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Our Woman in Moscow: A gripping, spell-binding historical spy fiction novel

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The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.” In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.” In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digbys defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets? Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digbys from behind the Iron Curtain. But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet agent forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties.


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The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.” In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.” In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digbys defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets? Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digbys from behind the Iron Curtain. But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet agent forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties.

30 review for Our Woman in Moscow: A gripping, spell-binding historical spy fiction novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    “Our Woman in Moscow” is a cold war thriller based loosely on the Cambridge Five, which was a ring of spies who passed information to Russia during and right after WWII. The novel centers around twin sisters, Ruth, and Iris Macallister. Ruth runs a modeling agency while Iris fell in love with an American diplomat. Iris and her family go missing in 1948 with suspicions arising that Iris’s husband defected to Moscow. In 1952, Ruth receives an unexpected postcard from Iris, stating that she is expe “Our Woman in Moscow” is a cold war thriller based loosely on the Cambridge Five, which was a ring of spies who passed information to Russia during and right after WWII. The novel centers around twin sisters, Ruth, and Iris Macallister. Ruth runs a modeling agency while Iris fell in love with an American diplomat. Iris and her family go missing in 1948 with suspicions arising that Iris’s husband defected to Moscow. In 1952, Ruth receives an unexpected postcard from Iris, stating that she is expecting another child and needs her sister. It’s unexpected because Ruth and Iris are estranged, having no contact with each other in years. The story is broken into two timeframes, with 1952 and Ruth trying to get to her sister, and the years leading up to Iris’s situation. Shortly after receiving her postcard, Ruth meets a counterintelligence agent, Sumner Fox; Fox persuades Ruth into going to Moscow to smuggle Iris home to the USA. Author Beatriz Williams uses snappy dialogue for Ruth, which adds fun to the espionage tale. Ruth is the perfect narrator for this female driven thriller. I’m a fan of novels showcasing strong women and unsuspectingly strong women. This was a fun and satisfying read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    How can I explain that I was so involved in this book that it was almost hypnotic? I love the books I’ve read by Beatriz Williams, every single book she has written. This novel doesn’t disappoint. Williams transports us back to 1952 and the Cold War. Somehow, through all these books, there is a strand that ties the characters together. Usually it is the Schuyler family relationship, but here there are many sly winks to earlier novels (yes, the Greenwald and Marshall connections). Iris and Ruth a How can I explain that I was so involved in this book that it was almost hypnotic? I love the books I’ve read by Beatriz Williams, every single book she has written. This novel doesn’t disappoint. Williams transports us back to 1952 and the Cold War. Somehow, through all these books, there is a strand that ties the characters together. Usually it is the Schuyler family relationship, but here there are many sly winks to earlier novels (yes, the Greenwald and Marshall connections). Iris and Ruth are twins, separated for years, but still sharing a strong bond. When Iris realizes the danger of her life as a defector, living in Russia, she manages to contact her sister Ruth. With the help of Sumner Fox, the super-hero in this novel, Ruth winds up in Russia....and thereby hangs this wonderful tale. There was a survey on PBS asking which novels would make excellent series,; I certainly recommended novels by Williams. In fact, these books would make for many delightful seasons of drama. Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity of reviewing a novel by one of my favorite authors.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    In 1952, Iris and Ruth are non-identical twins who have been estranged for 12 years. Ruth runs a model agency in New York. Iris, her Communist-sympathizer husband Sasha and their children vanished in 1948 and it is suspected that they defected to Russia. Now an American counterintelligence agent has become very interested in tracking down Sasha and he asks Ruth for information about the possible whereabouts of her sister. I enjoyed this book more than I expected since I have not liked this autho In 1952, Iris and Ruth are non-identical twins who have been estranged for 12 years. Ruth runs a model agency in New York. Iris, her Communist-sympathizer husband Sasha and their children vanished in 1948 and it is suspected that they defected to Russia. Now an American counterintelligence agent has become very interested in tracking down Sasha and he asks Ruth for information about the possible whereabouts of her sister. I enjoyed this book more than I expected since I have not liked this author in the past. It was a nice, twisty spy story with Russian, American and British spies, counterspies and handlers. The book was enhanced by Ruth’s acerbic, irreverent personality. Iris and Sasha were pretty limp, but they held some surprises.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    This book isn't out until June 1, but it is so incredible that I had to tell you about it now! In 1948, Iris Digby, a woman mysteriously disappears from London to Moscow with her American diplomat husband and two children. Four years later, Iris' estranged sister receives a postcard from her and heads to the Soviet Union under an assumed identity to try to extract Iris and her family from behind the Iron Curtain. Original and suspenseful, a sure add to your TBR pile! This book isn't out until June 1, but it is so incredible that I had to tell you about it now! In 1948, Iris Digby, a woman mysteriously disappears from London to Moscow with her American diplomat husband and two children. Four years later, Iris' estranged sister receives a postcard from her and heads to the Soviet Union under an assumed identity to try to extract Iris and her family from behind the Iron Curtain. Original and suspenseful, a sure add to your TBR pile!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Jenkins Reid

