Book Review: The Commandant’s Daughter #HistoricalNovelSociety #WorldWar2

Germany, 1933.  Hannelore (Hanni) Foss is a young girl living in Berlin as the Nazis rise to power.  Her father is a prominent figure in the Nazi party, and she lives the life that he dictates, attending Nazi functions and doing what she’s told.  Then she meets Ezra Stein, a photographer, and he shows her the art of looking at her surroundings through the lens of a camera.  She soon begins to see behind the façade of her father’s world.  In 1946 Berlin, after the fall of the Nazis, Hanni Winter has reinvented her life, working in the studio of Ezra’s son and hoping to one day bring her father to justice. With a new name and a new purpose, she keeps her past well hidden.  When she meets Detective Freddy Schlüssel, she becomes his crime scene photographer, and they begin to investigate a string of murders.

This is a compelling story that does not hold back on the descriptions of Nazi atrocities, making for an authentic and heartbreaking read. We learn a little about the history of the Nuremberg trials and the many Nazis who managed to avoid prosecution. Hanni is a purposeful and driven main character who is wracked with guilt and desperate for forgiveness. Her quest for justice is never-ending.  Through Ezra’s son Natan, and through Freddy Schlüssel we get the viewpoint of Jews who are still in Berlin and are trying to begin again after horrific persecution and loss. The evil manipulations and vile acts of the Nazis are shown through Hanni’s father. The author’s expert knowledge of and research into photography are evident throughout the story. The Commandant’s Daughter gives us a candid view of Berlin, both during and after unspeakable atrocities, uniquely conveyed through the lens of a camera.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(In her own words) I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don’t try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.

I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I’m not at my desk you’ll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.

I’d love to hear from you and there are lots of ways you can find me, so jump in via my website https://www.catherinehokin.com/ or on my Cat Hokin FB page or on twitter @cathokin

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Blog Tour and Book Review Historical Fiction: The Postcard from Italy

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Italy, 1945. ‘Where am I?’ The young man wakes, bewildered. He sees olive trees against a bright blue sky. A soft voice soothes him. ‘We saw you fall from your plane. The parachute saved you.’ He remembers nothing of his life, or the war that has torn the world apart… but where does he belong?

England, present day. Antique-shop-owner Susannah wipes away a tear as she tidies her grandmother’s belongings. Elsie’s memories are fading, and every day Susannah feels further away from her only remaining family. But everything changes when she stumbles across a yellowed postcard of a beautiful Italian stone farmhouse, tucked away in Elsie’s dressing table. A message dated from World War 2 speaks of a secret love. Could her grandmother, who never talked about the past, have fallen for someone in Italy all those years ago?

With Elsie unable to answer her questions, Susannah becomes determined to track down the house and find a distraction from her grief. Arriving at what is now a crumbling hotel by the sparkling Italian sea, she feels strangely at home. And after an unexpected encounter with handsome wine waiter Giacomo, she can’t tell if it’s his dark eyes or his offer to help solve her mystery that makes her heart race.

Together they find a dusty chest tucked in a forgotten corner of the building. The white silk of a World War 2 parachute spills out. And the Royal Air Force identity tag nestled in the folds bears a familiar name…

With Giacomo by her side, and before it’s too late for her grandmother, can Susannah discover the truth behind a shocking wartime secret at the heart of her family? Or will it tear her apart?

An absolutely stunning page-turner that will sweep you away to the olive groves and majestic views of the Italian coast. Perfect for fans of Kathryn Hughes, Fiona Valpy and Victoria Hislop.

BOOK REVIEW

Full of family secrets, mystery, and lies, Postcard from Italy takes us to the beautiful Italian seaside towards the end of World War II. A young man wakes with no memories of who he is, and by the time he discovers the truth, it is too late. He has fallen completely in love. When his former life calls him back and his memories return, what does he do? In the present day, Susannah chases a family mystery from England to Italy and finds a lot more than she bargained for.

I enjoyed the description of the Italian seaside and definitely felt transported there. The concept of forgetting your old life and embracing a life that is not yours is compelling. The conundrum of regaining memories and then having to choose between the former life and the new is intriguing and does not disappoint here. There is also another element in memory loss: As a young man loses his memories temporarily, an elderly gentleman’s recollections are fading away forever. The character development in the 1945 timeline is very strong. Overall, this is compelling, heart-breaking, family-based historical fiction. It’s about navigating a no-win situation the best way you possibly can. And it’s about how an accident can change a family forever.

I received a free copy of this book via Bookouture. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Petch

Angela Petch is an award-winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem.

Every summer she moves to Tuscany for six months where she and her husband own a renovated watermill which they let out. When not exploring their unspoiled corner of the Apennines, she disappears to her writing desk at the top of a converted stable. In her Italian handbag or hiking rucksack, she always makes sure to store a notebook and pen to jot down ideas.

