9 of the best books about female spies

9 of the Best Books About Female Spies, According to Kate Quinn

By Kate Quinn•March 3, 2021

Women and espionage have always gone together like peanut butter and chocolate. All throughout history there have been spies, and many of them were women — because women have often been able to pass unnoticed while men would be stopped and questioned. It’s no wonder these real-life heroines have inspired so many fabulous novels about women spies! Here are a few of my favorites… 

New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn’s new book, The Rose Code, will be released on March 9. Pick up your copy here.

Book cover for Shining Through by Susan Isaacs

Shining ThroughSusan Isaacs

My favorite spy heroine of all time: Linda Voss, a Jewish German secretary from Queens with a foul mouth, a wry sense of humor, and enough steel in her spine to build a bridge cable. Linda’s CIA boss leads her into the world of espionage, and she volunteers to go deep-cover in Berlin as D-Day approaches. “I wanted to fight as much as any boy who enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor,” she tells us, …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

The Secrets We KeptLara Prescott

A slice-of-life drama, a spy narrative, and a moving female/female romance unfold in the pressure cooker of the Cold War, as a CIA plot grows around the classic Soviet novel Doctor Zhivago. First, there is the passionate Olga, who inspired the novel’s heroine. Then there is the American spy and her new apprentice, who are enlisted in a scheme to use the novel as a weapon against Soviet …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name VerityElizabeth Wein

There’s a lot about truth in Code Name Verity — who’s telling the truth, who’s manipulating the truth — and it all swirls around Verity herself, a nameless English World War II spy who has fallen into the hands of the Gestapo and is gladly betraying her country for a chance at life. The facts coil in on themselves and make you second-guess every word. Is Verity really spilling her guts, or is she …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

An Extraordinary UnionAlyssa Cole

A sparkling Civil War-era tale with a pair of spies at its heart: a dashing Pinkerton detective busy infiltrating a Rebel enclave, and the formerly enslaved Elle, who has put her steel nerves and eidetic memory to work spying against the Confederacy. (Elle is based on Mary Bowser, a real-life Black heroine and Union spy with a reportedly perfect memory!). When you want sizzling romance and great …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for Black Roses by Jane Thynne

Black RosesJane Thynne

Hitler’s Berlin springs to terrifying life in Jane Thynne’s tense, evocative prose — the führer-adoring crowds, the petty rules, the ominous and omnipresent paperwork. Clara Vine, a half-British, half-German actress on the thriving Berlin film scene, makes an appealing heroine and believable spy. She’s no James Bond vamp with a vial of poison in her garter, simply an observant woman making good …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

The BlueNancy Bilyeau

Not all women spies operated during wartime — industrial espionage has been around as long as there has been business or science! The Blue centers around a young woman recruited to infiltrate the 18th-century porcelain trade: She’ll win her independence if she can steal the scientific formula behind a sensational new shade of porcelain dye. A fascinating blend of religious strife, court politics, …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu

Spy PrincessShrabani Basu

This is sitting at the top of my nightstand after watching Radhika Apte star in the recent war drama A Call to Spy. Noor Inayat Khan was a pacifist, a musician, and a writer of children’s stories. A shy woman descended from Indian royalty who joined the Special Operations Executive during World War II, she was dropped into occupied France as a wireless operator. Her bravery was astounding, her …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow

Celia GarthGwen BristowThe American experiment was won not only by battlefield victories, but by the quiet work of George Washington’s intelligence service. At the start of the revolution, Celia Garth is less concerned with politics and more concerned with getting away from her domineering cousin and establishing herself as a society dressmaker to Charleston’s elite — but war and heartbreak turn this satin butterfly …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

Book cover for The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

The Invisible WomanErika Robuck

Virginia Hall is a woman so larger-than-life, she almost defies description. An American debutante turned Special Operations Executive spy, her resistance network success enraged the Gestapo, who nicknamed her “The Limping Lady” — so called for her missing leg that was lost in a hunting accident and replaced by a prosthetic, which she cheekily nicknamed “Cuthbert.” Erika Robuck’s novel of …Show More ›View Price…Save to Wishlist

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