First Line Friday — A Shadow in Moscow

21 Jul

I attended a super cool book event at The Georgia Writers Museum in Eatonton on Tuesday. Katherine Reay spoke about her writing career, writing process, favorite authors, and, of course, her latest book, A Shadow in Moscow, a split-time historical novel set during the Cold War. Her presentation was fascinating! She is traveling around promoting her book, so make sure to check if she will be at a location near you.

I, of course, had to buy the book. 😉

Here’s the first line:

Again I ask myself, does the end draw everyone back to the beginning?

In the thick of the Cold War, a betrayal at the highest level risks the lives of two courageous female spies: MI6’s best Soviet agent and the CIA’s newest Moscow recruit.

Vienna, 1954

After losing everyone she loves in the final days of World War II, Ingrid Bauer agrees to a hasty marriage with a gentle Soviet embassy worker and follows him home to Moscow. But nothing within the Soviet Union’s totalitarian regime is what it seems, including her new husband, whom Ingrid suspects works for the KGB. Inspired by her daughter’s birth, Ingrid risks everything and reaches out in hope to the one country she understands and trusts—Britain, the country of her mother’s birth. She begins passing intelligence to MI6, navigating a world of secrets and lies, light and shadow.

Moscow, 1980

A student in the Foreign Studies Initiative, Anya Kadinova finishes her degree at Georgetown University and boards a flight home to Moscow, leaving behind the man she loves and a country she’s grown to respect. Though raised by dedicated and loyal Soviet parents, Anya soon questions an increasingly oppressive and paranoid regime at the height of the Cold War. Then the KGB murders her best friend and Anya chooses her side. Working in a military research lab, she relays Soviet plans and schematics to the CIA in an effort to end the 1980s arms race.

The past catches up to the present when an unprecedented act of treachery threatens all agents operating within Eastern Europe, and both Ingrid and Anya find themselves in a race for their lives against time and the KGB.

Katherine Reay is a national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one work of nonfiction.For her fiction, Katherine writes love letters to books, and her novels are saturated with what she calls the “world of books.” They are character driven stories that examine the past as a way to find one’s best way forward. In the words of The Bronte Plot’s Lucy Alling, Katherine writes of “that time when you don’t know where you’ll be, but you can’t stay as you are.” Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, and after several moves across the globe, lives outside Chicago.

Please visit Katherine on social media, on FB at Katherinereaybooks, Instagram @katherinereay, or visit her website at

3 Responses to “First Line Friday — A Shadow in Moscow”

  1. Jana T July 21, 2023 at 10:24 am #

    Split timeline stories can be tricky, but so good when they work! It’s been a while since I’ve read a decent one; thanks for sharing about this one! Happy Reading!

  2. Cindy Davis July 21, 2023 at 2:52 pm #

    Love that you got to meet her!! Enjoy this one! Have a great weekend!

    • Carla August 4, 2023 at 8:19 am #

      How exciting that you met her and heard her talk about her book, process etc. I have seen this book around and now am going to add it for sure. What a great first line and great question.

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