New York, 1954. 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.
As a single girl in 1940s Manhattan, Katharina was 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 paediatric 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 enthralled by her secret mission. But as those closest to her lose their covers, and their lives, Katharina’s secret soon threatens to ruin her.
Karin Tanabe is the author of six novels, including A Hundred Suns and The Gilded Years, which is soon to be a major motion picture. Her latest novel, A Woman of Intelligence, is a gripping cold war spy thriller as well as an exhilarating tale of one remarkable woman’s journey to find her purpose, and herself, in post-war America.
What sets A Woman of Intelligence apart from other novels in this genre is Tanabe’s protagonist, Katharina. When we meet first meet Katharina at the start of the novel, we find her struggling with her role as a mother, homemaker, and wife. She’s a far cry from her former self—an intelligent career woman who worked for the United Nations, spoke four languages, and stayed out all night partying, dancing, and enjoying a life of freedom and independence. Through her poignant portrayal of Katharina’s struggles with motherhood, postpartum depression, and a loss of identity, Tanabe sheds light on the issues women faced during this period and, to a certain extent, still face today.
Set against a nostalgic 1950s Manhattan backdrop, A Woman of Intelligence is a meticulously researched and incredibly relevant piece of historical fiction that blends together a gripping tale of espionage with a captivating journey of self-discovery. Readers of both thrillers and historical fiction will enjoy this engrossing story.