The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of her family live. When Angela’s not helping out with grandchildren, she catches up with writer friends.

Angela’s gripping, WWII, Tuscan novels are published by Bookouture. While her novel, Mavis and Dot, was self-published and tells of the frolics and foibles of two best friends who live by the seaside. Angela also writes short stories published in Prima and People’s Friend.


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Book Review: Under A Sky of Memories

This is another review I did for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. It is set during World War II, but has a take on it I haven’t seen before. There are so many books coming out that are set during World War II that I really look for unique perspectives before I decide to read them. This is based on a true story.

In 1943, three nurses from different backgrounds meet at training in Kentucky and become part of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, charged with transporting the wounded to safety during World War II. Evelyn has been caring for her father and sisters after the death of her mother and has finally left to make her own way in the world. Dot was jilted by her fiancé on the eve of her departure, but is still clinging to her engagement ring, afraid to admit the truth. Vita was born in high society and is used to the finer things, but left it all to pursue a different path. Together the three women face incredible danger when their transport plane crashes in Nazi-occupied Albania. Based on a true story, this historical thriller follows a group of nurses and medics, and their flight crew, as they attempt to survive in harsh conditions with the enemy in constant pursuit.

This is a thrilling novel full of suspense, intrigue, and romance. It is told from three points of view—Evelyn, Dot, and Vita—which is crucial in making a more compelling story. The three main characters are well-written and captivating, and the romances are engaging and believable for the circumstances. The true events, expertly woven together with fictional characters, make for a fascinating read. Descriptions of the harsh conditions and perilous journey make you feel as if you are there, and the author does not hold back on the agony, suffering, and physical toll of such a situation. This adds another layer of authenticity to this book. Under a Sky of Memories takes us through snowstorms, dangerous terrain, and bullet fire during a perilous attempt at survival, and throws in romance and heartache along the way. Highly recommended for fans of World War II fiction.

I received a free copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn’t the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women’s fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller. Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she’s not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

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Self-Published Saturday: Leora’s Letters

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors. Self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. Below is a review of Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney. This is the heartbreaking story of a mother whose sons went off to war, and some of them did not return.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a heartbreaking look back at the real lives and losses of the family of Clabe and Leora Wilson, who were tenant farmers with seven living children at the start of the story. The prologue begins with the living family members putting flowers on the graves for “decoration day,” and we learn that they lost three sons and brothers in World War II. Photos and biographies of the Wilsons’ seven children who had lived to adulthood are also included. I had first gotten to know Leora’s family by reading book two, Leora’s Dexter Stories, which is a prequel. Leora and Clabe had already lost three of their ten children in infancy, and it broke my heart to see their additional loss and suffering in Leora’s Letters. In all, the Wilsons lost six of their ten children, three of them during World War II. But this is not just about loss. This is about a family that worked very hard to survive and always supported each other no matter what. The letters they all wrote to each other throughout the war are a testament to that love and support, as well as the closeness they all enjoyed.

Through their actual letters, we follow these sons and the entire family as the war progresses. And we see not only separation and suffering, but we witness the remaining family members doing backbreaking work, with the majority of their efforts going to the people who actually owned the farm. It is a testament to the way life was back then for working men and women. But this book is also about love and perseverance in the midst of all of the pain. It is a well-researched account of some of the significant events of World War II, and it will transport you back in time to the bloodiest war in history where over 60 million people died. Ultimately, it will introduce you to a loving and remarkable American farming family that made the ultimate sacrifice over and over and over again.

The research and writing of Joy Neal Kidney, and her willingness to share her family story with the world, are to be commended.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joy Neal Kidney

(In her own words) I am the keeper of family stories, letters, pictures, research, combat records, casualty reports, and terrible telegrams. Active on several history and military Facebook pages, I help administer local ones–Audubon County, Dallas County, and Guthrie County, Iowa–the places where my motherline stories originated, as well as Depression Era Iowa. 

Born two days before D-Day to an Iowa farmer who became an Army Air Corps pilot, then an instructor–with orders for combat when the war ended–and an Iowa waitress who lost three of her five brothers during that war. I spent my childhood in an Iowa farmhouse with a front porch. Now I live with my husband, a Vietnam veteran, in a suburban house with a front porch.

I’ve published two books (“Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II” and “Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.”) I’m a regular contributor to Our American Stories. 

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My review of Leora’s Dexter Stories is here

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Book Review: Red Crosses

Written by Sasha Filipenko. Translated by Brian James Baer and Ellen Vayner
Reviewed by Bonnie DeMoss for Historical Novels Review Magazine, February 2022.

