Author: Anna Pitoniak
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction/Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 15, 2022
Book Description: A mysterious First Lady. The intrepid journalist writing her biography. And the secret that could destroy them both.
Tired of covering the grating dysfunction of Washington and the increasingly outrageous antics of President Henry Caine, White House correspondent Sofie Morse quits her job and plans to leave politics behind. But when she gets a call from the office of First Lady Lara Caine, asking Sofie to come in for a private meeting with Lara, her curiosity is piqued. Sofie, like the rest of the world, knows little about Lara—only that Lara was born in Soviet Russia, raised in Paris, and worked as a model before moving to America and marrying the notoriously brash future president.
When Lara asks Sofie to write her official biography, and to finally fill in the gaps of her history, Sofie’s curiosity gets the better of her. She begins to spend more and more time in the White House, slowly developing a bond with Lara who, to Sofie’s surprise, is entirely candid about her mysterious past. The First Lady doesn’t hesitate to speak about her beloved father’s work as an undercover KGB officer in Paris—and how he wasn’t the only person in her family working undercover during the Cold War.
As her story unfolds, Sofie can’t help but wonder why Lara Caine is rehashing such sensitive information. Why to her? And why now?
For fans of THE SECRETS THEY KEPT and AMERICAN WIFE, OUR AMERICAN FRIEND is a propulsive Cold War era spy thriller crossed with a fictional biography of a First Lady. Spanning from the 1970s to the present day, traveling from Moscow and Paris to Washington and New York, Anna Pitoniak’s novel is a gripping page-turner about power and complicity and how sometimes, the fate of the world is in the hands of the people you’d never expect.
Rating: 4 Stars
Mini Review: This is the third book I have read from this author. While the first two were less than stellar for me, this one hit the spot. Lara Caine is the First Lady of the United States born in Russia. Her husband, an oil tycoon, has just been reelected as President, which divides the country.
Enter Sofie, a White House reporter who resigns right after the election. Lara Caine contacts her and asks her to write her biography. There is only one gotcha, everything she says must be part of the biography, no separate reporting on anything she says.
They enter a close relationship, where Lara talks of her time in Russia, and Paris leading to the reveal of her biggest secret, leaving Sofie reeling, and having to make choices that affect this book and her life with her husband.
I could not put this book down. So many secrets and intricacies go into this story. It is a fun ride to be on. The author did a wonderful job putting all the pieces together of this book.
Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.