    Four years after Iris and her family mysteriously disappeared from their London home, her twin sister Ruth receives a letter from her. Days later Ruth is traveling to Moscow with a risky plan to try and rescue the family from behind the Iron Curtain. I loved it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    If you have never read any of the books by Beatriz Williams you will wonder what took you so long, and if you are a longtime fan of the author you cannot wait to get your hands on her newest works. I must admit to be in the former category and have come way now wanting to go back and read her prior works. This is a book that is based, in part, on the Cambridge Spy Ring that notoriously passed along secret information to the Soviet Union before many of those same people defected to the USSR. And If you have never read any of the books by Beatriz Williams you will wonder what took you so long, and if you are a longtime fan of the author you cannot wait to get your hands on her newest works. I must admit to be in the former category and have come way now wanting to go back and read her prior works. This is a book that is based, in part, on the Cambridge Spy Ring that notoriously passed along secret information to the Soviet Union before many of those same people defected to the USSR. And why espionage and spy novels have become sort of old hat, I find that Beatriz Williams has put a new and fresh take on this fascinating time period in her newest historical fiction book. To begin with, the story is told in alternating chapters by two sisters: Ruth Macalister and Iris Macalister Digby, with a few chapters written from the point of view of a KGB agent in Moscow. Not only do the chapters alternate between the sisters points of view, the book also rocks back and forth between 1940, 1948 & 1952. Ruth Macalister is a former model turned modeling agency executive, while sister Iris is married to Sasha Digby, a former US diplomat who is an avowed Communist and whom from the very beginning you figure is not all he appears to be. All three of these characters meet while the brother of the Macalister’s is posted in Rome prior to the outbreak of WW2. Dinner parties and social gatherings abound and eventually after the outbreak of the war Ruth returns to New York, while Iris remains and marries Sasha and follows him on his diplomatic postings throughout the world. After the war Sasha defects to Russia and Iris follows her husband. These are all the basic facts one needs to know other than that one day both Ruth and her aunt receive postcards from Iris asking that Ruth come to Moscow to help Iris with her 4th pregnancy. Iris has had 3 full term children, all with difficulties, and 2 miscarriages and eventually, despite the rift that occurred when Iris defected, Ruth is talked into going to aid her sister thanks to Sumner Fox, an FBI agent who goes along and poses as Ruth’s husband. The book traces the sisters relationship, the events that led to Iris following Sasha to Russia, Sasha’s spying for the Russians, and the efforts of Ruth and Sumner to extract Iris from Russia. It is a well written book, that brims with details the author has gleaned from extensive research into the Cambridge spy ring, and some of the individuals who were part of that and whose names and experiences we no longer remember. Character development is really well done in this book, especially with using the alternating chapter viewpoints, and using a period of 12 years so that we feel we know these characters so very well, but there are twists and turns and it makes the book a fast and enjoyable read. This book may be one of the top Historical Fiction offerings of 2021 and you want to get onboard for this wonderful work by Beatriz Williams, a book filled with strong women characters who will captivate readers of all ages and genders!

