fear into the reader’s heart, then crushes it, and then leaves the reader in a book fog that will last for quite a while. This story had me travel a gamut of emotions: I was terrified, angry (SO, SO angry), frustrated, excited, intrigued, curious, and sad. This is a heavy story that depicts a heavy time in history. What I have come to realize, though, is that all time in history — including now — is a heavy time. And I really struggle with this. Reay has crafted very real, very human characters. I loved how Reay juxtaposes Ingrid’s story with Anya’s. Two strong women in their own rights both living and surviving in the USSR during the 1st an 2nd Cold War eras. Each woman deals with life differently, but ultimately with the same goal in mind: make the world a better, safer place. Anya, if I am honest, frustrated me something fierce. She acts and then thinks, and all that does is get others hurt or put in danger. She is well-meaning, but impetuous. She feels so naïve. Then there is Ingrid. Ingrid is AMAZING. She is so perfectly human and lovely and brave and HIGHLY intelligent. I loved her chapters the best. And I learned SO much from her character — when to be quiet, when to speak, when to sit still, when to act, and when to be sacrificial. Ingrid is a truly remarkable character. In addition to the characters, I also really loved all the many topics brought up in this book. Of the many topics, the one that really struck me is that maybe we don’t know our parents as well as we think we do. Anya believes she knows her parents. She loves and appreciates them. And she can see them every day, so she assumes her assessment of them is the whole picture. But it’s not even close. Her assessments of her parents illustrate the myopia and narcissism of youth. We think we know, we think we are so smart and so right, but we don’t know. And that is why sitting down with our parents, if they are willing and able, and learning their stories is so important. I’m not sure we can ever really know our parents fully, but we can show them we care about their past, their stories, and what makes them tick. And I think this is one of the most important take-aways from this excellent, poignant, heavy story.

A Shadow in Moscow is an exceptional story. This review cannot do this book justice. I’m not sure any review can do this book justice because this story is just too BIG for a review. This story must be experienced! So, if you are a fan of superbly written novels with outstanding attention to historical detail that will leave you breathless, then I implore you to purchase a copy of this novel today. You will not want to miss out on this memorable story.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Harper Muse, via AustenProse PR. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This story intrigued me from the moment I first heard of it. I'm so happy that I was able to read it here. As I'd hoped it was a lovely story and I adored meeting these characters! Atmospheric and emotional, this is an unforgettable read!

Was this review helpful?

“True choice is hard won. It resides in faith and must be cultivated over time.”

Another amazing, brilliantly written historical fiction by Katherine Reay! A Shadow in Moscow is a testament to the brave often underestimated female spies who risked everything to bring down a brutal Soviet regime. From the start, I was drawn in to the dual timeline narrative. Both characters’ stories were so compelling. I loved the romance, suspense, intrigue, and history. It kept me up late reading into the night because I had to know what happened next!

Ingrid Bauer grew up in Austria during the 1920’s and 30’s and tragically lost all her family during the war. Needing to leave the country as WWII is winding down, she hastily marries a Russian and moves to Moscow, trading one totalitarian regime for another. Disaffected by her new country and wanting a better life for her child, she offers to work with MI-6 despite the fact that her husband works for the KGB.

In the 1980’s, Anya Kadinova is one of the lucky few to study abroad in the United States and is shocked yet enamored by the freedom and choices. Returning to Russia after graduating, she’s disillusioned by her new life and misses the man she fell in love with in America. She was once offered the opportunity to work for the CIA and turned them down, but after the brutal murder of her friend, she begins a dangerous spy mission obtaining secrets from the military research lab she works for.

Both Ingrid and Anya were amazing! I admired their courage, strength, and sacrifice. I loved the way Ingrid obtained her information. Like her mother before her, she used her position as hostess for her husband’s dinner parties to glean secrets. Her ability to appear docile and nonthreatening allowed those around her to underestimate her abilities and intelligence. The cat and mouse game she plays kept me on the edge of my seat.

Anya is just as admirable! By the 1980’s, the surveillance technology has advanced and every time she tries to smuggle out papers, I held my breath. I loved her relationship with Scott and how he never gave up on her or their love. Her relationship with her parents is complicated, yet so poignant.

The story is rich with history and culture. The suspense kept me on the edge and hurriedly turning the pages. It also tugs on the heartstrings. There’s a scene towards the end which completely brought me to tears. It’s a must read for historical fiction fans and a beautiful tribute to those who gave everything to end the Cold War. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own and voluntarily given.

Was this review helpful?

