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Celebrate Pasadena’s One City, One Story Community Conversation with Lara Prescott, Author of the 2020 Selection

Published on Feb 28, 2020
Lara Prescott

To celebrate the 18th year of Pasadena’s One City, One Story community reading project, the public is invited to a conversation with Lara Prescott, author of this year’s selected novel The Secrets We Kept, Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m. in Pasadena Central Library’s Great Hall, 285 E. Walnut St.

Prescott will discuss her experiences writing The Secrets We Kept. A question and answer session led by Pasadena Public Library Director Michelle Perera will immediately follow. Attendees are encouraged to bring their copies of The Secrets We Kept for the author to sign following the discussion. Prescott’s books will also be available for sale and signing following the program. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available.

The Secrets We Kept is a thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice. Inspired by a true story, the novel details a 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 CIA typing pool 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 — 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. At the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.

Author Lara Prescott’s debut novel, The Secrets We Kept has been translated into 28 languages and will be adapted for film by The Ink Factory and Marc Platt Productions. Prescott received her master of fine arts degree 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. Her writing has appeared in The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, and more. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and cats.

Pasadena Public Library’s annual One City, One Story program is designed to broaden and deepen an appreciation of reading in Pasadena by engaging the community in dialog around a single literary work. For more information on this year’s One City, One Story activities, visit or call (626) 744-7076.

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