  7. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    In 1952, twin sisters Iris Digby and Ruth Macallister have not spoken in 12 years. Ruth is working at a modeling agency in New York City. She is visited by Sumner Fox of the FBI who is asking about the whereabout of Iris and if she’s heard from her sister. Ruth finally admits that she has recently received correspondence from Iris, who is living in Moscow, indicating that she needs her help. The story takes us back to 1940, when Iris meets and marries Sasha Digby, a U.S. diplomat with communist In 1952, twin sisters Iris Digby and Ruth Macallister have not spoken in 12 years. Ruth is working at a modeling agency in New York City. She is visited by Sumner Fox of the FBI who is asking about the whereabout of Iris and if she’s heard from her sister. Ruth finally admits that she has recently received correspondence from Iris, who is living in Moscow, indicating that she needs her help. The story takes us back to 1940, when Iris meets and marries Sasha Digby, a U.S. diplomat with communist beliefs. She discovers he is a spy for the Russians. In 1948, the couple and their children defect to the Soviet Union. By 1952, the KGB believes that one of their agents has betrayed them and the diabolically evil Lyudmilla Ivanova is charged with uncovering the mole. Acting as a married couple, Ruth and Sumner head to Moscow to rescue Iris. Let the action begin. Beatriz Williams’ latest historical fiction is a bit different from her other novels as it a spy thriller. Our Woman in Moscow was inspired by the Cambridge Five, the notorious British espionage ring and several of its members appear in the book. It’s an ambitious effort that works well most of the time. There is so much going on with the time periods going back and forth that it can get a bit overwhelming. But as we’ve come to expect from Williams, there are strong female characters to root for and overall, the writing is excellent. Plus, we get a welcome appearance from members of the omnipresent Schuyler family (no worries if this your first Williams book, no prior knowledge of the family is needed although the more of her books you read, you’ll get to know the family.) If you’re looking for a book to transport you to another time and place and fully engage you, look no further. Rated 4.25 stars. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    I've had a bit of a love/meh relationship with Beatriz Williams's books for years. She started out strong, with some fun, soapy historical fiction, but then it started to feel as though she was more focused on teasing readers with callbacks and setting up sequels than telling good stories — meaning many of her books failed to be more than just average for me. Still, I kept reading because I knew there were some real gems along the way. Thankfully, Our Woman in Moscow is probably her best to date I've had a bit of a love/meh relationship with Beatriz Williams's books for years. She started out strong, with some fun, soapy historical fiction, but then it started to feel as though she was more focused on teasing readers with callbacks and setting up sequels than telling good stories — meaning many of her books failed to be more than just average for me. Still, I kept reading because I knew there were some real gems along the way. Thankfully, Our Woman in Moscow is probably her best to date. Set in the early days of the Cold War, this novel follows two sisters who get tangled up in the world of spies and double agents. In 1952, Ruth McAllister receives a postcard from her twin sister, Iris, who she hasn't spoken to since 1940—and who disappeared from her London flat along with her diplomat husband and young child in 1948. The family is now in Moscow and Iris needs her sister's help getting out. Of course, nothing is as straightforward as it seems, and there are plenty of twists and turns as Williams slowly reveals how Iris ended up in Moscow and how Iris, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox, goes in after her. While it's not always easy to follow all of the espionage threads, Our Woman in Moscow is significantly more accessible than a John LeCarre novel while staying just as unpredictable. In many ways, Ruth feels like a rehash of most of Williams's other heroines (a sassy, no-nonsense woman who plays by her own rules? you don't say), but the plot is fresh enough that I didn't lose interest. It was also helpful that callbacks here were kept minimal: though Vivian Schuyler does make an appearance as Ruth and Iris's aunt, Williams does take the time here to focus on resolving the story at hand without requiring knowledge or memory of her previous books. But don't worry. There's still just enough left unresolved that it's easy to see a sequel coming — this is Beatriz Williams, after all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    4.5/5 I may not have read many novels by her yet, but Beatriz Williams is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, especially when it comes to historical fiction. Our Woman in Moscow was just what I would expect from her, and I am not surprised that I loved it. This is a story about both espionage and family, and the combination of the two oddly made it the perfect read. The KGB is something I haven't had a chance to read about in a historical fiction novel until now, and I really liked the K 4.5/5 I may not have read many novels by her yet, but Beatriz Williams is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, especially when it comes to historical fiction. Our Woman in Moscow was just what I would expect from her, and I am not surprised that I loved it. This is a story about both espionage and family, and the combination of the two oddly made it the perfect read. The KGB is something I haven't had a chance to read about in a historical fiction novel until now, and I really liked the KGB officer's viewpoint. It added more to the story and I thought it created quite a bit of suspense. I especially loved the author's note at the end where Williams talks about how she got the idea to write this book, well more like the itch that made her NEED to write it. I have read one other novel about spies but didn't love it near as much as I loved Our Woman in Moscow. There is just something about this author's writing that really sucks you in and it makes you not want to stop until the very end. And who would I be without talking about the audiobook which is narrated by Nicola Barber & Cassandra Campbell. Two amazing narrators and they were the perfect duo to narrate this book. I love them both individually, and together they were great for bringing the story to life and giving the characters a voice. I also enjoyed the multiple viewpoints and time periods that end up coming together to give the reader a full picture of both past and present. Our Woman in Moscow ended up giving me a few surprises as well which is something I ADORE about Williams' novels. I always know that things won't always end the way you think they will, and she will throw you a few curveballs but curveballs that make perfect sense. The relationship between Iris and Ruth was turbulent at times, but I thought they were written so well and definitely very realistic. If you are a fan of historical fiction and haven't read a book by Beatriz Williams yet you are truly missing out. They are on the longer side but go quick, and this one had super short chapters which made it fly by. Bottom line read Our Woman in Moscow and you won't be sorry. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    cluedupreader

