The Soviet Sisters by Anika Scott
This is Anika Scott’s second novel. The Soviet Sisters is an historical spy drama. It begins in Siberia in 1956. The chapters are told from the two sisters’ views – Marya Nikonova and Vera Koshkina.
Vera was an Officer of State Security in Berlin from May to July 1947. Marya was in berlin then too, having an illicit romance with an Englishman called Henry. Now Marya is in the Gulag, having been a prisoner for nearly nine years, after being convicted of treason in 1947.
We begin to read transcripts of recordings by her sister Vera, who is a lawyer. She has been investigating her sister’s case, but is she trying to help her sister, or protect herself?
I love the characters of Vera and Marya and how their sibling relationship is so complex. I hated Vera throughout many sections of the book and definitely felt more sympathy towards Marya, but there’s always that uncertainty – who is telling the truth?
I studied Russian and Soviet Studies at University, so I love the whole background of the USSR. I also visited East Berlin in 1989, a few months before the Berlin Wall came down, so I recognised some of the places they mentioned. Treptower Park was my favourite part of East Berlin and that is mentioned in the novel.
I loved the settings and the dual viewpoints which keep the reader guessing throughout. The pacing of the book is very good too, I didn’t find it slow at any point and enjoyed the build up and the revelations the story brings out.
I would definitely recommend the book. I haven’t read anything quite like it before and found it a compelling read.
Two sisters become embroiled in the burgeoning Cold War in this spellbinding novel of espionage, secrets and betrayals
Berlin, 1947: good Soviets Vera and Marya find themselves mired in the covert post-war conflicts that are shaping a new world order. When Marya, an interpreter liaising with the British, gets caught in secret agent Vera’s web of deceit, she must make desperate choices to survive – and to protect those she loves. Nine years later, as the Soviets confront their Stalinist past, Vera revisits that pivotal moment, unravelling shocking truths about her sister and herself. Against an epic backdrop, Anika Scott weaves a nail-biting, morally complex story of double–triple bluff and loyalty – or otherwise – to family or motherland.