Pasadena Public Library's One City, One Story Book Selections Announced

Published : Thursday, October 17, 2019 | 11:50 AM

Pasadena Public Library announced their two book selections for Pasadena’s 2020 One City, One Story community reading celebration, The Secrets They Kept by author Lara Prescott, the 2020 One City, One Story selection and Finding Dorothy by author Elizabeth Letts, the 2020 One City, One Story Summer Edition.

Now in its eighteenth year, One City, One Story is designed to broaden and deepen an appreciation of reading and literature by recommending a compelling book that links our community together in a common conversation by promoting tolerance and understanding about differing points of view.

The Secrets They Kept is a thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice–inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.

The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story–the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara–with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature–told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.
Lara Prescott is the author of The Secrets We Kept. Her debut novel, it has been translated into 28 languages and will be adapted for film by The Ink Factory and Marc Platt Productions. Prescott received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. She studied political science at American University in Washington, D.C. and international development in Namibia and South Africa. Prior to writing fiction, Prescott worked as a political campaign consultant.

Prescott’s writing has appeared in The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, and more. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and cats.

One City, One Story community programs will be held throughout March, beginning with a conversation with the author on Thursday evening, March 5, 2020 at Pasadena Central Library.

The One City, One Story Summer Edition, Finding Dorothy is a richly imagined novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife, Maud.

As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book-because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her-the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

The author of two New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical story and transforming it into a page-turner. Finding Dorothy is the result of Letts’s journey into the amazing lives of Frank and Maud Baum. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of love, loss, inspiration, and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.

She is also the author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and an award-winning children’s book, The Butter Man. A graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Nursing, she is a passionate equestrian, a former certified nurse-midwife, and served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

Finding Dorothy is a fun summer read and a perfect selection to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement with thematic programs and opportunities for community dialogue and discussion planned around the book throughout June and July. Event details will be announced in the future.

For more information, visit http://cityofpasadena.libguides.com/onecityonestory or call (626) 744-7076.

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