    If you can't resist picking up this book because Beatriz Williams (!), then at least read the Author's Note in the back matter first. It explains the frazzled plot. It helps additionally to brush up on the Cold War (to avoid a disruptive reading experience from "having" to google left and right), since it is assumed that we readers know the historical context. Instead, the novel contains some background on the arts, and is laden with superfluous details (I was surprised we aren't given the stair If you can't resist picking up this book because Beatriz Williams (!), then at least read the Author's Note in the back matter first. It explains the frazzled plot. It helps additionally to brush up on the Cold War (to avoid a disruptive reading experience from "having" to google left and right), since it is assumed that we readers know the historical context. Instead, the novel contains some background on the arts, and is laden with superfluous details (I was surprised we aren't given the stair count when the characters depart the church). It is no more a character- than plot-driven story, since nothing propels it after the intriguing opening, but the focus is on the characters—or, more specifically, on their physical features (spoiler: mostly everyone's skin is/turns pale and is/turns rosy or pink at the cheeks or ears). Not even the sex scenes sizzle up this fizzle. A letdown from the bestselling author whose live chat about this novel had me fascinated. The actual material did not. --- Thank you to William Morrow for an advance reader copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    4.5 well deserved stars. Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams was based on the actual activities and events of The Cambridge Five. The names of these five notorious men in Great Britain “are as synonymous with treason as Benedict Arnold’s is in the United States”. Two of the five are actually submerged in the plot of Our Woman in Moscow. They are Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. All of The Cambridge Five were recruited by the Soviet spy agency NKVD which later became the KGB in the 1930’s. The 4.5 well deserved stars. Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams was based on the actual activities and events of The Cambridge Five. The names of these five notorious men in Great Britain “are as synonymous with treason as Benedict Arnold’s is in the United States”. Two of the five are actually submerged in the plot of Our Woman in Moscow. They are Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. All of The Cambridge Five were recruited by the Soviet spy agency NKVD which later became the KGB in the 1930’s. The Cambridge Five spied for the Soviet Union for over two decades. All of its members were distinguished members of the British Intelligence Agency or part of the diplomatic corps. Over the course of those twenty somewhat years they made the Soviet Union privy to information and secrets about negotiating points of Yalta, the minutes taken and all the papers from the Atomic Energy Commission and classified secrets about the nuclear program. This last disclosure led the Soviet Union to be able to design their own nuclear weapons. These leaks also resulted in an upset between the United States and Great Britain’s spy networks. Beatriz Williams loosely portrayed the marriage of Donald and Melinda Maclean with the fictional married characters in Our Woman in Moscow. The real Donald and Melinda Maclean had a complex marriage based on deception. Melinda portrayed herself as an unassuming and not very bright wife with little to no ambition other than being a housewife and mother. With that guise, Melinda was able to orchestrate Donald’s defection to the Soviet Union while she was eight and a half months pregnant. Melinda and her children joined her husband in the Soviet Union two years later. All of this research and information led Beatriz Williams to write her latest novel, Our Woman in Moscow. Iris and Ruth Macallister were twin sisters but they were as different from one another as only sisters could be and yet they were extremely close. Ruth was always the prettier of the two sisters with her blond curls and outgoing personality. Iris processed dark frizzy curls, pale chubby legs and a quiet demeanor. Ruth always had something clever to add to a conversation and was the twin everyone noticed first. Ruth and Iris lost their mother at a young age and then Ruth discovered her father after he committed suicide not long after their mother’s death. The sisters had been brought up by their aunt and uncle and then when they were old enough moved back to their family’s apartment on Sutton Place in New York City. When Iris and Ruth turned twenty two years old, during the spring of 1940, they traveled to Rome, Italy where their brother Harry was working in the U.S. Embassy. Harry processed visas at the embassy for anxious Jews trying to escape Italy. It was during their stay in Rome that Iris met Sasha Digby. For Iris, it was almost like love at first sight. Sasha worked at the U.S. Embassy with her brother, Harry. Sasha’s character was meant to resemble that of Donald Maclean. Even his physical features were described and matched those of the real Donald Maclean. Sasha Digby swept Iris off her feet. She could not resist his alluring blue eyes and tantalizing grin. They began to see one another and in a conversation Sasha admitted to Iris that he was sympathetic toward the Communists. Iris found that she was so attracted to Sasha and could not say no to his sexual