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Publisher's Summary

A thrilling novel of love, loyalty, and espionage, based on the incredible true story of Elizabeth Bentley, a Cold War double agent spying for the Russians and the United States, from USA Today best-selling author Stephanie Marie Thornton.

The year 1963: Reeling from the death of her mother and President Kennedy’s assassination, Catherine Gray shows up on Elizabeth Bentley’s doorstep demanding answers to the shocking mystery she just uncovered about her family. What she doesn’t expect is for Bentley to ensnare her in her own story of becoming a controversial World War II spy and Cold War informer....

Recruited by the American Communist Party to spy on fascists at the outbreak of World War II, a young Bentley - code name Clever Girl - finds she has an unexpected gift for espionage. But after falling desperately in love with her handler, Elizabeth makes another surprise discovery when she learns he is actually a Russian spy. Together, they will build the largest Soviet spy network in America and Elizabeth will become its uncrowned Red Spy Queen. However, once the war ends and the US and USSR become embroiled in the Cold War, it is Elizabeth who will dangerously clash with the NKVD, the brutal Soviet espionage agency. 

As Catherine listens to Elizabeth's harrowing tale, she discovers that the women's lives are linked in shocking ways. Faced with the idea that her entire existence is based on a lie, Catherine realizes that only Elizabeth Bentley can tell her what the truth really is. 

©2021 Stephanie Marie Thornton (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Thornton is a rare talent who always pairs fast-pace writing with excellent research, and A Most Clever Girl is a fascinating true Cold War story by a gifted storyteller." (Stephanie Dray, New York Times best-selling author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette)

“Take a firecracker of a plot and add to it the true story of a female double agent and the result is one explosive and unforgettable story. Elizabeth Bentley is a complicated and absorbing woman and her life as a spy for both the Russians and the Americans makes for a fascinating tale, told with immense skill by Stephanie Marie Thornton.” (Natasha Lester, New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Seamstress

“Harrowing anecdotes and juicy spycraft will keep readers turning the pages.” (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about A Most Clever Girl

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Drawn In

After a bit of a slower start (for my taste), the story became very intriguing and I got drawn into its twists and turns. The narrator is great & I enjoyed learning about Elizabeth Bentley. Recommend.

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Loved it

Wow. I knew absolutely nothing about this character and loved every minute of it. Well done.