From “a master of historical fiction” (NPR), Karin Tanabe’s A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating tale of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of the FBI.
A Fifth Avenue address, parties at the Plaza, two healthy sons, and the ideal husband: what looks like a perfect life for Katharina Edgeworth is anything but. It’s 1954, and the post-war American dream has become a nightmare.
A born and bred New Yorker, Katharina is the daughter of immigrants, Ivy-League-educated, and speaks four languages. As a single girl in 1940s Manhattan, she is a translator at the newly formed United Nations, devoting her days to her work and the promise of world peace – and her nights to cocktails and the promise of a good time.
Now the wife of a beloved pediatric surgeon and heir to a shipping fortune, Katharina is trapped in a gilded cage, desperate to escape the constraints of domesticity. So when she is approached by the FBI and asked to join their ranks as an informant, Katharina seizes the opportunity. A man from her past has become a high-level Soviet spy, but no one has been able to infiltrate his circle. Enter Katharina, the perfect woman for the job.
Navigating the demands of the FBI and the secrets of the KGB, she becomes a courier, carrying stolen government documents from D.C. to Manhattan. But as those closest to her lose their covers, and their lives, Katharina’s secret soon threatens to ruin her.
With the fast-paced twists of a classic spy thriller, and a nuanced depiction of female experience, A Woman of Intelligence shimmers with intrigue and desire.
Katharina works as a translator for the United Nations. She gives it all up to become a wife and a mother. However, she is just not happy. She loves her family but her life is missing something. Because of her life before, she is on the FBI’s radar. She is approached to become an informant on the movement of communists in the area. She jumps at the chance.
Katharina is a unique character for this time period. Not many women worked in the 1950s. I love strong women characters but Katharina fell a bit short. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why. She is a bit whiny…aren’t we all at some time. And for her to be so strong…she sure did not have much of a backbone with her husband. I wanted to pinch his ear off.
All of that being said, I did enjoy this novel. I loved the intrigue and the spy game. And when Katharina finally found her voice…stand back!
Jennifer Jill Araya does a fabulous job as narrator. She has the perfect inflection and emotion. I will definitely be on the look out for her in the future!
Need an all around good book! THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.