advances. Iris was falling in love with Sasha. Just as Italy was about to enter the war, Iris and Ruth were warned to leave Rome as soon as they could. Iris knew she could not leave Sasha. She also suspected that she might be pregnant. Iris begged Ruth to stay with her but Ruth had secrets of her own. Ruth refused and the two sisters had a terrible fight. Ruth left Italy and returned to New York. That would be the last time Ruth would see her sister for twelve long years. In the Fall of 1948 Iris, Sasha and their two sons disappeared from their London home where they had been living. No one knew for sure whether they had been eliminated by the Soviet Union or if the had simply defected to Moscow. It would be twelve years until Ruth would hear from Iris again. When she did, she received a post card that begged Ruth to come to Moscow. It was a cry for help. Iris needed Ruth to come to the Soviet Union and assist her with her third birth. Ruth teamed up with counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox to save her sister and the children and get them out of Moscow. Would their attempts work? Could Ruth save her sister and her children? Our Woman in Moscow was a gripping story of espionage and family drama. The plot was actually woven around the real events of the true story about The Cambridge Five. Two different time lines were used to tell the story. Part of the story took place during the 1940’s and the other part was during the early 1950’s. It was told from the perspective of three distinct narrators, Iris, Ruth and Lyudmila Ivanovo, a member of the Russian Secret Intelligence Service. Lyudmila had two rules that she followed religiously. The first rule was not to attract attention to herself and her second rule was not to trust anyone. The story shifted effortlessly between scenes of spying and one’s of family drama. Our Woman in Moscow was well written and researched by author, Beatriz Williams. I have read several of Beatriz Williams’ books over the years and I have come to enjoy her books very much. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to William Morrow/ Harper Collins Publishers for sending me an ARC of Our Woman In Moscow in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Such a splendid book by the Historical Fiction Queen, Beatriz Williams. Her novels never disappoint, with delectable settings, fully-fleshed characters and intriguing tales. I love that OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW is set during the Cold War, an era I lived partially through and remember well. Here, twin sisters Iris and Ruth find their lives at stake as Ruth travels to Moscow to extract Iris and her husband. A KBG officer dogs them, as they’re forced to make a choice with heartbreaking consequences. You Such a splendid book by the Historical Fiction Queen, Beatriz Williams. Her novels never disappoint, with delectable settings, fully-fleshed characters and intriguing tales. I love that OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW is set during the Cold War, an era I lived partially through and remember well. Here, twin sisters Iris and Ruth find their lives at stake as Ruth travels to Moscow to extract Iris and her husband. A KBG officer dogs them, as they’re forced to make a choice with heartbreaking consequences. You won’t be able to put this down! 5 of 5 Pages Pub Date 01 Jun 2021 #OurWomaninMoscow #NetGalley Thanks to the author, William Morrow and Custom House, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I recently read "Her Last Flight" by this author, which I liked. When I saw the reviews for this book, I thought there must be something wrong with me. I did not enjoy this book. I liked the premise, but the story wandered so much, I lost interest. If I had not been able to listen to it at double speed, I probably would not have finished it. I feel like I missed something and should try again, based on all of the 4 and 5 star reviews this book received. Maybe I will try to get a physical copy an I recently read "Her Last Flight" by this author, which I liked. When I saw the reviews for this book, I thought there must be something wrong with me. I did not enjoy this book. I liked the premise, but the story wandered so much, I lost interest. If I had not been able to listen to it at double speed, I probably would not have finished it. I feel like I missed something and should try again, based on all of the 4 and 5 star reviews this book received. Maybe I will try to get a physical copy and give it another chance. The story seemed to end abruptly and I can't even remember what happened. I am left feeling perplexed and disappointed. I think I gave it 3 stars out of guilt. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This is a fabulous book. I thought it was going to be another World War 2 book and despite how much I love Beatriz Williams, I was worried cuz I'm sort of burnt out on WW 2 books.... But this is actually a family drama with a twist in that the story of the Cambridge Spy ring is intertwined into it. I'd never heard of this spy ring before, but they did exist. It's a great read with a great ending! Enjoy it.... This is a fabulous book. I thought it was going to be another World War 2 book and despite how much I love Beatriz Williams, I was worried cuz I'm sort of burnt out on WW 2 books.... But this is actually a family drama with a twist in that the story of the Cambridge Spy ring is intertwined into it. I'd never heard of this spy ring before, but they did exist. It's a great read with a great ending! Enjoy it....