True to all Ruth Ware books, this one takes you on a slippery sliding thrilling ride. This one seemed a bit different from her other ones that I've read. A little bit more thriller and less gothic, but it was still a fantastic read! I loved trying to figure out who was behind it all and I did at one point take a guess at it and was correct, but there was still so much more to discover that I really enjoyed it.
Side note if bad language offends you, this may not be your cup of tea.

Was this review helpful?

This book is amazing! A Shadow in Moscow is a look into Russian history, post WWII, that I haven’t encountered often. CIA, Mi6, KGB, spies and traitors fill this book with non-stop action. I didn’t want to put the book down. Also, I’m inspired by so many historical facts, that I’ve given myself research homework to look-up and learn more about them.

Was this review helpful?

I had not read many, if any, books set largely in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Katherine Reay's A Shadow in Moscow is an enthralling tale of two female spies working within Moscow. Ingrid's story spans from 1944 into 1985, Anya's from 1980 into 1985 with a brief glimpse into her life in 2023 in the epilogue. Their exploits and sacrifices are amazing and echo those of real-life MI6 and CIA spies. As much as I learned about Soviet culture, I was also reminded of both positive and negative aspects of our American culture, aspects that may be masked at times by more current cultural issues. A Shadow in Moscow is not only a fascinating read, but is also quite thought-provoking. I give it five stars without hesitation.

I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy from Harper Muse via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Even though this was a historical fiction novel, I learned something about this time frame of the Cold War. I was fascinated by these two women living secret lives and the connection to the war efforts. The detail into the languages and dialects was especially interesting and I found myself researching many of the topics brought up in this novel. I appreciate all of the author’s research and attention to detail in this book! The amount of information is endless! I would love to see this one on the screen!

Was this review helpful?

Top "semi-intellectual" Book Club Pick for 2023!

Blew my mind. SO well written. Part spy novel, part drama, part soul-search. I loved everything about this novel and I stayed up late each night to finish it!

Mostly the story is about Anya, the daughter of a top Soviet official. She is sent to the US to study abroad as part of a cultural exchange, and there she falls in love with an American. However, as a good communist, she returns to her family and takes a well-placed job in Moscow. I really enjoyed reading about life in the 1980s (I am old enough to remember all of this).

The other perspective is told by Ingrid, an Austrian who moved to Moscow after WWII. She has secrets to keep hidden. Her life is traced from the 1940s onward.

While this is fiction, the author took care to weave in several real-life spies and officials to make this seem like a story that really could have happened.

Overall it is well worth reading and I look forward to other books by this author in the future.

I received an ARC of this book as a reviewer for NetGalley. #sponsored

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

This is a fascinating book, but it was hard to read the first half, which doesn’t have a lot of hope in it. I pushed through to get that far before quitting for the first day. The second half starts having glimpses of hope, and eventually reaches good resolution. However, reading about life in the Soviet Union during the Cold War is not an enjoyable thing. The characters are well drawn, and their hopes and fears come to life. Reay does an amazing job describing the daily life of that time and place.

If you like reading about spies (especially women spies) and the Cold War, you will really go for this book. If you want a quick, light, easy read, go read something else.

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

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved this book. So good! Loved the different storylines and all that happened. So eye opening about the Cold War era in Russia. If you like historical fiction definitely recommend.

Content: mentions of genocide and suspense
Romance: closed door between married couple

Was this review helpful?

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay is a totally gripping,rivetingly and suspenseful duel time line book. It is about two strong female heroes that chose to spy on the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era. It is a relatively fast paced book about spies, espionage, secrets, choices, danger, romance and family relationships.

The characters are complex and are not stereotypical. This is my first book by Katherine Reay. The characters are rich and deep. Ms. Reay’s writing wings you off to a place of intrigue that keeps you reading and wanting more. The story is very well thought out. The book gives you an interesting view into the Soviet Union during that time period. I was unaware that there were many brave female spies who served both the United States and Great Britain against the USSR. The author’s research was extensive and was very well written.

This may have been my first book by Katherine Reay but it definitely won’t be my last. I highly recommend this book. I would like to thank Ms. Reay, Harper Muse and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay is both chilling and spellbinding and is just the book that will keep you reading late into the night. I was first introduced to this author's work when I picked up The London House. I instantly fell in love with her writing and her story of courageous women within Britain’s SOE during World War II. Her writing captured my attention then, but her latest novel; A Shadow in Moscow, absolutely blew me away! My heart, thrilled with each secret mission, stopped when the KGB came too close to their target and broke with each heart-wrenching moment.

