Acclaimed author John Burnham Schwartz’s new novel The Red Daughter is my favorite kind of book – gripping historical fiction where facts of the past comes to literary life through the prism of imagination. His subject couldn’t be more romantic. In 1967 Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s daughter Svetlana defected to the United States to find a life clear of her father’s brutal legacy. What awaited her - America in the throes of a cultural revolution, unwanted celebrity, alienation, and disillusionment are tempered by the relationship with a young lawyer, Peter Horvath, sent by the CIA to smuggle her into the country, a relationship that redefines her struggle for freedom and changes them both. In real life this lawyer was John’s father who must be proud of the way his son has reimagined the story and brought Svetlana shimmering back to life.
I had the pleasure of helping narrate the audio book of John’s earlier best seller Reservation Road for Random House and know him to be a writer of the first rank.