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    4.5 Full review to come. Thank you to William Morrow books for my gifted copy!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amina

    This is a story of Cold War espionage based loosely on true life events. It's a sweet concoction of intrigue, mystery, and romance. It had me thinking about the tv show Americans with the same backdrop. Iris and Ruth Mcallister are twin sisters. Ruth runs a modeling agency and Iris falls in love with an American Diplomat. When Iris and her family go missing in 1948 conspiracies emerge that her husband is a spy. Ruth and Iris have not been in contact for almost 12 years. Suddenly and unexpectedly This is a story of Cold War espionage based loosely on true life events. It's a sweet concoction of intrigue, mystery, and romance. It had me thinking about the tv show Americans with the same backdrop. Iris and Ruth Mcallister are twin sisters. Ruth runs a modeling agency and Iris falls in love with an American Diplomat. When Iris and her family go missing in 1948 conspiracies emerge that her husband is a spy. Ruth and Iris have not been in contact for almost 12 years. Suddenly and unexpectedly Ruth receives a postcard from Iris asking her help with the impending delivery of her child. Thus the story unravels as Ruth tries to find her sister with the help of counterintelligence agent Summer Fox. This is the first time I've picked up a book by Beatriz Williams. I enjoyed her fast paced dialogue and quick wit designed for the character of Ruth. The delicate and precise dedication to the sister's stories was empowering as the story unfolded. I was drawn to the strong female driven characters' and their resilience in treacherous and dangerous times. My only caveat was that Our Woman in Moscow, like many books these days, waltzes back and forth between characters and timelines. This can sometimes create confusion between plots and stories. Nonetheless, it was an unexpected and exciting read. I give this wonderful spy book 4/5 stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A Creative Story of Family Drama and Espionage SUMMARY Iris and Ruth are twin sisters and spending the summer of 1940 with their brother, a foreign diplomat in Rome. As war threatens, the sisters prepared to leave Italy. But Iris has fallen madly in love with Sasha Digby, a United States Embassy official, and refuses to go with her sister. She marries Sasha, and in 1948, Iris, Sasha, and their two children shockingly disappear from their London home. Did Sasha’s communist leanings cause them to de A Creative Story of Family Drama and Espionage SUMMARY Iris and Ruth are twin sisters and spending the summer of 1940 with their brother, a foreign diplomat in Rome. As war threatens, the sisters prepared to leave Italy. But Iris has fallen madly in love with Sasha Digby, a United States Embassy official, and refuses to go with her sister. She marries Sasha, and in 1948, Iris, Sasha, and their two children shockingly disappear from their London home. Did Sasha’s communist leanings cause them to defect to the Soviet Union and become Soviet citizens, or did the KGB eliminate them? Four years later, Ruth, who runs a New York modeling agency, receives a postcard from Iris asking for help. Ruth hasn’t seen or talked to Iris since they parted in Rome twelve years ago. When counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox visits Ruth, asking questions about Iris, Ruth begins to worry about her sister. Sumner and Ruth soon head to Moscow with a plan to extract the Digby’s from the Soviet Union. As the two sisters race toward freedom, they are apprehended by the KGB and forced to make an agonizing decision. REVIEW OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW was a most anticipated novel for the summer of 2021, and I understand why now that I’ve read it. Author Beatriz Williams expertly shifts between a family drama and a suspenseful espionage plot. She has captured a mesmerizing historical fiction story of a woman who brings down a Cold War spy ring. Williams uses the true story of Donald Maclean and the Cambridge Five, a British spy ring who passed large amounts of information to the Soviet Union during and after World War II as the inspiration for the novel. The story is suspenseful, and the plot is enjoyably complicated. Williams writing weaves a creative tale of family drama and espionage. The story alternates from three perspectives; Iris, Ruth, and a female KGB agent responsible for finding moles. All three of these female characters will astonish and surprise you with their courage, strength, and decisions. Narrators Nicola Barber and Cassandra Campbell's voices align perfectly with the story. Their astute delivery brings the characters to life with the right pacing for a story with a slow build. Publisher HarperAudio Published May 31, 2021 Narrated Nicola Barber, Cassandra Campbell Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Our Woman in Moscow By Beatriz Williams Beatriz Williams is an auto-buy author for me and her stories just keep getting better and better. I love everything she writes - as a master of the historical fiction genre, there is just so much heart put into this novel. I love that this has to do with espionage and the KGB, with the mysterious disappearance of Iris Digby, her husband and their children. Did she defect with America's most treasured secrets or is this deeper than what it seems? I love the d Our Woman in Moscow By Beatriz Williams Beatriz Williams is an auto-buy author for me and her stories just keep getting better and better. I love everything she writes - as a master of the historical fiction genre, there is just so much heart put into this novel. I love that this has to do with espionage and the KGB, with the mysterious disappearance of Iris Digby, her husband and their children. Did she defect with America's most treasured secrets or is this deeper than what it seems? I love the dual timeline and dual perspective of this story that is heartbreaking and heart wrenching. It is a story of sacrifice and espionage - and it is so exciting to read that it truly captures my attention. This immersive is read full or rich and historically accurate details which I appreciated and really enjoyed reading about. The writing is beautiful and so engaging I could not put this book down. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to read this mesmerizing historical fiction novel. This is fantastic and deserving of all the stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Val

    So many people told me I would love this when they saw it my current read. And they were right! This historical fiction is full of all the deception, lies, love, loyalty and intrigue I was hoping to find. This story opens with twin sisters Iris and Ruth, opposites in many ways, estranged and living in separate countries. The story is told in alternating voices and spans from 1940-1952. The Cold War- tensions with the Soviet Union could not be higher. As the book travels back in time, the reader g So many people told me I would love this when they saw it my current read. And they were right! This historical fiction is full of all the deception, lies, love, loyalty and intrigue I was hoping to find. This story opens with twin sisters Iris and Ruth, opposites in many ways, estranged and living in separate countries. The story is told in alternating voices and spans from 1940-1952. The Cold War- tensions with the Soviet Union could not be higher. As the book travels back in time, the reader gains insight into Iris and Ruth -and just how different their personalities are. Living in Rome with their brother, who works for the US Embassy, Iris meets Sasha and thus the stage is set for the event that leads the sisters to become estranged. Ruth moves back to the US and Iris stays with Sasha. The two eventually move to Moscow. Once Ruth receives a mysterious postcard from Iris, she knows something is amiss. The book then follows Ruth as she assumes a false identity in order to find her sister. I absolutely loved the subject matter. I’ve not read many like this one about the Cold War and spies- so I was completely engaged. The character development in this book is excellent. All the secondary characters are interesting and the settings are beautiful. I was sitting on the edge of my seat for the last half of the book. I loved the plot twist and the ending, which left the reader some room for interpretation. Another winner from an auto-buy author❤️ Available now- grab your copy and travel inside the world of espionage and treason. Thank you to partners @bibliolifestyle @williammorrowbooks and @authorbeatriz for the opportunity to read and review this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    The Bookend Diner