It's the beginning days of the Cold War, and Ingrid Bauer has lost everyone she has ever loved. When she meets Leo in Vienna, her heart yearns with the possibility life with him might hold. When he suggests returning to his homeland of Russia, she goes with him. As the years go by, secrets alienate the couple, and when they welcome a child into the world, ingrid longs for a better life for her daughter. She soon begins to risk everything as she pases along intelligence to MI6, becoming their greatest asset behind the Iron curtain.

1980, Anya Kadinova has spent four years in the United States studying at Georgetown as part of the Foreign Studies Initiative. Never far from the eyes of the KGB, Anya, despite her best efforts, begins to love the people and country she was taught to hate. When she returns home, life is never the same. After the death of her best friend, Anya agrees to spy for the CIA, passing along Soviet military plans in hopes of ending the arms race. Both Anya and Ingrid find their lives in jeopardy when a mole is discovered and the names of undercover agents are leaked. Will the two be able to escape the ruthless clutches of the KGB?

Riveted to my seat, Reay's characters are deep and compelling, evoking emotions on every page; binding one to their experiences, and telling a story you won't soon forget. Even after finishing this book, I am still left captivated by this Cold War story of these two women, each seeking a better life, a better world and a better tomorrow, reminding the reader of the simplest, most innate desires ever human longs for.
In the Shadow of Moscow is meaningful and eye-opening. Although a work of fiction, Katherine Reay fascinates readers with her unflinching portrait of the Soviet Union as seen through the eyes of her characters, depicting true and powerful themes that don't just make this an entertaining read, but in my opinion, the best kind of book.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this book about two female spies. I would have to say that Russia's involvement in WWII and the Cold War are not exactly topics that are covered in depth in history in schools today, and so I learned so much from this book. I absolutely adored Katherine Reay's characters and how the story blends together. I don't want to say much more or I will give it away. Definitely a book to read if you are a lover of history or mystery.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This powerful story told in dual timelines is one that everyone should read. The two main characters were fully developed and I saw their lives unfold through the many phases of their lives.
Ingrid is from Vienna where her parents and her love worked for the British MI 6. At the end of WWII when they were seized and killed by the Nazis, Ingrid decided to join MI6 to provide the Allies with info to defeat the Nazis. WhenAdam (also MI6) asks her to marry and move to England she declines and moves to Moscow . She marries Leo, a Soviet and continues to inform MI6 of intel as Leo moves up in the KGB through the 1980s.
Anya grew up in Moscow and attends Georgetown university through theForeign Student Initiative. Her 4 years in the US opened her eyes to the many differences between this country and her homeland. However, to avoid defection, the KGB has weekly meetings to assure her loyalty and her return to Russia. A CIA recruiter meets with her to recruit her as an agent in Moscow when she goes home. After graduation, she leaves Scott ( her lover) and the US and resumes Soviet life.
The author described the oppression and control in The USSR during the Cold War, the restrictions imposed on its citizens and the absolute rule of the KGB. Her writing was descriptive and the story was engaging. It took me a while to catch onto the link between the 2 women, but I loved the twist.
The ending was emotional and the perfect finale to the story.
I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley and Harper Muse. The opinions expressed are entirely my own

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Katherine Reay, Harper Muse, and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy for free in exchange for an honest review.

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 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.

Was this review helpful?

I was totally blown away by this story! This is one of my favorite reads of the year. Two separate stories of espionage weave together into a brilliant tapestry of sacrifice and love. I loved the whole premise, a story set against the backdrop of Russia during the Cold War, filled with intriguing historical detail. Usually in a dual-timeline I find myself invested more in one of the stories, yet I was captivated by both Ingrid and Anya's stories. Ms. Reay skillfully conveyed the paranoia felt by many.. This poignant story and its strong sense of place is utterly compelling. You won't be able to put it down.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher through Netgalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Quick and Dirty
-dual POV, dual timeline historical fiction
-Cold War story with ties to WWII
-terrific audiobook narration
-fast-paced second half

