Red Mistress

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Published by: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: July 21, 2020
ISBN13: 978-1542006514



In the spring of 1914, Nadia Shulkina, the daughter of Russian aristocrats, looks toward a bright future. She has no premonitions of war, let alone the revolution that is about to destroy her comfortable world.

Her once-noble family is stripped of every possession, and more terrible losses soon follow. To save what’s left of her family and future, Nadia marries a zealous Bolshevik in an act of calculated reinvention.

It won’t be her last.

When she agrees to work undercover for the Soviets in 1920s Paris, Nadia is drawn into a beautiful yet treacherous world of secrets and deceit. Beset by conflicting loyalties and tested by a forbidden love affair, she becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that ends with a shocking murder. What chances will she take to determine her own fate?

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I’d been raised speaking French, reading French, even dreaming in French. When I arrived in Paris for the first time, stepping out from the clamor of Gare de l’Est, it felt surprisingly familiar. As if a land I’d dreamed of turned out to be real.

And as in a dream, I wasn’t myself. According to my passport, I was a Frenchwoman named Marie Duvall.

I hailed a taxi and gave the driver an address on Rue de Grenelle. Astoundingly, the city looked as I’d always imagined: grand facades flanking equally grand boulevards; a chaotic ballet of automobiles, buses and dogged pedestrians; flashes of manicured green gardens amid the gray. Signs over shop windows made me hungry with longing. Boulangerie. Patisserie. Even sounding out the names in my head felt indulgent.

But what struck me most were the faces. In Moscow, people looked downward or forward, their expressions determinedly blank. Here, they were laughing and scowling, amused and imperious—expressive in a way that seemed almost indecent. There were glimpses of misery, too, like the legless beggars wearing the tattered remains of uniforms. But compared to Moscow’s cool efficiency, Paris felt bracingly alive.