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American Spy
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love? One woman struggles to choose between her honor and her heart in this enthralling espionage drama that deftly hops between New York and West Africa. Its 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. Shes brilliant, but shes also a young black woman working in an old boys club. Her career has stalled out, shes overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when shes given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Thomas is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving over the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects shes being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American. Inspired by true eventsThomas Sankara is known as Africas Che Guevarathis novel knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War youve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice. Advance praise for American Spy Echoing the stoic cynicism of Hurston and Ellison, and the verve of Conan Doyle, American Spy lays our complicitiespolitical, racial, and sexualbare. Packed with unforgettable characters, its a stunning book, timely as it is timeless.Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prizewinning author of The Sellout American Spy is by turns suspenseful, tender, and funny, always smart and searingly honest. Lauren Wilkinson renders the world of spies with vivacity and depth, but like all great novels, this one teaches us the most about ourselves and our values, shining a penetrating light on what its like to be a black woman in America.Sara Novi?, author of Girl at War
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TheLibrarian
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Enjoying this Saturday afternoon with some reading and kitty snuggles. #caturday #catsoflitsy

valeriegeary Perfect! 20h
valeriegeary Puurrrrfect is what I should have written. 😻 20h
Crazeedi Precious!!😸😍 20h
LauraJ How sweet! 😻 18h
70 likes4 comments
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mklong
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Set during the Cold War while the US was engaging in troubling covert operations to stop the spread of Communism in West Africa. It‘s a spy thriller on its face, but that was the least interesting part to me. What engaged me the most was Marie‘s voice and perspective as a Black woman in white man‘s profession. The way she is cautious and plays along when she needs to, but never allows the people who underestimate and try to use her, to break her.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Sounds really good! 2mo
quanners It was better than I anticipated and I hope that this is the 1st in a series. 15h
49 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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nvhXesq
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Different and interesting. I really enjoyed the mystery aspect. Highly recommend.

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jploves2read
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book overall. I did have to get used to the writing style but the overall story was good. I like books that make me want to learn more about a topic and this one made me want to learn more about this history of governments in Africa. The one thing I didn‘t really like was the description of the ‘present day‘. It seemed strange and redundant except at the end.

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jploves2read
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Reading by lamplight in the middle of Hurricane Humberto.

SW-T Stay safe! 3mo
jploves2read Thanks. So far my family is good. Humberto has moved past us now. 🙂 3mo
Nute So happy to hear that you and your family are safe! 2mo
5 likes3 comments
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akfreeborn
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this literary spy thriller as I felt Marie, Helene and their family were well developed and loved the part set in Africa. The complexities of the family made the outcome of the thriller less important. Highly recommend.

25 likes1 stack add
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Rachel_nyc
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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#7covers7days Day 6 of 7 favorite covers. No explanation necessary. If you aren‘t already participating, please join in on the fun! #covercrush #7days7covers

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perfectlywinged
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Not necessarily a traditional spy novel but more a fascinating character study. Intriguing so far

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Nitpickyabouttrains
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I really loved this spy story. Interesting how the info was given out.

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jploves2read
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Labor Day read. 🤷🏾‍♀️ Well I‘m going to start it. I need to give the Kindle a break. 🙂

11 likes1 stack add
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AlizaApp
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

A black woman working at the FBI in the sixties is being ignored and passed over for serious work, until some CIA agents comes calling with an appealing opportunity. Suspenseful and intriguing thriller.

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Mitch
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Both Barrack Obama and I have read this over the summer! We often share book recs with each other 🤣🤣🤣

Interested to now listen to Lauren talking on the new Strand Cast👍🏼

Christine Ooh...Strand Cast? Auto-subscribe. 🎧❤️ 3mo
Mitch @Christine I know! Who knew it was a thing! 💕 3mo
69 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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MelissaSue81
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Mehso-so

This started out so good and I wanted to love it but it really lost me with all the African political drama. I had no idea what was happening. I also think I had a lot of unanswered questions but maybe I just wasn‘t paying attention? I think it was a good book but it wasn‘t for me.

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Rachel_nyc
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I read this for #camptob even though I‘m not really following along. I was hooked quickly and really liked the main character. I also thought it was a cool mash-up of spy thriller and literary fiction but what I enjoyed most was the detail regarding Burkina Faso and Thomas Sankara, which I knew very little about. The ending was slightly unsatisfying but I still recommend it.

