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The Lunar Housewife

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A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the true story of CIA intervention in Cold War American arts and letters. New York City, 1953: Louise Leithauser's star is on the rise. She's filed some of the best pieces at her A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the true story of CIA intervention in Cold War American arts and letters. New York City, 1953: Louise Leithauser's star is on the rise. She's filed some of the best pieces at her boyfriend Joe's brand new literary magazine, Downtown (albeit under a male pseudonym), her relationship still makes her weak at the knees, and the science fiction romance she's writing on the side, The Lunar Housewife, is going swimmingly. But when she overhears Joe and his business partner fighting about listening devices and death threats, Louise can't help but investigate, and she quickly finds herself wading into dangerous waters. As Louise pieces together rumors, hunches, and clues, the picture begins to come together--Downtown's strings are being pulled by someone powerful, and that someone doesn't want artists or writers criticizing Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, opportunities are falling in Louise's lap that she'd have to be crazy to refuse, including an interview with America's most famous living author, Ernest Hemingway. Can Louise stand by and let doors keep opening for her, while the establishment sells out and censors her fellow writers? As her suspicions and paranoia mount, Louise's own novel The Lunar Housewife changes shape, colored by her newfound knowledge. And when Louise is forced to consider her future sooner than she planned, she needs to decide whether she can trust Joe for the rest of her life. Peppered with cameos from real life luminaries such as Truman Capote and James Baldwin, and full of period detail and nail-biting tension, Caroline Woods channels 1950s New York glamour as Louise's investigation brings her face to face with shocking secrets, brutal sexism, and life or death consequences. Deeply researched and propulsive, The Lunar Housewife is a historical thriller rich with meaning for modern readers.


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A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the true story of CIA intervention in Cold War American arts and letters. New York City, 1953: Louise Leithauser's star is on the rise. She's filed some of the best pieces at her A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the true story of CIA intervention in Cold War American arts and letters. New York City, 1953: Louise Leithauser's star is on the rise. She's filed some of the best pieces at her boyfriend Joe's brand new literary magazine, Downtown (albeit under a male pseudonym), her relationship still makes her weak at the knees, and the science fiction romance she's writing on the side, The Lunar Housewife, is going swimmingly. But when she overhears Joe and his business partner fighting about listening devices and death threats, Louise can't help but investigate, and she quickly finds herself wading into dangerous waters. As Louise pieces together rumors, hunches, and clues, the picture begins to come together--Downtown's strings are being pulled by someone powerful, and that someone doesn't want artists or writers criticizing Uncle Sam. Meanwhile, opportunities are falling in Louise's lap that she'd have to be crazy to refuse, including an interview with America's most famous living author, Ernest Hemingway. Can Louise stand by and let doors keep opening for her, while the establishment sells out and censors her fellow writers? As her suspicions and paranoia mount, Louise's own novel The Lunar Housewife changes shape, colored by her newfound knowledge. And when Louise is forced to consider her future sooner than she planned, she needs to decide whether she can trust Joe for the rest of her life. Peppered with cameos from real life luminaries such as Truman Capote and James Baldwin, and full of period detail and nail-biting tension, Caroline Woods channels 1950s New York glamour as Louise's investigation brings her face to face with shocking secrets, brutal sexism, and life or death consequences. Deeply researched and propulsive, The Lunar Housewife is a historical thriller rich with meaning for modern readers.

