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Our American Friend

A Novel

LIST PRICE $27.99

A mysterious first lady.
The intrepid journalist writing her biography.
And the secret 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 Lady 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, slowly 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 propulsive 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 gripping page-turner—and a devastating 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.

Andrew Bartholomew

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.

“This is Anna Pitoniak’s third novel, and I’m thrilled to say that Our American Friend is her best book yet.

While on its face, Our American Friend is a very different book from her first two novels, which were coming-of-age stories set in the worlds of finance and broadcast news, respectively, all three of her novels are about characters who are thrust into high-stakes situations—and how they choose to relate to one another within those circumstances. Who, or what, are they loyal to? Who do they choose to betray, when and why do they decide to lie? How does ambition factor in? How does love?

Our American Friend explores all of these themes, but in the propulsive package of a feminist spy thriller, a story of an unlikely friendship—and a subsequent betrayal—and a star-crossed romance that moved me to tears.”

—Carina G., Senior Editor, on Our American Friend

"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)

"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