Set in Minsk in 2001, and reaching back to 1930, Red Crosses introduces Tatyana, a 90-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and Alexander (Sasha), a man who is reeling from recent tragedy. Tatyana invites the reluctant Sasha into her apartment and begins sharing her fading memories of the early Soviet Union, her father’s standing in the Communist party, and her experiences during World War II.

What a touching and heartrending account of a woman who desperately wants to pass on what she has experienced before she can no longer remember.  Her description of why she’s losing her memories, “Because God’s afraid of me. I have too many inconvenient questions…” begins a fascinating, painful, and heartbreaking tale of the Soviet Union during World War II.  I learned so much about Soviet Russia at that time. For example, if a Soviet soldier was taken prisoner of war, he was immediately considered a spy, and his wife was executed or imprisoned.  Children were torn from their mothers, and interrogations were brutal with no limits.

This book includes important epistolary work such as poetry and diplomatic communications.  Music is a big part of the story, and musical works are described throughout.  The point of view changes from first person to third person at times, but is done smoothly with no interruption to the story.  You will be sad, heartbroken, devastated, and outraged as you read this beautifully written but agonizing tale. This book can be perfectly described by this one quote: “What surprises me the most is how fast, literally in a moment, morality can be shut down. Poof! Dehumanization takes only a second.” Anyone interested in a different aspect of World War II historical fiction will want to read about the shocking actions of Stalin against his own people and a woman who lived through it.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Reading the translators’ note at the beginning of the book will greatly enhance your reading experience.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sasha Filipenko, born in Minsk in 1984, is a Belarusian author who writes in Russian. After abandoning his classical music training, he studied literature in St. Petersburg and worked as a journalist, screenwriter and author for a satire show. Sasha Filipenko lives in St. Petersburg.

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Blog Tour and Book Review: The German Wife

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Germany, 1939:Annaliese is trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband Hans has become cold and secretive since starting a new job as a doctor at Dachau. Every morning she watches from her kitchen window as he leaves in his car. The sight of him in the dark uniform of the SS sends shivers of fear down her spine and she longs to escape…

When a tall, handsome Russian prisoner named Alexander is sent from Dachau to work in their garden, lonely Annaliese finds herself drawn to him as they tend to the plants together. In snatched moments and broken whispers, Alexander tells her the shocking truth about the camp. Horrified, Annaliese vows to do everything she can to save him.

But as they grow closer, their feelings for each other put their lives at risk. And Annaliese finds herself in grave danger when she dares to fight for love and freedom…

America, 1989: Turning the pages of the newspaper, Annaliese gasps when she recognizes the face of a man she thought she’d never see again. It makes her heart skip a beat as a rush of wartime memories come flooding back to her. As she reads on, she realizes the past is catching up with her. And she must confront a decades-old secret – or risk losing her only son…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbie Rix has written seven novels, the latest of which is The German Wife. As an ex-journalist, historical accuracy is key, and she strives to weave her stories around real life events. ‘The research process is vital,’ she says. ‘I work on the principle that if I find something fascinating, then so too will my readers.’

Her novels have been published in several languages – including Italian and Czech and her 5th novel ‘The Secret Letter’ will soon come out in Russia.

Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and that country is the setting for 5 of her 7 novels. When not traveling she lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, chickens and four cats. She began her career with the BBC – initially as the newsreader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.

BOOK REVIEW

This is an interesting but disturbing German perspective on World War II, both before, during, and after the war. Annaliese goes from a young woman in love with her husband, Hans, to someone married to a monster, a doctor at Dachau concentration camp. When she meets Alexander, a prisoner sent to work in her garden, she learns the horrific truth about Dachau and her husband’s role there.

This is a heartbreaking story of a woman thrust into a situation she never would have chosen and how she responds to it. The character development of Anna and Alex is good, and disconcerting at times, as Anna cannot seem to completely grasp what Alex has been through. There is also a shocking situation between them that Anna doesn’t fully seem to understand. The often cold and calculating, but sometimes conflicted Hans is well written. He is the epitome of someone who gave up humanity for personal gain. Some other German characters in the novel, including Anna at times, seem to want to ignore the past and forget their roles in it. Although this seems cold, it is possibly close to a true portrayal of how Germans were feeling at the time. This is a heartrending novel about an evil regime, the people they used and slaughtered, and the country they tore apart. It is also a look at that time in history through the eyes of a German woman who was left to rebuild her life in the aftermath.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

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Blog Tour and Book Review: #TheLondonHouse

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. KnightleyLizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily PriceThe Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flairKatherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and is a wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL.