As an 80s baby, I recall the US/USSR rivalry well. Whether we were competing for gold in the Olympics or listening to leaders discuss nuclear armament, the division between our two cultures was often starkly on display. And though my friends and I didn't truly understand the importance of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I recall watching footage and clapping in unison in our classroom, hopeful that our leaders had finally achieved the impossible: harmony. I was a sheltered American child, who had no clue what life was like in the Soviet Union. Even now as a sheltered American adult, I struggle to understand life in post-Soviet Europe. Genocide and war rage in the Ukraine while Putin clutches hard to his power in Russia, and it feels sometimes like those Cold War stories are alive again. Spies, intrigue, plots, and coups are still very real things, making this new novel a marvel of historical fiction with very real modern-day implications. Maybe I've been watching too much television (highly recommend Slow Horses in Apple+), but it all feels very familiar and scary. As soon as I started A Shadow in Moscow I knew I was in for a wild ride. I was sucked into both storylines, eager to know what happened to both the brave women standing up for what they felt was right and just. Switching between the audio and physical made this a fast read for me, but I think the pacing would have kept me glued no matter the format. The ending felt right for the mood/tone of this novel, but don't expect a HEA. With little romance and far fewer frills, this book is for lovers of spycraft. And I, for one, loved it!

Was this review helpful?

This has been both a gripping and a fascinating read. While it is a work of fiction, it’s clear that author Katherine Reay researched thoroughly to create such an authentic reading experience. Written in two timelines, A Shadow in Moscow is set almost entirely in that city and spans the years from around 1944 through to the present day. Anya and Ingrid are superbly crafted characters that seem very much like real people. Their supporting cast is equally well created so that the impression as you readthe plot flows beautifully and there are enough high and low [oints to keep you turning the pages. This is a new to me author, but one I’ll definitely be looking for again. This book made for riveting reading!

Was this review helpful?

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.

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.

Was this review helpful?

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. I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and was not obligated to provide a positive review.

Was this review helpful?

Special thanks to Harper Muse and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

A glimpse into a network of spies in Soviet Europe. What a suspenseful book and thrilling. I don't think I will be in the minority on this one.

Great writing, great story, GREAT suspense and a surprise ending.

I have never read Katherine Reay but I definitely will look for past and future books. Highly recommend!

Was this review helpful?

This book was an excellent historical novel! It is a beautifully written spy thriller with a duel timeline. I really enjoyed this one and the author’s style of writing.

The story is about two Russian women who seek to make their Cold War lives better. Anya and Ingrid are both well developed, lovable characters, faced with some very difficult decisions. The author weaves together the two women’s lives of sacrifices and love brilliantly.

So eye opening about the life in Russia during the Cold War. I would highly recommend this book and will be looking for more books by this author.

Thanks NetGalley and Harper Muse for an advance copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

This new release by Katherine Reay is EVERYTHING, y'all. A Cold War spy story featuring two strong women, it gripped me from page one and I finished it in one because it was so suspenseful and well done! If you liked the series "The Americans," you will love this story! Beautifully written, well researched, original concept within historical fiction...it checks all my boxes!

Was this review helpful?

I appreciated that this story gave us a look behind the iron curtain and was rich in detail. There was so much that I learned from this book about The Cold War. The female characters were icing on the cake.
Many thanks to Harper Muse and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Ingrid Bauer, MI6’s best Soviet spy, and Anya Kadinova, the CIA’s newest Moscow recruit, are at risk because they’ve been betrayed at the highest level. When the KGB closes in, they rely on a compromise made in a race against time to ensure each survives.

I just can’t imagine living a life where I could trust no one! The cold war was not a topic I've really delved Into but reading about it was really hard. I was a bit tearful throughout just because of the basic lack of humanity during these times.

Anya goes to the US for four years in 1980 for the Russian education initiative and falls in love with Scott while she's there. Although she's heartbroken when she has to leave him, she knows there is no other way. Her country will not allow for her happiness.
Ingrid marries her his right after her parents are murdered before her eyes. She knows its not love but safety she feels for him but she doesn't think he loves her either. As the years go by, her husband gets more and more involved with the KGB and Ingrid just knows he's in the organization. He is very set on the rules and the fact that she shall hide her true Austrian identity from eberyone. They are always being watched. Ingrid grows tired of the monotony of daily life breaks her and she finds a way to get a note to someone in the FBI and they soon start using her for information. She becomes one of the best spies in her time.

A well written and fascinating story about the Cold War, the rivalry between the Soviet Union and America and their allies, the space race and psychological warfare, espionage, spying, secrets, lies, the KGB and the CIA. Women were underestimated, especially in the Soviet Union, they made perfect spies and five stars from me. If you like historical fiction stories full of tension, drama, strong female characters, this novel would be a must read.

Was this review helpful?

5/5 stars.

This book is amazing! _Wow_! Definitely one of those I paused reading at times, just to soak in a turn of phrase or ponder a twist/turn/event. Reay obviously did her research (I didn't expect anything less, based on her previous books), and it shows on every page.

