Author: Karin Tanabe

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press/MacMillan Audio

Publication Date: July 20th, 2021

Book Description: 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.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: Set in post World War II in New York City we meet Katharina Edgeworth. She is a Columbia graduate, who worked for the United Nations during the war and now is married to a doctor with two young sons.

Katharina is struggling as a wife and mother and she is looking for something to complete her life. When a series of events causes a major rift between her and her husband, she takes on a task that she must hide from everyone she knows.

Using a former relationship she had in college, the FBI asks her to pose as a communist and infiltrate the KGB in New York City. With many risks she takes this on with much gusto.

This is at heart a historical fiction, but yet this story is so much more. This is a feminist story, with Katharina who wants to break the mold for the typical woman of this time. This was a story, that takes on topic that I found is not normally written about. Tanabe writes a strong heroine, and tells a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Posted by:Lauren A.

You really can say I am an obsessed reader as I read 200-300 books per year. I love Literary Fiction, Memoirs (I don't really care what kind), Mysteries and Thrillers. Once in awhile I will thrown in some YA and Romance. When I am not reading, I am a Sales Engineer for a software company, and I take care of my three cats with my husband. I love music, which my college degree is in. Looking forward to share my thoughts on all things reading.

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