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cherylmorton
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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“A sense of self-importance permeated the culture. So did machismo and knee-jerk conservatism. To get by, I told my colleagues that I didn‘t care about politics, which felt like a ridiculous thing to claim. They bought it, though. Very few of those men understood having no choice about whether they were political or not: unlike me, they weren‘t people who‘d had their existence politicized on their behalf.”

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hermioneshandbag
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson

The only anger I ever expose to the world is through implication, by suggesting that I‘m on the brink of no longer being able to contain my fury. That is what a woman‘s strength looks like when it‘s palatable: like she is containing herself.

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ReadingEnvy
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Finished the last of the #camptob books for tournament of books and I thought this was pretty good. It is largely set in Burkina Faso and Martinique, two countries I have not yet had the chance to read books from, and I always enjoy learning more about places. Despite the alternating time periods and the fact that it is a spy novel, it's a pretty slow burn. I set it aside a few times to read other things but was ultimately glad I came back to it.

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Mitch
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

The landscape of the coupe d'etat in Burkina Faso is well drawn & the complexities of gender, race, cold war & colonialism are explored expertly but always within the context of a fast paced thriller. The structure is problematic- it's written as a set of letters to the leading characters young son. I felt within a few paragraphs into each chapter this was forgotten & the letters got lost in the retelling, leaving the prose a little jarred.

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AshleyC816
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

This was great! I‘m usually not a big spy thriller fan, but the family drama in this one gave it more heart!

MicrobeMom So cute! Love you little one! 4mo
Lady_Tigana_20 What an adorable dog. 🥰 4mo
brit91 What a cutie pie you have there!!🐶😍 4mo
Anitareads So cute 😍 4mo
66 likes4 comments
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Lauren.Archer
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
Panpan

I can understand why people like this book, but this was not my cup of tea at all. I thought this would be literary, less spy.

Bookzombie I ended up bailing on this one. It just didn‘t hold my interest. 4mo
53 likes1 comment
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Mitch
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Early morning hard swim, followed by sticky bun and chapter 1 in the park! Life is all about balance! #bfc

@chrissyreadit @erinsuegreads @itchyfeetreader @microbemom @phatsallylee @blaire @sudi

sudi Seems like the perfect balance 😊👍 and sticky buns sound delicious 😋 5mo
Mitch @sudi It tasted so good ! Especially as I felt like I really earnt it! 5mo
Chrissyreadit Sounds like a beautiful morning. 5mo
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Crazeedi I got your card yesterday!! Thank you!! I have a lot of letters to write!💗 5mo
wanderinglynn Looks like a lovely spot to walk/read. 👍🏻 5mo
Mitch @wanderinglynn one advantage of living on the edge of the 2012 Olympic Park 👍🏼 5mo
Mitch @Crazeedi Loved connecting with you 👏🏼 5mo
Mitch @Chrissyreadit A hot night meant we didn‘t sleep well, so got up early and decided to make good use of the extra time! I‘ll probably be very sleepy by 8pm! 5mo
102 likes8 comments
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Lauren.Archer
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Busy week last week, but got a few good reads in.

Check out my weekly recap at: http://obsessedbookaholic.com/2019/07/22/weekly-reading-round-up-july-22-2019/

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UnabridgedPod
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Lauren Willkinson's American Spy stuck with me. An epistolary novel composed of flashbacks and protagonist Marie's letter to her twin sons, it focuses on Marie's development as a spy for the United States in the 1980s, at the height of our fear of Communism. Marie's efforts, embroiled in complex family dynamics, target Thomas Sankara, the charismatic president of Burkina Faso, who the U.S. has deemed a threat. (continued in comments)

UnabridgedPod The movement through Marie's past, as she tries to make sense of the steps that have brought her to her current life, offer insight into her status as a black, female agent in a government that sees her not as an important person in its service but as a pawn to be sacrificed without a second thought. 5mo
UnabridgedPod I was blown away by this brilliant, compelling, and thought-provoking recent-historical novel. (This is another Camp ToB book! I hope it will do well, and I'm eager to read the discussion about it.)⠀