30 review for The Lunar Housewife

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    The Lunar Housewife is hist fic with historical thriller and espionage vibes. Set in 1950s NYC, Louise wants to taken seriously as a writer. She’s been published before under a male pen name, but she wants more. I loved this aspect of the story and how Louise was a woman ahead of her time. She is dating one of the owners of the magazine, who she also suspects of working for the CIA. Also present in the novel is Louise’s true passion, her own novel in progress, The Lunar Housewife, a romance betwe The Lunar Housewife is hist fic with historical thriller and espionage vibes. Set in 1950s NYC, Louise wants to taken seriously as a writer. She’s been published before under a male pen name, but she wants more. I loved this aspect of the story and how Louise was a woman ahead of her time. She is dating one of the owners of the magazine, who she also suspects of working for the CIA. Also present in the novel is Louise’s true passion, her own novel in progress, The Lunar Housewife, a romance between a Soviet man and an American woman both sentenced to time on the moon. It took some time for this part of the story to grow on me, but eventually it did as I found it interesting how it paralleled Louise’s experiences. My absolute favorite parts of the novel were the cameos by James Baldwin, Truman Capote, and other writers and stars of the time; but especially the ongoing friendship of sorts between Louise and Hemingway after she interviewed him for a breakout article. My cat, Hemingway, appreciated this cameo, too. By the way, he is our most wild child. 😂 Caroline Woods has a precise and immersive way of storytelling, and I enjoyed this story and its time period. It felt like a true escape that never took itself too seriously but also kept me interested and invested, especially because of the strength and voice of Louise. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    2.5 stars, rounded down I'm always on the lookout for an interesting historical fiction. What I can’t handle is historical fiction that’s more romance than history. While it’s not a romance, this still didn’t really work for me. I found it predictable, with the feeling of Girl Journalist beats the boys at their own game. Louise is trying to become a serious journalist. She wrote one article under a fictitious male name for a new men’s magazine where her boyfriend is the editor. She’s then given t 2.5 stars, rounded down I'm always on the lookout for an interesting historical fiction. What I can’t handle is historical fiction that’s more romance than history. While it’s not a romance, this still didn’t really work for me. I found it predictable, with the feeling of Girl Journalist beats the boys at their own game. Louise is trying to become a serious journalist. She wrote one article under a fictitious male name for a new men’s magazine where her boyfriend is the editor. She’s then given the opportunity to interview Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway never came across as a real person. Woods has him speak in a weird, stilted style. Wood does a good job getting the time and place right, the casual misogyny, the different attitudes between the Korean War and WWII, the communist scare and the HUAC. What she truly doesn’t get right is the science fiction novel that Louise is writing. I hated that part. It was stupid and trite and felt like a take off on a Twilight Zone episode. Described as “stylish and suspenseful”, it felt clunky and slow to me. Woods shows us Louise’s paranoia over and over, but it always felt contrived. The best part of the book was the Author’s Note, detailing which parts of the book were based on fact. I found it odd that she didn’t bring out that Hemingway was in fact monitored by the FBI and there are now claims that their ongoing surveillance of him played into his committing suicide. My thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for an advance copy of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    NYC, 1953. Louise is a former waitress, now writing some pieces for a magazine and hoping to publish fiction. That’s her façade for now, but what she really writes for a magazine is not necessarily something she’d be boasting about. Her boyfriend, Joe, and his partner found the Downtown magazine and Hemingway’s request to be interviewed by a girl could be her big break. She gets the first scoop on his upcoming book and there might be more to it as he has just come back from Cuba. Then, she finds NYC, 1953. Louise is a former waitress, now writing some pieces for a magazine and hoping to publish fiction. That’s her façade for now, but what she really writes for a magazine is not necessarily something she’d be boasting about. Her boyfriend, Joe, and his partner found the Downtown magazine and Hemingway’s request to be interviewed by a girl could be her big break. She gets the first scoop on his upcoming book and there might be more to it as he has just come back from Cuba. Then, she finds out that Joe might be part of something secretive and might have been a snitch on a colleague in his previous job. And that’s when suspense starts building with many twists and turns. There are a few moments where scenes were described for longer that I’d like, for ex. when she was interviewing Hemingway. It was originally presented, but a bit too stretched out. The period details are shown (not told), which is commendable. The characters are well-developed, but I found some parts such as Louise not wanting to get married, because she didn’t want Joe to meet her parents as she was ashamed of something or another cheating on a spouse as cliché. I would prefer to see something more original since these are fictional characters for most of the part. There is also a parallel story, the one Louise is writing. I know it serves a purpose, but I personally don’t like this kind of format. If you like plot-driven stories with well-developed characters that weave a true fact of the past, in this case, Americans creating propaganda during the Cold War, then this might be a perfect book for you. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    This is too much of a romance novel for me. I got through it by skimming heavily. It wasn’t really the “web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries” that the blurb promised, more like a soap opera. 2.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy Jones

