Author: Karin Tanabe
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: July 20, 2021
Karin Tanabe is back with her latest novel, A Woman of Intelligence. It’s a blend of historical fiction and chick lit, which admittedly are two genres that I don’t read enough. So here I am!
The year is 1954, and by appearances, Katharina Edgeworth has a perfect life. She lives in a nice area, has a wonderful and healthy family, and even gets to attend parties regularly. Better yet, she has a fantastic job as a translator for the United Nations.
Only the domestic side of things isn’t what Katharina ever wanted for herself. She wants freedom, and she’ll take any chance that offers her a way out of this lovely little cage she has built for herself, even if that means working for the FBI.
“A man who was not my husband, and would never be my husband, because he had no prospects or common sense. That was the best kind of man to have attached to you in a subway.”
A Woman of Intelligence is not quite what I expected. It was certainly a thrilling read, with lots of historical and spy elements. Even having read the description, I hadn’t been fully prepared for the latter. Maybe that’s just me.
I rarely come across a book where the first and second halves of the book feel so jarringly different, yet that is exactly what I found in A Woman of Intelligence. The first half very much focuses on the gilded cage that is Katharina’s life.
That essentially means that it is introducing us to her life and everything about it that should be wonderful – but isn’t. Admittedly, this part took up a bit more of the book than I expected, but it wasn’t bad.
Then the spy thriller elements set in, as Katharina chooses a life working for the FBI, which naturally immediately involves a dangerous case that she gets too involved with. That’s how the story always goes, right? You take a risk and get pulled in too deep.
Overall, this was a decent read. I simply didn’t find myself loving it. I had trouble connecting with Katharina’s character. I tried – I really did. But I simply couldn’t put myself in her shoes, not even during the most intense moments.
Thanks to StMartinsPress for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.