    Thank you, William Morrow Books, for gifting me a copy of Our Woman in Moscow! Genre: Historical Fiction Pub Date: 6.1.21 Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ “And what I have done this summer, I have done to repay my debit - the debt I owe her, the debt I owe to… all who came before me and saved me without knowing it.” I read my first Beatriz Williams a few years ago and I haven’t been able to stop reading her books since. She is such an insanely talented author who pours her heart and soul into each book she write Thank you, William Morrow Books, for gifting me a copy of Our Woman in Moscow! Genre: Historical Fiction Pub Date: 6.1.21 Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ “And what I have done this summer, I have done to repay my debit - the debt I owe her, the debt I owe to… all who came before me and saved me without knowing it.” I read my first Beatriz Williams a few years ago and I haven’t been able to stop reading her books since. She is such an insanely talented author who pours her heart and soul into each book she writes and her newest one. Is an example of her ability to take a story and turn it into an adventure.
 The first 120 pages are on the slower side, but that’s only because she is setting the stage for what’s to come. Everything after that makes the book unputdownable.  ⏰ Dual Timeline 👩🏽👩🏼 Dual Narrative 👀 Espionage ✈️ Adventure Williams is one of those rare authors that has a knack for bringing each of her characters to life in such an in-depth way that I can hear the tone of their voice on each page. Not only does she bring her characters to life but her story, too. Her newest book is filled with such exquisite detail that I forced myself to savor the book and take it all in. 

  21. 4 out of 5

    DeB

    Five stars! SO GOOD! I’ve certainly read about and watched documentaries about the British “Cambridge spy ring” which defected to the Soviet Union, but this book brings a completely different perspective to consider. Wives and their families: what was it like for them to be married to one of these men, and then have their lives totally uprooted, pulled away from family, were they considered, did they share the same political ideals - the whole mess! Beatriz Williams has written a smartly paced, Five stars! SO GOOD! I’ve certainly read about and watched documentaries about the British “Cambridge spy ring” which defected to the Soviet Union, but this book brings a completely different perspective to consider. Wives and their families: what was it like for them to be married to one of these men, and then have their lives totally uprooted, pulled away from family, were they considered, did they share the same political ideals - the whole mess! Beatriz Williams has written a smartly paced, intricately plotted historical imagining of this scenario peopled by real and her fabulously created cast of characters. Ruth and Iris are vastly different twin sisters whose lives swiftly separate after an Italian vacation in 1940, when Iris is swept off her feet by the gloriously charming Sasha Digby. Upon marrying him, the couple move to England where he works for British Intelligence, and Iris deals with constant upheaval, finally defecting in 1948. Ruth, meanwhile, leaves her modelling career and becomes very successful in a pseudo-managerial role for a large modelling agency. Estranged for twelve years, she receives a postcard from her sister Iris, oddly asking for her help with an upcoming birth. Ken Follett has written his share of spy thrillers and I thoroughly enjoyed them in the good old days, close on the heals of the Cold War. Our Woman in Moscow is equally thrilling and at this point of my reading journey I especially loved being immersed in the lives of the families and holding my breath until the end, hoping all would be well. For those who have read Williams previously, there is a tie-in to the illustrious Schuyler family- a bit of icing on this finely baked cake. That enhanced my reading pleasure; the novel, however, is a standout without those references. Such a pleasure to have a book which I was unable to put down!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Book Hippie

    So sorry folks this is my second book by this author and although I love the story premise and the history background of which I am well read on, it was a chore to read this book. I had to force myself to read it and that is never a good thing for me. That being said if you are a fan of this author I imagine you will love this read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Travel.with.a.book

    Once again Beatriz Williams has ascertained that she is the Queen of the Historical Fiction and hands down one of the best Writers out there. Our Woman In Moscow is a compulsive and heart-wrenching book, a little bit different from the previous books from Beatriz because besides the Historical fiction plot she has melted the spy thriller genre in a fascinating manner which is so captivating and it has gripped my brain and heart from the very first pages! . There are so many mind-blowing details a Once again Beatriz Williams has ascertained that she is the Queen of the Historical Fiction and hands down one of the best Writers out there. Our Woman In Moscow is a compulsive and heart-wrenching book, a little bit different from the previous books from Beatriz because besides the Historical fiction plot she has melted the spy thriller genre in a fascinating manner which is so captivating and it has gripped my brain and heart from the very first pages! . There are so many mind-blowing details and Beatriz has elaborated each of them in a compelling rich prose that is so substantial and very engaging! In this riveting story of love, sacrifice and fortitude Beatriz has written a new clever style of historical fiction that combines brave realism with intensely generous characters and lyrical prose! Our Woman in Moscow is set in early days of Cold War. . The book follows the twin sisters who get raveled up in a World full of spies! The story of Iris and Ruth is very emotional and intriguing, the consequences of love are so dangerous and the Author has melted a very professional approach in this entertaining, and very researched book! The background settings of different Europe countries are very fascinating and I felt in love with the magnificent dual timeline, and exquisite details. Our Woman In Moscow is my top 1 read of 2021 and I highly recommend you to read it because it really is one of the most satisfying Historical fiction you'll find!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I’m not sure what held me back from liking this more. I seem to feel the same about each of this author’s books that I have read. The book was slow to start and the love story seemed a little rushed. The history was interesting but not enough to hold my interest fully. I enjoyed this as a. Audiobook but think I might have given up on the novel version.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Curran

    Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams This is my third book from this author and I must be missing something. I found this book to be slow, too long, and jumpy. I only finished because I read this for a book club.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Entertaining & nostalgic. Something about a Beatriz William's book sets me to imagining classic movie stars playing each part. As I read this book, I pictured Lauren Bacall slinking around with a martini glass in one hand & cigarette in the other, Donna Reed as the obedient, gentle wife, and maybe Walter Pigeon, Ronald Colman & Gary Cooper as their stalwart male counterparts. What a fun listen! Was it worth an Audible credit? Absolutely! Entertaining & nostalgic. Something about a Beatriz William's book sets me to imagining classic movie stars playing each part. As I read this book, I pictured Lauren Bacall slinking around with a martini glass in one hand & cigarette in the other, Donna Reed as the obedient, gentle wife, and maybe Walter Pigeon, Ronald Colman & Gary Cooper as their stalwart male counterparts. What a fun listen! Was it worth an Audible credit? Absolutely!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In the Autumn of 1948 Iris Digby vanishes form her London home with her American Diplomate husband Sasha Digby and their two children. After four years Ruth McCallister receives a postcard form her twin sister Iris, who she hasn't seen since World War II, when Iris was in love with Sasha Digby. Ruth is desperate to find her sister. Ruth poses as the wife of Sumner Fox a counterintelligence agent. They are on a mission to take the Digby's out of Russia. Their plan goes sideways, when a KGB agent get In the Autumn of 1948 Iris Digby vanishes form her London home with her American Diplomate husband Sasha Digby and their two children. After four years Ruth McCallister receives a postcard form her twin sister Iris, who she hasn't seen since World War II, when Iris was in love with Sasha Digby. Ruth is desperate to find her sister. Ruth poses as the wife of Sumner Fox a counterintelligence agent. They are on a mission to take the Digby's out of Russia. Their plan goes sideways, when a KGB agent get wind of the escape. Never underestimate the power of a woman, that had been wronged. I never saw the end coming. I won this interesting book from Goodreads first reads. The finished book comes out in June 2021.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Literary Hoarders)

    Yikes. Wish I liked this as much as other readers. Was expecting a spy story and I wound up with twin sister drama and silly sex scenes. At the 40% mark, I gave up waiting for something to happen and started to skim. And if I heard one more unnecessary description of Digby’s aquamarine eyes, I was going to scream. Sorry - this just wasn’t for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Taury

    Wonderful book. Action Drama a little light romance. Well written about espionage and double agents in a historical fiction setting. I will look forward to reading more from this author!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I can count on one hand the number of spy novels I have read, even though I do find the topic intriguing. But I have always found them very heavy on political agenda and brimming with macho, indestructible characters that are difficult to relate to. All these fears were unfounded with OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW, which showed that spies can come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Inspired by the real life story of Donald MacLean and the Cambridge Five, a spy ring who passed on large am I can count on one hand the number of spy novels I have read, even though I do find the topic intriguing. But I have always found them very heavy on political agenda and brimming with macho, indestructible characters that are difficult to relate to. All these fears were unfounded with OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW, which showed that spies can come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Inspired by the real life story of Donald MacLean and the Cambridge Five, a spy ring who passed on large amounts of sensitive information to Russia during the cold war, Williams created a tale that was both intriguing as well as full of heart. There are no indestructible macho heroes here but real life humans with fears and flaws. In fact, it was interesting to read about the alcohol fuelled binges and extramarital affairs by the upper-class members who made up the spy ring, and their downward spiral that would ultimately be their undoing. It was equally fascinating to see what motivated these people to betray their own country for an ideal of communism that is so far removed from the stark realities of life in the Soviet Union. OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW was a book totally out of my comfort zone. I admit that I was sceptical, and struggled with the slow start to the book, which took its time to build the type of character development that turned out to be crucial to the rest of the story. But once the pawns were all set in motion and the real story began, I was hooked! Iris and Ruth’s sister relationship was a huge driving force for the story, grounding it firmly in a deeply human topic of family, love and a sense of belonging, and quiet, underrated courage. With two female leads, the story explored the topic of espionage from a completely different angle: not from the men, who are written into the history books, but the effects on their wives, their families, and the roles they played in it. I can see why Williams was fascinated with this angle, because is it not always the unspoken of heroes in history that are the most intriguing? My main gripe with history lessons was always that you rarely heard about them – the ordinary people, the ones that kept the heart of society beating, that lived and suffered thought he wars and the battles, who lost and grieved loved ones, who managed to survive against all odds. Whilst OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW has two timelines, one set at the beginning of WW2 and one in the 1950’s, it primarily focuses on the time of the cold war, a period not often encountered in historical fiction. It also features some real life characters, such as Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess, two infamous members of the Cambridge Five. And even though Ruth, Iris and Sasha are entirely fictional characters, they fitted very well into this intriguing chapter in history. Williams goes one step further to include the POV of a Soviet KGB agent, who added extra depth to the story and also featured heavily in a clever twist towards the end, which certainly took me by surprise. All in all, even though I found the start of the book a tiny bit slow, I was ultimately rewarded with a rich, intriguing tale of espionage seen through the eyes of twin sisters inadvertently caught up in a British spy ring. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from this author in future. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

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