    Writer Louise Leithauser is on the rise as she earns freelance writing jobs for a hot new literary journal edited by her new boyfriend, while in her free time she works on her first novel... Until she starts to suspect her boyfriend and his magazine might be pushing propaganda for the CIA. There's so much to love about this book: the intrigue of secret CIA agents influencing American magazines (true story!), cameos by famous writers who Louise works with along the way (hello, Hemingway!), and wa Writer Louise Leithauser is on the rise as she earns freelance writing jobs for a hot new literary journal edited by her new boyfriend, while in her free time she works on her first novel... Until she starts to suspect her boyfriend and his magazine might be pushing propaganda for the CIA. There's so much to love about this book: the intrigue of secret CIA agents influencing American magazines (true story!), cameos by famous writers who Louise works with along the way (hello, Hemingway!), and watching Louise come into her own as both a writer and an independent woman in 1950s America. I admit, before I started reading I wasn't entirely sold on the novel-within-a-novel where we get to read Louise's work in progress, but let me tell you--it works and on so many levels. To be frank, this is the book I wish I'd written, but kudos to Caroline Woods for doing it a thousand times better than I ever could. (Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Woods

    Dear Readers: This book is now available to request on NetGalley! I hope you enjoy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    What It's About: In the mid-1950s, writer Louise Leithauser finally get a chance to write under her own name when she gets the opportunity to interview none other than Ernest Hemingway himself for Downtown, the magazine her boyfriend Joe Martin edits, but her excitement is soon tempered when she comes to suspect Joe might be in cahoots with the CIA to censor writers. Character I was rooting for: Louise is no shrinking violet, and she makes some especially bold moves given the era. She's also pier What It's About: In the mid-1950s, writer Louise Leithauser finally get a chance to write under her own name when she gets the opportunity to interview none other than Ernest Hemingway himself for Downtown, the magazine her boyfriend Joe Martin edits, but her excitement is soon tempered when she comes to suspect Joe might be in cahoots with the CIA to censor writers. Character I was rooting for: Louise is no shrinking violet, and she makes some especially bold moves given the era. She's also piercingly insightful, and you'll get the chance to read her writing as she pens her science fiction romance, The Lunar Housewife, as the story progresses. Why I loved it: The elegant writing, the attention to detail that brings 1950s New York to life, the novel within a novel, the propulsive plot, the sharp observations about the lives of women during the era.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Ellen

    God I LOVED this book. We all need a good escape right now and this immersive, intriguing book is the perfect summer read for 2022. The Lunar Housewife transported me to swanky, sexy Manhattan, romantic Rome, and even (yes) the moon. I don’t think I’ve ever recognized a character as more real than Louise Leithauser. I felt her nervous excitement when she interviewed Hemingway. I felt her outrage as Joe gaslit her over a steak dinner. I felt her anxiety as she was dogged by strange men throughout God I LOVED this book. We all need a good escape right now and this immersive, intriguing book is the perfect summer read for 2022. The Lunar Housewife transported me to swanky, sexy Manhattan, romantic Rome, and even (yes) the moon. I don’t think I’ve ever recognized a character as more real than Louise Leithauser. I felt her nervous excitement when she interviewed Hemingway. I felt her outrage as Joe gaslit her over a steak dinner. I felt her anxiety as she was dogged by strange men throughout New York. And I felt her sparkling defiance as she poured all of her passion and frustration into her secret novel. Loved loved loved this book. I inhaled it in under a day and wish I could read it again for the first time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    A page-turning, twisting mystery about the dark side of Americana and the escalating cost of free thought. Louise is a winning heroine, and I couldn't stop turning pages to find out how deep the conspiracy within her publishing circle went. A must-read for lovers of Cold War fiction, spy thrillers, literary magazines, 1950s New York, and satisfying endings. Thanks to the publisher for sending me an advance copy! A page-turning, twisting mystery about the dark side of Americana and the escalating cost of free thought. Louise is a winning heroine, and I couldn't stop turning pages to find out how deep the conspiracy within her publishing circle went. A must-read for lovers of Cold War fiction, spy thrillers, literary magazines, 1950s New York, and satisfying endings. Thanks to the publisher for sending me an advance copy!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    BRILLIANT! Would give it 6 stars if I could. This deliciously clever read offers a unique take on a spy/historical novel. There are so many topics here for book club discussions: sexism, cold war, government censorship of the arts. Louise Leithauser is a talented political journalist dealing with sexism in the 50’s. To get her articles published she is forced to use a male pen name. Meanwhile, Louise is writing her own American-Soviet, sci-fi, historical romance novel which parallels her own his BRILLIANT! Would give it 6 stars if I could. This deliciously clever read offers a unique take on a spy/historical novel. There are so many topics here for book club discussions: sexism, cold war, government censorship of the arts. Louise Leithauser is a talented political journalist dealing with sexism in the 50’s. To get her articles published she is forced to use a male pen name. Meanwhile, Louise is writing her own American-Soviet, sci-fi, historical romance novel which parallels her own history and frustrations with gender-inequality and politics. Don’t want to give any spoilers here, but the ending itself is perfect for discussions about men’s perspectives of women’s fiction. A MUST READ!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    This is well written historical fiction that keeps the tension high right up to the last page. It’s about an ambitious young woman who gets caught up in the Cold War intrigue of the early ‘50s. She’s talented and intelligent but the execs at the magazine start-up she contributes to don’t take her seriously - to the point that they run her articles under a man’s name and ‘edit out’ key elements in her writing to publish later under their own bylines. And not only that but why would the CIA care a This is well written historical fiction that keeps the tension high right up to the last page. It’s about an ambitious young woman who gets caught up in the Cold War intrigue of the early ‘50s. She’s talented and intelligent but the execs at the magazine start-up she contributes to don’t take her seriously - to the point that they run her articles under a man’s name and ‘edit out’ key elements in her writing to publish later under their own bylines. And not only that but why would the CIA care about the science fiction romance she’s working on in her spare time? Just how many strings are they pulling in the publishing industry anyway? Be sure not to miss the Author’s Note at the end that explains how the CIA’s Cold War propaganda machine inspired this novel – in fact, I’d say read it first. Also, check out this tiktoc video another reviewer posted. It really captures the book’s vibe. My thanks to the publisher and Goodreads Giveaways for the chance to review a book that wouldn’t have been on my radar and now might be the best one I read this year.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Luise

