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A Most Clever Girl

A Most Clever Girl, September 2021
by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Berkley
Featuring: Elizabeth Bentley; Catherine Gray
416 pages
ISBN: 0593198409
EAN: 9780593198407
Kindle: B08QYVF92V
Trade Size / e-Book
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"A mesmerizing story!"

Fresh Fiction Review

A Most Clever Girl
Stephanie Marie Thornton

Reviewed by Evie Harris
Posted January 13, 2022

Mystery Historical | Women's Fiction Historical | Suspense Historical

The day after President Kennedy's assassination, Catherine Gray was standing outside Elizabeth Bentley's apartment.  She had a gun in her purse and she planned to use it.  One bullet was for Elizabeth and one for her.  She believed Elizabeth ruined her life.  After she told Elizabeth her intentions, Elizabeth asked that she hear her out.  With a gun pointed at her, Elizabeth began telling her story starting in 1933. What a story it was.

Based on the life of the real Elizabeth Bentley, A MOST CLEVER GIRL by Stephanie Marie Thornton tells a mesmerizing story.  This extraordinary American woman went from being a spy for the Russians to an FBI informant. Her reasons and motivations are revealed in crisp dialogue, wry observations, and passion. Elizabeth, an admitted liar, presents a mesmerizing tale.  How much of it is true?  Readers will have to make that decision.

Skillfully written and totally engrossing, this complex and fascinating book is well worth reading.  I found the author's note to be just as interesting as the narrative itself.  Highly recommended.

Learn more about A Most Clever Girl

SUMMARY

A thrilling novel of love, loyalty, and espionage, based on the incredible true story of Elizabeth Bentley, a Cold War double agent spying for the Russians and the United States, from USA Today bestselling author Stephanie Marie Thornton.

1963: Reeling from the death of her mother and President Kennedy’s assassination, Catherine Gray shows up on Elizabeth Bentley’s doorstep demanding answers to the shocking mystery she just uncovered about her family. What she doesn’t expect is for Bentley to ensnare her in her own story of becoming a controversial World War II spy and Cold War informer… 

Recruited by the American Communist Party to spy on fascists at the outbreak of World War II, a young Bentley—code name Clever Girl—finds she has an unexpected gift for espionage. But after falling desperately in love with her handler, Elizabeth makes another surprise discovery when she learns he is actually a Russian spy. Together, they will build the largest Soviet spy network in America and Elizabeth will become its uncrowned Red Spy Queen. However, once the war ends and the U.S. and U.S.S.R. become embroiled in the Cold War, it is Elizabeth who will dangerously clash with the NKVD, the brutal Soviet espionage agency. 

As Catherine listens to Elizabeth's harrowing tale, she discovers that the women's lives are linked in shocking ways. Faced with the idea that her entire existence is based on a lie, Catherine realizes that only Elizabeth Bentley can tell her what the truth really is.


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