Elizabeth Bentley: The True Story That Inspired a Novel : The History Reader

Posted on July 20, 2021

by Karin Tanabe

After I determined that I needed to write down a couple of girl within the Fifties, who was combating motherhood towards the backdrop of the Chilly Conflict, the thought of her being a spy began to type. I’ll admit that in the first place, I needed her to be an murderer with a LOT of anger, however my editor talked me out of that one! So spy it was. 

A pal instructed me about Elizabeth Bentley, who like us, had gone to Vassar Faculty in New York State. Bentley graduated in 1930 and went on to review Italian, incomes a grasp’s diploma in languages from Columbia College in 1933. This background is similar to the one I give Katharina Edgeworth, my most important character, besides that I place her as a translator at Metropolis Corridor and the United Nations after Columbia. 

Bentley joined a Communist Social gathering cell at Columbia and fell head over heels in love with Jacob Golos, a Ukrainian-born revolutionary who carried out Soviet espionage via a Soviet-backed journey company. He was additionally a founding member of Communist Social gathering of america of America (CPUSA). Within the e book, I modeled Katharina’s former love curiosity, Jacob Gornev, after Golos. 

In 1941, Bentley began working as a courier for the Communist get together, making frequent journeys between New York Metropolis and Washington, D.C., acquiring confidential stolen authorities paperwork and transporting them. This work of Bentley’s had an enormous affect on the plot of A Girl of Intelligence, as that is the work I’ve Katharina do. In fact, the massive distinction is that Elizabeth Bentley did this for the Russians, and I’ve Katharina covertly working for the FBI. 

So whereas Elizabeth Bentley definitely impressed the e book, I didn’t comply with her story that carefully. She wasn’t a mom, and she or he didn’t reside a gilded life in New York. Removed from it. However I actually preferred the thought of giving a struggling mom a secret life and a way of goal. Within the e book, Katharina just isn’t solely doing one thing that only a few girls did, however she helps her nation, whereas additionally serving to herself. It’s additionally a job that forces her to have loads of secrets and techniques, and to satisfy fascinating folks, and I actually preferred the thought of giving Katharina a secret life. The truth is, my first title concept for this e book was Secret Lifetime of Mom, as a result of I actually suppose each mom deserves to have a life away from her household – secret or not!

Credit score: Tim Coburn

Karin Tanabe is the creator of over 5 novels, together with A Hundred Suns and The Gilded Years (quickly to be a serious movement image starring Zendaya, who will produce alongside Reese Witherspoon/Good day Sunshine). A former Politico reporter, her writing has additionally been featured in The Washington Submit, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She has appeared as a star and politics skilled on Leisure Tonight, CNN, andCBS Early Present. A graduate of Vassar Faculty, Karin lives in Washington, DC.

Tags: A Girl of Intelligence, Chilly Conflict, Chilly Conflict Historical past, Communism, Elizabeth Bentley, Karin Tanabe

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