The read isn't lighthearted, by any stretch; it's more in line with The London House than Dear Mr. Knightley--but well worth the read. The second half, in particular, stood out to me as the action picked up and the two storylines converged.

The Cold War was (not much) before my time, and I appreciated the book's nuanced, detailed insight into life during that time, both stateside and in Moscow. Whatever one's present-day political leanings, this merits a read for that insight alone. It's a harrowing reminder of what life was like not that long ago, and frankly how it could still be today in certain parts of the world (and more, if some have their way; say it ain't so, and come quickly, Lord Jesus). The equality promised was not equal at all, and we see that clearly on the page here.

Moving and powerful; highly recommended.

I will note, faith plays but a small part in the read, mostly in passing references (though more overtly in the latter third or so). I would have personally enjoyed seeing it more overtly had it been possible.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Was this review helpful?

Twisty and turns and full of lovable characters, A Shadow in Moscow is another win for Katherine Reay! Written in her usual fast-paced style, it follows powerful women through some incredible feats! She just doesn’t ever miss!!

Was this review helpful?

An intriguing story of two women whose lives are inextricably woven together throughout life on multiple planes. The story is a dual-timeline of Ingrid - Vienna 1954 and Anya - Moscow 1980 who both for their very personal reasons become spies during The Cold War. The dual timelines collide towards the end of the book with a heart-rending loss and love restored. It is a story of love, sacrifice, fear, passion, hate, deceit, hopelessness, forgiveness, and freedom.

Based on a true story that is filled with details of The Cold War era and one of America's espionage betrayals. Reay weaves a beautiful and suspenseful story with in-depth research. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you @NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review. #AShadowinMoscow #NetGalley #KatherineReay #ColdWar #historicalfiction #womeninhistory #Espionage

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay is a novel set in the Cold War. This novel is multi-layered with fascinating characters and intriguing details about this time in history. Ms Reay is masterful at writing well-researched historical fiction, and this novel is no exception. I think readers that enjoy historical fiction will love this book. Such an interesting read! I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher with no obligations. These opinions are entirely my own.

Was this review helpful?

s the final days of War World II come closing in, Ingrid Bauer is faced with the most tragic of losses. As she begins to settle into a new life, she hastily marries a Soviet embassy worker, Leo, who she ultimately expects to be KGB. Ingrid moves through her new life, but things change when her daughter is born. Ingrid has a new level of hope and believes that she can make a change with the help of her mother’s birth country, Britain. Jumping to 1980, Anya finds her time in the US wrapping up as part of the Foreign Studies Initiative. As she heads back to an unfamiliar world, Anya begins to question her life in the Soviet Union and when her best friend is murdered, this gives her the push to do something about it. Working in the military research lab, she has the perfect opportunity to pass along military plans and schematics. As both Anya and Ingrid fight for what they believe is right, they face an uncertainty that could result in death at any moment.

I haven’t read many historical fiction books on the Cold War era, so this was a nice change. This book was everything I wanted in a historical fiction. The back and forth between Anya and Ingrid was timed so perfectly. As you read this book, you truly felt the rush along with them both. There were certain elements of love in both story lines, which brought in a new level of hope for survival. This was the first book I have read by Katherine Reay, but I will absolutely go back to read, The London House.

Thank you @katherinereay and @uplitreads for the advanced copy for my honest review. This is out today so there is zero waiting to get your hands on this 5-cat read!

On the Cat Scale:

Was this review helpful?

Dual timeline stories are always fun. You get two stories in one but they are also connected to each other. This story is about 2 female spies. One starts in 1954, with Ingrid who is a MI6 spy in Moscow who is trying to make the world better for her daughter but with her husband being part of the KGB she has to be extra careful. The other is in the 1980s with Anya, who spent time in the USA but has since returned to Moscow. After the death of her friend, her eyes are opened to the truth of the KGB and she gets involve with CIA. Watch as both these women tackle the KGB and try not to get caught.

This was a very good book! It is also a tough book will all it entails. I really liked how brave these women were and how they risked everything for those they loved/what they though was right. I also liked how the 50s timeline caught up to the 80s timeline. The ending was heartbreaking but very good. Overall great story!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Content: 1 h word, murder

Was this review helpful?

Wonderfully written book! I was hooked by this book and the story just flowed so naturally. Katherine Reay did an amazing job putting this together and tying the stories together in a perfect way.

Thank you Netgalley for a digital copy to review!

Was this review helpful?