What did you think of American Spy? Which Camp ToB books are you rooting for?
5mo
BarbaraBB I am not participating this Summer, somehow the books didn‘t appeal but now I am a bit regretting my choice. What is your favorite? 5mo
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UnabridgedPod @BarbaraBB Hmmm. That‘s tough. Maybe Lost Children Archive. Or Daisy Jones and the Six. But I‘ve enjoyed all of them except Bowlaway. 5mo
BarbaraBB Have you read the James yet? 5mo
BarbaraBB I am looking forward to Lost Children‘s Archive! 5mo
UnabridgedPod @BarbaraBB I did. That was a tough read for me. There were things I LOVED about it...toward the end. Definitely mixed feelings. 5mo
BarbaraBB It is the main reason I decided to skip the Summer ToB. Didn‘t feel up to it! 5mo
17 likes1 stack add8 comments
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DreeMorris
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Another #Camptob novel, this one is a quick read and very good. This is the story if Marie, a good judge of character, who becomes an FBI agent. But as a black woman she has little chance to advance. She accepts a shadowy job in Burkina Faso, possibly with the CIA. The story jumps between her childhood in NY, her US desk job, Burkina Faso, and when she is visiting her mother in Martinique. Lots of twists! #firstnovel

BarbaraBB Great review. This is one of the #CampToB books that I‘d like to read! (edited) 5mo
32 likes1 comment
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hermioneshandbag
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson

One thing I can say for sure is that I don‘t want you to be moral absolutionists. If what I‘m telling you of our story means to you that the people it involves are either saved or damned, then you‘ll have misunderstood me.

4 likes1 stack add
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Lauren.Archer
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pretty good week of reading, catch up on the good the bad and the ugly at: https://obsessedbookaholic.com/2019/07/14/weekly-reading-round-up-july-14-2019/

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Avidreader25
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Mehso-so

I had high hopes for this novel, based on a real African-American spy in the 1980s whose mission is to get close to African revolutionary Thomas Sankara. But while the story was interesting, it crawled along. It was hard to feel invested and never really clicked for me. In the end, I think I would‘ve been more interested to read a nonfiction account of the same events.

“It‘s not romantic to be so loyal that you compromise your sense of yourself.”

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TheLibrarian
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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My 3 Tailored Book Recommendations! Now I just need to read them and provide feedback; I‘ve been slacking previously.

Have you read any of these?

MrBook 😻😻😻 6mo
Sharpeipup Just started Lovely war 6mo
Shel.f KITTY!!
6mo
See All 11 Comments
CBee GORGEOUS kitty!!! 6mo
HeatherBlue Beautiful kitty!!! 😻 6mo
JenReadsAlot Great picture! 😻 6mo
LeslieO That face! 6mo
Palimpsest Beautiful cat! 6mo
CouronneDhiver Gorgeous kitty 🐱 6mo
rachelsbrittain Such a beautiful kitty!! 6mo
TheLibrarian @Sharpeipup Let me know how it is! 6mo
80 likes11 comments
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Skeebies05
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Ooooooo! So good. It reminded me a bit of Who is Vera Kelly. In the sense that its about so much more than espionage.

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Pamwurtzler
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Mehso-so

So this book was okay, but I can‘t rave about it. It‘s a Cold War spy novel/family drama. It‘s written as a journal that the MC is writing to her kids. The ending was unresolved so I‘m wondering if it‘s going to be continued in another book.

Sace Do you listen to the Black Chick Lit podcast? They just did an episode about this book. http://blackchicklit.com/podcast/episode-29-american-spy/ 6mo
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
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JoyBlue
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Bailedbailed

Bailing at 25% 2:41:32—boring! Wish it hadn't hogged a hold spot for so long. Oh, well.

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shaynarae
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I felt like I was in a bit of a reading slump and was picking my way through this at a snail‘s pace. But every time I sat down with it, even for just a few pages at a time, I was immediately immersed in it, which is a testament to the writing. After reading a 1,000+ page book in a fantasy series, I appreciated the brevity of this story. Though I can see how it may feel insufficient for other readers.

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mrozzz
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Mehso-so

A fascinating story following the real-world details of the last year of Thomas Sankara's controversial presidency of Burkina Faso, as seen through the eyes of a young FBI agent describing a contract job overseas with the CIA. Anyone with any interest in the world politics of the 1980s would be enthralled by the overall premise. Though my writer brain and the odd presentation not allowing the reader to settle into any present was a major turnoff.

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Booksnchill
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Debut novel- listened to the audio read by Bonnie Turpin who does an excellent job. It is 1986 and Marie works for the FBI but is underutilized. She has ambitions so when one of her sister‘s military friends gets her the opportunity to spy on the new leader of Burkino Faso she accepts- but what does she have to do and who is she really working for. Told as journal entries to her twin boys the action goes from Harlem to Martinique to Burkino Faso.

