Secretaries turned spies, love and duty, and sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.



Audiobook review

3 stars


It was not really the spy story that kept my attention but rather the unknown fact to me that Doctor Zhivago, a romance novel and Nobel prize was such a threat for the Soviet regime!

This is not a spy book by the way! More something akin to romance or woman’s fiction.

We follow different characters:

The Typists, sort of “off voice” narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and that gives a kind of glue or sentient POV to the story. She represents “the typists” as a whole.

Sally Forrester’s voice, seasoned spy that will be used by the men behind the agency.

Irina, the newbie in the secretary pools that will be soon turned into master spy under to Sally’s tutelage.

Teddy, member of the CIA and soon Irina’s fiancé.

Boris Pasternak, poet, writer, Russian and author of doctor Zhivago.  Indomitable, defiant.

Boris’s mistress Olga who will pay for his rebellious ways by going to a work camp and living in fear most of her life.


What was extremely interesting was the idea that this book, and a romance at that, was such a   political weapon.

If all the ingredients were presents to make it a great book, it never really took off for me and felt a little bit “cold”. I gues this was a case of it’s not the book, it’s me.


Have you read it? What did you think of it?


Thanks for reading!



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  1. I didn’t know that about Dr. Zhivago either. I remember as a kid my parents really liked that movie- I don’t think I’ve ever seen the whole thing!

  2. My name actually came from Doctor Zhivago. My parents saw it at the theater a year or two before I was born and my father liked the name so much that he decided to name me that. I didn’t see the movie until I was in my early 20’s and I was bored senseless. LOL