    I loved this book and read it in 2 days! It’s the perfect page turner for summer. Set in the Cold War era, it wonderfully transports you to Louise’s world of espionage, sexism, and romance. This well-written novel has it all, including an appearance of Hemingway which I really enjoyed. Five stars!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition

    I was immediately drawn to the attractive 1950's black & pink photo on the cover - The setting is NYC in 1953, a young female journalist wants to be taken seriously, so she writes under a male byline for an up & coming, modern urban literary magazine. In her free time, Louise writes a science fiction romance based on the deception portrayed to the public by the CIA and the Soviet Union. Truman Capote and James Baldwin appear briefly and Louise gets to interview Ernest Hemingway for the magazine he I was immediately drawn to the attractive 1950's black & pink photo on the cover - The setting is NYC in 1953, a young female journalist wants to be taken seriously, so she writes under a male byline for an up & coming, modern urban literary magazine. In her free time, Louise writes a science fiction romance based on the deception portrayed to the public by the CIA and the Soviet Union. Truman Capote and James Baldwin appear briefly and Louise gets to interview Ernest Hemingway for the magazine her boyfriend owns. It is interesting to see how Louise navigates her way in a male dominated industry and society who thinks women should still be home in the kitchen. The suspense starts when she uncovers subtle propaganda within the magazine and no one is whom they seem. The author deftly switches back & forth between Louise's life and the life of the woman in the book she is writing, until they are happening parallel to each other. The author's note states that this book was inspired by actual events as the CIA used American arts & letters as propaganda during the cold War, funneling government money to writers and magazines, such as "The Paris Review" and trained people as spies to keep tabs on fellow writers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I loved this book. The heroine felt like a well known friend to me by the end. She and all of the characters were very well developed- relatable and real. The plot was intriguing- dramatic and suspenseful. A young woman looking to be validated as a writer in the Cold War era balances her relationship and personal life drama with her desire to be a true writer, using her name and not a man’s pen name. She finds herself looking over her shoulder and not knowing who she can trust to be who they say I loved this book. The heroine felt like a well known friend to me by the end. She and all of the characters were very well developed- relatable and real. The plot was intriguing- dramatic and suspenseful. A young woman looking to be validated as a writer in the Cold War era balances her relationship and personal life drama with her desire to be a true writer, using her name and not a man’s pen name. She finds herself looking over her shoulder and not knowing who she can trust to be who they say…. She suspects those in her life of trying to censor publications to meet the government’s agenda. Ultimately she trusts herself and her instincts to keep herself safe and to get her work and words out into the world. I tore through it so quickly- I may reread it slowly To be sure I didn’t miss anything!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda Romer