This one checked all my boxes
✅ complex, well-developed characters
✅ engaging plot with good pacing
✅ family drama
✅ great writing
✅ dark, suspenseful atmosphere
I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction set during the Cold War and I loved learning about the time period and Russian culture in general. This was my first Katherine Reay novel and I can’t wait to check out her backlist.

Was this review helpful?

This was by far the best spy novel I have read. It was full of intrigue and it was very obvious that the author had done a lot of research. Shadow in Moscow was a great mix of fiction and fact. Getting an understanding of life in Moscow during that time was so fascinating. It was written as a split timeline. While it took a while to figure how the two timelines were connected, it was so worth the wait. Shadow in Moscow kept my attention and I definitely lost a lot of sleep staying awake to finish it. This was my first book by Katherine Reay. But I enjoyed Shadow in Moscow so much that I purchased all the remaining books that she has written.
I received a free copy of A Shadow in Moscow from Net Galley with no obligations.

Reviews posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Was this review helpful?

By Katherine Reay

I am so intrigued by the premise of this book about two brave women - spies in Cold War Moscow, set in two gripping timelines beginning in Vienna in 1954 and Washington, DC in 1980. Katherine Reay's writing is immersive, and research so well done about WWII and the Soviet regime at the height of the Cold War. I enjoyed the dual time lines and alternating points of view which gave me an insiders' view about these two incredibly inspiring women who have made sacrifices, and have suffered tremendous losses.

This is a definite must read for any historical fiction reader.

Was this review helpful?

A dual timeline story set in post ww2 Russia and 1980s US. In Vienna, Ingrid loses everything and everyone after the war, marrying a man on the rise in the Russian bureaucracy. She moves her life to Russia and grapples with living in a repressive society. The details for this era are a good reminder of what Russia must have been like in that era. In the 1980s a young Russian student is living in DC and getting her college education via a special program for Russian students. Wonderful storytelling.

Was this review helpful?

It took me a bit to get into this novel split between the perspectives of the first and second Cold War eras. But when I did, I couldn't put it down.

Reay is a master storyteller, but it's always the family relationships in her books that make me teary-eyed.

I didn't see the ending coming, but I loved each heroine and was in awe of the part she played.

A must-read for lovers of historical fiction.

Was this review helpful?

This is such a great book and I loved it! It is well crafted, detailed and emotional. Katherine Reay writes parallel narratives about women spies in Moscow that are both interesting. Although it's a sad story, it also carries a message of hope and human determination. I highly recommend this!

Was this review helpful?

I took my time reading this story simply because I wanted to savor and enjoy the adventure. I found myself thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it. I enjoyed the two time periods and how they connected at the end. The present day was a little more interesting but I think its because it happened during my lifetime. I enjoyed getting to know Ingrid and Anya. The felt very real to me.
I loved all the spy stuff in this book. It was fascinating.
The story is written from the perspective of Ingrid and Anya who grew up in Russia. It really gave me a different perspective on how they lived in Russia under soviet control. It was fascinating and the story really brought history to life.
This thought from Anya really stuck with me. It made me appreciate the freedoms i have.

"I’ve learned that Americans are hard in ways I couldn’t have imagined and find absolutely exhausting. To have all these constitutionally protected freedoms is enviable, but it also means you have to respect them, uphold them, and fight for them. "
"The whole thing takes strength—the illusory peace that conformity brings has no place here. Here peace and freedom rest on Americans’ ability to live in tension and to discuss, debate, and refine. To live like that takes constant commitment and energy—every opinion, every decision, every day. :

I know that this story is fiction but i have no doubt that there were many men and women who put their life on the line for their beliefs.

I cannot wait to read more stories by Katherine Reay.
I recommend this to my family and friends.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

This book has sat on my shelf unread for far too long. At first, I couldn't bring myself to read it because then it would be over (IYKYK), but also because I knew it would take more of my heart than I had ready to give. Sometimes books come to you in their own time, and this one is one I'm glad I saved until now, when I could truly savor it.

Because of this story, I better understand freedom. I value the ability to make my own choices even more strongly. I better comprehend what life was like for my parents, growing up during the cold war. That term didn't make sense to me...until Katherine Reay explained it to me.

Ingrid and Anya exemplify the kind of quietly courageous women that the world often overlooks--because they fade into the background on purpose. They don't ask for fame, glory, or money to save the world--they do it because they have an inherent need to do what is right. And though mistakes are made along the way, the choice to follow their heart is one that doesn't hold regrets.

Five HUGE stars. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: