Love In Leningrad


Harriet Costa

When Harriet Costa was young, she was often mistaken for a spy. Growing up in the 1960s, people would often say on meeting her, “Oh, so you’re Harriet, the Spy.” The beloved bestseller by Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy, loomed large in her childhood and prompted her to think about what it meant to be a spy. Later on, as she studied Russian at Harvard amid Cold War tensions, and even after college in graduate school when she was studying in France, people from countries that didn’t trust the United States, thought Harriet must be a spy. Why would she be studying computers in Paris and doing aerobics in her room to keep fit? She must be a spy.

Like many first time authors, Harriet Costa’s Love in Leningrad is semi-autobiographical. Since her family came from Eastern Europe in the 1800s and she excelled at languages, she decided to study Russian in school. In the summer of her sixteenth year, Harriet joined an American teen tour group going to Russia to study the language. Getting out of her day-to-day life in suburban Boston, traveling abroad for the first time, and reflecting on other people’s choices in similar situations were life changing for her. 

When, as an adult, Harriet met a real spy, Love in Leningrad’s publication was sealed.

Costa received an AB from Harvard in Russian and Soviet Area Studies, a Masters Degree from University of Paris in Information Systems, and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. When she is not actively spying, Harriet works as a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).




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