    I loved The Lunar Housewife. The story takes place in the 1950's. Louise is fantastic, she's an aspiring novelist who meets and falls in love with Joe, Downtown magazine's founder. Throughout the story they meet many famous people. I loved Ernest Hemingway. I loved the Novel Louise is writing "The Lunar Housewife" and how it coincides with her life. The story was great and is inspired by the true story of the CIA's use of American arts and letters as propaganda during the cold war. I enjoyed all I loved The Lunar Housewife. The story takes place in the 1950's. Louise is fantastic, she's an aspiring novelist who meets and falls in love with Joe, Downtown magazine's founder. Throughout the story they meet many famous people. I loved Ernest Hemingway. I loved the Novel Louise is writing "The Lunar Housewife" and how it coincides with her life. The story was great and is inspired by the true story of the CIA's use of American arts and letters as propaganda during the cold war. I enjoyed all the characters, full of life. I'm looking forward to reading more of this Authors work. #TheLunarHousewife #NetGalley I give The Lunar Housewife 5 stars for its intriguing read. I would recommend this book to Historical Fiction fans.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    In 1953 Manhattan, Louise is a file clerk moonlighting as a writer for her lover Joe’s magazine. It’s a vast improvement over her previous job as a server. But Louise begins to get suspicious of the activities of Joe and his partner, Harry, particularly when they heavily edit her interview with Ernest Hemingway. Unfortunately her suspicions coincide with her discovery of her pregnancy. Times are changin’ in 1953 but not fast enough to make the life of an unmarried mother an easy one. Louise makes In 1953 Manhattan, Louise is a file clerk moonlighting as a writer for her lover Joe’s magazine. It’s a vast improvement over her previous job as a server. But Louise begins to get suspicious of the activities of Joe and his partner, Harry, particularly when they heavily edit her interview with Ernest Hemingway. Unfortunately her suspicions coincide with her discovery of her pregnancy. Times are changin’ in 1953 but not fast enough to make the life of an unmarried mother an easy one. Louise makes some major decisions, enabling her to finish her science fiction/romance novel that Joe derided (chapters of which are interspersed through the book). Based on the CIA’s actual involvement in influencing art and letters in the 1950s, this novel is a fascinating glimpse into the “other” 1950s—the one not cheerfully portrayed in Happy Days and that ilk. Louise is a brave heroine, unafraid to challenge social mores. Along with Hemingway, other real-life figures have cameos in this book (James Baldwin and Truman Capote, to name a few). #TheLunarHousewife #NetGalley

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Although THE LUNAR HOUSEWIFE focuses on the serious themes of CIA censorship of journalism, feminism, family dynamics, and motherhood, it is also wildly entertaining. Sexy romps on the moon! The novel is a quick read because with all its twists and turns, you just can’t put it down. I so hope this becomes a movie!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Diehl

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I thoroughly enjoyed diving into The Lunar Housewife! Louise Leithauser is a modern day feminist during the Cold War. She holds her own and continues to push boundaries while being surrounded by condescending men. Perfect summer read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Bichler

    Check out the aesthetic video I made for the book on my TikTok and Instagram @katherinebichler. See the links below! 👇🏼 https://vm.tiktok.com/ZTdpL1Rnt/ https://www.instagram.com/reel/CdeBZZ... ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 STARS Set in NYC in the 1950s, this historical fiction novel was well done. A waitress turned aspiring writer gets the chance to interview Ernest Hemingway and enter into the brave new world of women writers in the fifties. I loved the interaction with Hemingway and the MC,Louise. It was a creati Check out the aesthetic video I made for the book on my TikTok and Instagram @katherinebichler. See the links below! 👇🏼 https://vm.tiktok.com/ZTdpL1Rnt/ https://www.instagram.com/reel/CdeBZZ... ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 STARS Set in NYC in the 1950s, this historical fiction novel was well done. A waitress turned aspiring writer gets the chance to interview Ernest Hemingway and enter into the brave new world of women writers in the fifties. I loved the interaction with Hemingway and the MC,Louise. It was a creative way to bring an iconic writer into storyline. The suspense aspect with the CIA left something to be desired and it wasn’t what I expected, but it was still good. There was a little bit of everything: sci-fi, historical, suspense, romance, & feminism. Overall, it was a good book! There was also a parallel story, the plot to Louise’s manuscript which I wanted there to be more of! I enjoyed that storyline. 🛰 Thank you to Doubleday Books for an advance reader copy of this book! 💙