64 likes1 stack add
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WanderingBookaneer
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Abailliekaras Some of these were not my best of 2019! 😬😉 7mo
72 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Mitch
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Home from #nyc unpacked and enjoying cuddles with the cats whilst gazing at our holiday purchases! Left stack mine. Right stack Mr Ks!

JoScho I LOVE Shake Shack! I didn‘t know there was a book 💚 7mo
Leftcoastzen Seems you had a great time! Cuddles with kitties the best welcome home. 7mo
Mitch @Leftcoastzen The best! One is silently punishing us for leaving him, but the other two are full of love! 😍 7mo
See All 8 Comments
Mitch @JoScho He loves reading cookbooks - summer grills are being planned! 7mo
Leftcoastzen Those kitties! I used to have a punisher! 7mo
Swe_Eva I just came back from NYC as well, but you did better shopping than I did. 😉 7mo
MaureenMc 👏 7mo
CouronneDhiver Somebody is a shopper. Not sure who 😉🛒🛍 7mo
77 likes8 comments
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MicheleinPhilly
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Finally got to my favorite indie today. Did some damage and feel A OK about it. 👌🏼

Mitch Snap ! I bought American Spy too today - it looks really good. Enjoy! 7mo
Megabooks I want to read Supermarket! 7mo
BarbaraBB My Lovely Wife is a trip! A roller coaster! 7mo
See All 8 Comments
MicheleinPhilly @Megabooks It‘s the store‘s next book club pick. I‘m gonna try to be sociable in real life. 😬 7mo
Megabooks Good luck! 🍀 You‘re braver than I am!! 7mo
MicheleinPhilly @Megabooks There is a 75% chance I will chicken out. 😉 7mo
Suet624 Good for you!!!! 7mo
Reviewsbylola Great haul! 7mo
70 likes8 comments
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Mitch
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Part 1 of today‘s #bookhaul from Strand. A book I‘ve not seen before, two I‘ve been looking for, some cute postcards, notebook and Handmaiden pin along with the obligatory bookmark. 👏🏻❤️👏🏻

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mhillis
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Characters in American Spy discuss books on tape and Passing by Nella Larsen! What are you listening to these days?

Lindy I‘m four hours into 7mo
36 likes1 comment
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Christine
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I liked this a lot! I would have enjoyed more time with the characters, storylines, and badass spy machinations, but in a good, leave-the-reader-wanting-more sort of way. Lots of political and moral stuff to chew on, too, despite it being a quick read.

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Floresj
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

This wasn‘t what I was expecting, but I really liked it. It‘s a mystery, with multiple loose ends that I was intrigued by. Told as a letter to her children, Maria walks us through how she believes the first chapter of the book came to be. Wasn‘t perfect, but one of the better fiction I‘ve read in awhile.

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WolfReader
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
Mehso-so

It starts off as pulsating thriller but slows down in many ways into an insightful portrait of a black woman‘s story as an FBI turned CIA freelance operative in the late 1980s. Lots of back story, interpersonal relationships, and espionage. Not all of it engaging. It‘s a solid 3-star book.

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Lea
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

Well it wasn‘t what I was expecting. It‘s more looking back and ends...not how I like things to end. But it‘s a unique story and mostly held my interest. #libraryread #readwomen #diversebooks

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Preciouz29
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
Pickpick

A tad dry and long sometimes, and a little bit too preachy, but overall entertaining. I love the twist in that she‘s a black spy.

Lea Totally agree 8mo
Preciouz29 @Lea yes! I was so perplexed by the ending that I thought this was the start of a series! 8mo
Lea Yes!! I was wondering that also. 8mo
Preciouz29 I think I would be totally in more if this was a start to a series. 8mo
2 likes4 comments
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NoShushing
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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“I can‘t run the risk of caring too deeply about too many people. The result is that I‘ve never had very many close friends, but have always excelled at being an acquaintance.” P. 59.

RaimeyGallant Great quote. :) 8mo
4 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Addison_Reads
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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I told myself to only go into the library and get the second book in The Chaos Walking Series, but instead all of these are now coming home with me. 💚

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sophierayton
American Spy: A Novel | Lauren Wilkinson
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Pickpick

I really liked that the "America will save the world" narrative was challenged in this book - one character says about an African nation that they're not ready to have democracy with their own ideas and candidates - which is absolutely shocking. I did feel like the novel was a bit unbalanced in that there was a lot of back story and build up and the spy part was minor in comparison. I still liked it though.