Woman of Intelligence
by Tanabe, Karin

A former translator at the United Nations who has become a bored 1950s housewife is asked to join the FBI as an informant after a man from her past has become a high-level Soviet spy. 60,000 first printing.

KARIN TANABE is the author of six novels, including A Hundred Suns and The Gilded Years (soon to be a major motion picture starring Zendaya, who will produce alongside Reese Witherspoon/Hello Sunshine). A former Politico reporter, her writing has also been featured in The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She has appeared as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and CBS Early Show. A graduate of Vassar College, Karin lives in Washington, DC.

A well-off young mother is recruited as an undercover agent by the FBI in this historical thriller. Post-World War II New York is a great place to be young and single, if you're Katharina West. The multilingual Columbia graduate lands a dream job as a translator at the U.N. and spends nights and weekends with her girl squad downing cocktails and entertaining suitors. For Rina, that ends when she marries Tom Edgeworth, an impossibly handsome, charming, rich pediatric surgeon. A few years later, Rina is ensconced in a swell Fifth Avenue apartment, she's the mother of two little boys, and she's miserable. The babies overwhelm her, and Tom has become a workaholic bully who expects her to have no life beyond her family. She's drinking a lot. One day after she has a public meltdown, she's approached by Lee Coldwell, an FBI agent with an interesting proposition. Jacob Gornev, an old college beau of hers, is a communist and Soviet agent. Would she like to help the FBI investigate him? To Rina, this sounds like even more fun than her U.N. job, and in the midst of the 1950s Red Scare, she feels she'd be doing her patriotic duty-so what if it involves lying to her husband? Seeing Jacob again stirs up old feelings, but she's even more stirred by Turner Wells, an undercover FBI agent who, he tells Rina, is "only the tenth Negro they ever let play the game." The game, though, will turn deadly, as such games do. Tanabe crafts the historical setting convincingly, and, although the dialogue can sometimes veer toward mini lectures, the novel moves at a brisk pace even as she weaves together the stories of Rina's domestic dilemmas and her adventures as an undercover agent. Perhaps the most subversive thing about the twinned stories is this: how well the masks and performances Rina puts on as wife and mother prepare her for the world of espionage. Being a traditional 1950s wife and mother turns out to be perfect training for spycraft. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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