Our American Friend: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The story of a young, up-and-coming reporter getting the exclusive biography deal of a lifetime with the First Lady. While Sofie writes of the First Last's history with the KGB and CIA, they both get closer and closer to an inflection point that will change their lives, and the course of American history, forever. This was an engrossing story spanning the globe across decades that will certainly make you question loyalty, responsibility, and complicity in our own lives and politics. 
—Sarah Catherine Richardson, Snail Readers Circle 

— From Readers Circle Recommendations


Emily in Paris meets Scandal” (The New York Times) in this propulsive Cold War-era political thriller as one intrepid journalist writes the official biography of the mysterious First Lady—uncovering secrets that could destroy them both.

Tired of covering the grating dysfunction of Washington and the increasingly outrageous antics of President Henry Caine, White House correspondent Sofie Morse quits her job and plans to leave politics behind. But when she gets a call from the office of First Lada Lara Caine, asking Sofie to come in for a private meeting with Lara, her curiosity is piqued. Sofie, like the rest of the world, knows little about Lara—only that Lara was born in Soviet Russia, raised in Paris, and worked as a model before moving to America and marrying the notoriously brash future president.

When Lara asks Sofie to write her official biography, and to finally fill in the gaps of her history, Sofie’s curiosity gets the better of her. She begins to spend more and more time in the White House, slowing developing a bond with Lara—and eventually a deep and surprising friendship with her.

Even more surprising to Sofie is the fact that Lara is entirely candid about her mysterious past. The First Lady doesn’t hesitate to speak about her beloved father’s work as an undercover KGB officer in Paris—and how he wasn’t the only person in her family working undercover during the Cold War.

As Lara’s story unfolds, Sofie can’t help but wonder why Lara is rehashing such sensitive information. Why to her? And why now? Suddenly Sofie is in the middle of a game of cat and mouse that could have explosive ramifications.

For fans of The Secrets We Kept and American Wife, Our American Friend is a “gripping” (People) Cold War-era spy thriller crossed with a fictional biography of a First Lady. Spanning from the 1970s to the present day, traveling from Moscow and Paris to Washington and New York, Anna Pitoniak’s novel is a “spectacular” (Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author) page-turner—and a devasting love story—about power and complicity and how sometimes the fate of the world is in the hands of the people you’d never expect.

About the Author

Anna Pitoniak is the author of Necessary People and The Futures. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked in book publishing, including as a senior editor at Random House. Anna grew up in Whistler, British Columbia. She graduated from Yale, and lives in New York City.

Praise For…

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"What happens when a young, relatively inexperienced writer is tapped to write the biography of an enigmatic Russian model turned inscrutable first lady? Pitoniak answers this question in her fast-paced and fun third novel."New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

"Pitoniak braids timelines to create a portrait of a woman torn between two countries, two belief systems, two selves....Elegant and well-paced.... Like “Emily in Paris” meets “Scandal” — fantastic fun.”New York Times

"A gripping tale of the Cold War and its legacy."People

“Riveting…. Our American Friend interweaves the increasingly suspenseful story of Lara’s youth with the present-day partnership between Lara and Sofie. The back-and-forth gives the novel a propulsive energy, especially as the truth behind Lara’s clandestine activities in Paris – and their role in her present political position – come to light.”Christian Science Monitor 

"Spectacular - a global thriller with pace, tension and ever-higher stakes, born of an intimate and unlikely friendship between two very different women ... the story succeeds on every level."—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author 

"An enthralling journey into the life of one of the most powerful women in the world....Exploring interpersonal loyalties and the difference between cowardice and patience, the well-researched and twist-filled Our American Friend is a natural next-read for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld, A. Natasha Joukovsky, and Stacey Swann."Booklist (starred review)

"A journalist gets sucked into the orbit of an enigmatic first lady—and her life will never be the same.... This lively political thriller mulls love, loyalty, and the rewards of playing the long game."Kirkus

"Viewers who followed the TV series The Americans will recognize and enjoy its thrilling hallmarks in this exciting novel about the erstwhile first couple."Library Journal

“A surprising tale of international intrigue…. A smart, timely take on American politics, Soviet spy craft, and the lengths we'll go to for love and revenge.”—Town & Country
 “Wholly original.”Entertainment Weekly

“A smart, timely take on American politics, Soviet spy craft, and the lengths we'll go to for love and revenge.”Town and Country

"Anna Pitoniak’s latest page-turner Our American Friend is packed with Cold War spy intrigue, complex women characters, and rich historical details. I read this novel in one sitting, pouring over the pages, wanting to know what secrets the unforgettable character of First Lady Lara Caine held. Our American Friend does what good fiction does best—it reaches across time to speak to the present moment."LARA PRESCOTT, author of The Secrets We Kept

"Our American Friend is an intriguing Russian nesting doll of modern Washington politics, Cold War spy games, and above all women with secrets. A burned-out White House correspondent gets the opportunity of a lifetime when she is selected to write the biography of an enigmatic Russian model turned even more enigmatic First Lady of the United States. Just what is the President's wife hiding? Anna Pitoniak's masterful puzzle of espionage, love, and betrayal keeps us flipping the pages to find out!"—KATE QUINN, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK

“An irresistible political thriller with wit and heart, Our American Friend is a fascinating take on a mysterious fictional First Lady and  a moving, rueful exploration of love, loyalty and the presence of the past." —AMY BLOOM, author of White Houses 

"I was immediately hooked on this novel about Sofie, a burned-out political reporter, who develops a friendship with the mysterious and elegant First Lady. Pitoniak blends a sharp look at present-day Washington, DC with an exploration of power, love and politics and the result is this smart, addictive page-turner. OUR AMERICAN FRIEND is a delicious political thriller and I couldn’t put it down."—JENNIFER CLOSE, bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses

"This should be catnip to political thriller fans--a smart, witty take on a fictional, foreign-born First Lady with a secret tied to Cold War espionage who tests the boundaries of friendship with her would-be biographer. This fast-paced novel about love, loyalty, and the secrets we should or should not keep will keep you gobbling up each page." —MELANIE BENJAMIN, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Children’s Blizzard

"Anna Pitoniak's Our American Friend is a smart, political thriller, sharply observed and well-written." —ALAN FURST, bestselling author of A Hero of France, Midnight in Europe, and Mission to Paris

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982158804
ISBN-10: 1982158808
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022
Pages: 336
Language: English