by Beatriz Williams
Published by HarperCollins
Release Date: June 1st 2021
Format Read: ARC, eBook
The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion.
In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digbys defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets?
Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digbys from behind the Iron Curtain.
But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet KGB officer forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and Our Woman in Moscow is surprisingly the first book by Beatriz Williams I’ve read. I was especially intrigued by Williams’ usage of actual Cold War espionage characters and events. Though Williams uses some dual timeline structuring that is extremely common in historical fiction, I found it refreshing that the dual timelines start out within 2 decades of each other and eventually come together in the more-present timeline. I also found the sister dynamic and separation between Ruth and Iris really well done.
This book was a bit of a chore for me to read though, especially in the first 70% – the pacing was extremely slow and I thought there were many details or parts that could have been left out or edited better. For a 400+ page book, I would also expect less plot holes. The ending was a bit confusing and there are still many unanswered questions – maybe this is setting up for a sequel, but I feel like there could have been better closure. And this is likely personal preference, but I honestly found Iris to be extremely naïve and a bit annoying and didn’t find that her character growth was demonstrated enough to make me believe that she would have been able to pull off her ending.
Marie loves finding strangers reading her favorite books, it truly seems like the books are recommending people as potential friends. By day she works in healthcare technology product marketing, but can always be found amongst the streets of Boston with a book or her Kindle in hand. Reading is one of her greatest passions and she has an appreciation for all genres – favorites include business non-fiction, contemporary, historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Since most strangers frown upon being interrupted reading their book, and if it’s one of Marie’s favorites they’re probably super absorbed into it, she enjoys supporting her local bookish community and writing reviews and making recommendations to those who are looking to explore books that might be a bit out of their comfort zone.