  20. 5 out of 5

    JUNEBUG

    Read this book in 1 day. A page-turner! I learned a lot and was intriqued by the historical Cold War relevance and government censorship of the arts. 5+ star!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I honestly did not like it. It is extremely rare that I do not finish I book. I made it through 41% and just could not push on. Flares went up at the beginning that this book would not be for me. I was looking forward to reading "A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the tr I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I honestly did not like it. It is extremely rare that I do not finish I book. I made it through 41% and just could not push on. Flares went up at the beginning that this book would not be for me. I was looking forward to reading "A stylish and suspenseful historical page-turner following an up-and-coming journalist who stumbles onto a web of secrets, deceptions, and mysteries at a popular new literary magazine--inspired by the true story of CIA intervention in Cold War American arts and letters." BUT... Two stories. Louise Leithauser, New York City, 1953 and her struggles in the literary world [publishing using a male pseudonym in a new literary magazine] --and in life, her boyfriend, Joe, yadda yadda. Joe's best friend Harry, who screws around on his wife, Glenys, Louise's friend. Louise is writing a science fiction romance novel on the side--The Lunar Housewife [hence the title]-- where a female US astronaut is in space with a male Soviet astronaut. Much gender inequality in both stories. The novel reads in part like a narrated black and white noir movie [or so it seemed to me--at least at the start]. There were hints from the beginning that Joe was not who he seemed--[I never really found out as I abandoned]. Language such as: "we kissed deeply" "He had his sinewy arms crossed over his chest. For a moment, she felt distracted." "She hesitated to think of it as desire, but it was something, something. "I know that." said Sergey, his words coming out in nearly a whisper." signalled that I could not go on. In the distinct minority of readers [so far].

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael M.

    I loved this historical thriller set in the Cold War era. Excellent espionage plot with many twists and turns. Highly recommend.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katie G

    I found this book to be very engrossing. I don't usually gravitate to historical fiction but this was really fun to read! I found this book to be very engrossing. I don't usually gravitate to historical fiction but this was really fun to read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Vavals

    The Lunar Housewife, by Caroline Woods, is a historic sci-fi thriller that draws you into the 1950s glamorous literary world of New York City. It is a story within a story about an upcoming journalist who starts writing for a new magazine. There she gets involved with some dangerous secrets and deceptions as she writes a sci-fi romance on the side. It’s a real page turner until the end. I couldn’t put it down!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Allan Cox

    Great book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Stivers

    Where to even start? I absolutely LOVED this book! It's hands-down the best historical fiction novel I've read in 2022. Let me tell you why. First, Louise is a great protagonist. She's determined and she fights back, which makes her easy to root for. She also can overdo it, putting her foot in her mouth at the worst of times. She makes mistakes, she isn't always the best person in the room but she never quits, in both her writing and her stubbornness for truth. She isn't silent when people tell Where to even start? I absolutely LOVED this book! It's hands-down the best historical fiction novel I've read in 2022. Let me tell you why. First, Louise is a great protagonist. She's determined and she fights back, which makes her easy to root for. She also can overdo it, putting her foot in her mouth at the worst of times. She makes mistakes, she isn't always the best person in the room but she never quits, in both her writing and her stubbornness for truth. She isn't silent when people tell her she's being dramatic or paranoid. I adored her, I got scared for her. Louise was a fantastic POV for this story. Then the pacing, which is completely spot-on. This is historical fiction with a thriller-ish twist, a mystery that keeps you reading long after you meant to put the book down. The Cold War suspense vibe is very up my alley (many years studying this time period though from the Soviet side) and added a great layer of tension throughout the story. I really enjoyed the inclusion of some Hemingway as a side character and thought it fit well, a challenge when adding in a real-life historical figure into fiction. The ending was absolute perfection, both the novel one and the one in Louise's novel which is written throughout the book. In fact, I enjoyed the excerpts of Louise's novel so much, I would've read the whole thing if that had been an option! There was a twist in there (I can't even reference what it's about because you don't deserve spoilers) that was SO good I gasped aloud. Books within books are tricky and this author pulled it off beautifully. I can't get enough of this book. A great protagonist, solid historical research, interesting time period, thriller-esque moments, pacing that won't let you stop, and intriguing book-within-book chapters. It hit all the high notes! I just finished it an hour ago and have already recommended it to several family and friends. It's really great. I hope you give it a try! Note: I received a free electronic edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review above. I would like to thank them, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to do so.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jan Palmer

    Just finished and can't quit smiling The ending surprised and delighted me. I'm not often surprised and so happily. A book in a book. Great summer read. Just finished and can't quit smiling The ending surprised and delighted me. I'm not often surprised and so happily. A book in a book. Great summer read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Trish MacEnulty

    This review first appeared in the Historical Novel Review: A novel within a novel is tricky business. For one thing, both stories must be compelling. Secondly, they should be mutually relevant, each one somehow illuminating the other. Fortunately, Caroline Woods succeeds on both fronts in this stylishly written novel set in the Cold War era. Louise Leithauser is a neophyte writer in New York City in 1953. Luckily, her boyfriend, Joe, is the co-founder of a hip, new literary magazine, and through This review first appeared in the Historical Novel Review: A novel within a novel is tricky business. For one thing, both stories must be compelling. Secondly, they should be mutually relevant, each one somehow illuminating the other. Fortunately, Caroline Woods succeeds on both fronts in this stylishly written novel set in the Cold War era. Louise Leithauser is a neophyte writer in New York City in 1953. Luckily, her boyfriend, Joe, is the co-founder of a hip, new literary magazine, and through this connection, she rubs elbows with the likes of Truman Capote and James Baldwin and even scores an interview with “Papa” Hemingway. Louise tries to hide her past as a waitress and her lower class family background, but it turns out that some of her literary friends have much worse things to hide. When she overhears a conversation, implying that certain editors are involved in some skulduggery with the C.I.A. and F.B.I., she finds she can trust no one. With a brother missing in Korea, Louise has already begun to question the U.S. government’s role in international conflicts. The only way she can make sense of the situation is through writing what appears to be no more than a silly romance novel about a woman on the moon. But she soon realizes her book contains “things I didn’t even know I was writing about until I’d written them.” Both the suspense and the tongue-in-cheek, Hitchcockian tone propel events forward. The fact that the plot is inspired by “the true story of the CIA’s use of American arts and letters as propaganda during the Cold War,” as Woods explains in her author’s note, makes the book even more fascinating.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kepesh

    This is an enjoyable thriller, set in the early 50s. Louise is a young woman dating a magazine publisher whose magazine is a cross between "The New Yorker" and "Playboy." She's got her own articles in it, but not her own name--the political stuff has a male pen name. The book reads a little like "Mad Men," except that it's focused on Louise, and there's the thriller part: Is the magazine being funded by the CIA? Are people who want to make this information public being targeted? Several literary This is an enjoyable thriller, set in the early 50s. Louise is a young woman dating a magazine publisher whose magazine is a cross between "The New Yorker" and "Playboy." She's got her own articles in it, but not her own name--the political stuff has a male pen name. The book reads a little like "Mad Men," except that it's focused on Louise, and there's the thriller part: Is the magazine being funded by the CIA? Are people who want to make this information public being targeted? Several literary luminaries of the time have walk-ons (and one even gets a bit part). The book? It's the title of the crazy science-fiction/romance that Louise is writing. Maybe just a little to saucy, maybe just a little too political for the time...maybe leading her into danger of her own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Louise is an aspiring writer in NY in 1953. While working for a literary magazine, Downtown, she discovers some disturbing connections with the CIA. It soon becomes evident that she may know too much and that the magazine is part of something bigger. Loosely inspired by Peter Matthiessen and the Paris Review, this is a fascinating multilayered novel. It's historical fiction, a mystery, and romance with a conspiracy and spies thrown into the mix. It has a riveting science fiction story thrown in Louise is an aspiring writer in NY in 1953. While working for a literary magazine, Downtown, she discovers some disturbing connections with the CIA. It soon becomes evident that she may know too much and that the magazine is part of something bigger. Loosely inspired by Peter Matthiessen and the Paris Review, this is a fascinating multilayered novel. It's historical fiction, a mystery, and romance with a conspiracy and spies thrown into the mix. It has a riveting science fiction story thrown in with plenty of twists and turns that mirror what is happening in Louise's life. There are wonderful portrayals of James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway with serious discussions about government censoring and the controlling of artists. A solidly good story that tells of a little known history of American letters that is both timely and relevant.

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