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BOOK REVIEW

This is a compelling dual timeline novel set in World War II and the present day. When Caroline’s old college friend Mat shows up at her door, he is not there to exchange pleasantries, but to reveal family secrets. Caroline is so shocked by these revelations that she flies to her grandmother’s house in London, determined to find the truth. What she finds are much more than family secrets. She uncovers a rich, life-changing history and a written portrait, drawn in letters and diary entries, of a little-known relative. The character development and world-building really drew me in, and the story kept me riveted throughout. The WWII historical research is very well done. This intriguing novel of secrets, lies, war, and spies will keep you captivated and turning the page. Fans of historical fiction, World War II Novels, and family history will enjoy this fascinating tale.

I received a free copy of this book from Harpermuse Books via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

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Book Review: Beyond This Broken Sky

This is a dual-timeline novel set in London in 1940 and 2019. In 1940, rich and carefree Ruby has surprisingly volunteered for the ambulance service during the Nazi bombing of Britain, otherwise known as the Blitz. Her partner and driver is Joseph, a conscientious objector. Ruby owns a house in London and has rented out one of the top two floors to Joseph and the other to a married couple, Kitty and Reg. In 2019, Edi has purchased an apartment in London and is trying to start life anew. A neighbor, a book, and a hidden object lead her to pursue a mystery and learn about the actions of truly courageous women in a dangerous time.

I was spellbound by this novel, which transports us to a shell-shocked London being hit with a barrage of bombs night after night. We careen through the streets in an ambulance, saving who we can, and we do it over and over. This is the life of Ruby at that time. We also meet Joseph, who cannot take a life but wants to help his country in other ways. We learn of life-threatening prejudice against women, and we witness the very real September 1940 occupation of the Savoy Hotel, as the differences between the shelter accommodations of the rich and poor are made very obvious.  In 2019, the heartbroken but determined Edi, with the help of her neighbor, Pearl, unravels a mystery that has been hidden for decades.

This is a unique and eye-opening look at London during the Blitz that gives us deeper insight into the realities of life in that era. I highly recommend this book to fans of World War II fiction, women’s fiction, and mysteries.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Bookouture, for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Siobhan Curham

(In Her Own Words)

When I was a child my evil genius parents decided not to have a TV as they thought it was bad for a child’s imagination – I mean, as if?! And, as this was in the days before the internet and mobile phones, I had a choice – I could either learn to love books or I could die of boredom. So I learnt to love books and pretty soon my love of reading grew into a love of writing and I dreamt of one day having a shelf of books of my own.

At eighteen I set off for uni in pursuit of my dream, to study English Literature. But two years into my degree, I become plagued by the fear that I just didn’t have what it took to become a professional writer. I came from a much poorer background than most of my fellow students and I started to feel that people from council estates didn’t belong in the middle class world of publishing. So I dropped out of uni and ended up working in the complaints department for a frozen food company where all I wrote were grovelling apology letters to irate customers. (This is the tragic low point of my story).

After four years of working in jobs I hated I came to an important realisation: life can be a very dull and dark place when you don’t dare to dream. So I dusted off my literary dreams and instead of seeing writing as some kind of rarefied world solely for the silver-spooned, I decided to approach it as I would any other job, starting small and working my way up. I began my quest writing short stories for weekly women’s magazines (the kind of magazines that have headlines like: The Day My Womb Fell Out! and OMG My Fella is Sleeping With the Milkman!). Then I wrote some articles. Having short stories and articles published gave me the confidence to finally have a go at writing my first book.

That book was published in 2000.

Fast forward 20 years and I’ve now written over 30 books and I’ve won three book awards. Moral of the story … never give up on your dreams!

I love helping other people with their writing, in my work as an editor and writing coach.

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Book Blast: The Girls From The Beach

***Not a Book Review

THE GIRLS FROM THE BEACH BY ANDIE NEWTON

Digital Publication Date: July 8, 2021
Paperback Publication Date: January 2022
Aria Fiction

Genre: Historical Fiction

‘We’d heard stories about the nurses in tent seven. A secret mission, stolen money, and spies…’

In 1944, four American nurses disappeared for five days. No one knew what happened to them. Until now.

When Kit and Red set foot on French soil during the Normandy landings, they know they have to rely on each other. As they head for the battlefield, their aim is simple: save lives. But when they’re called away on a top-secret mission to patch up a few men behind enemy lines, everything changes.

Alongside fellow nurses, Roxy and Gail, they’re told to prepare for the worst, trading in their nurses’ fatigues for civilian clothes and hiding medical supplies under their skirts. But it’s a lie. Their real mission tasks them with the impossible – to infiltrate the Reich and steal something the Nazis desperately need to win their losing war.

In an ultimate test of courage and comradeship, each woman must decide what she is prepared to risk and what she has to live for.

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Praise for The Girls From The Beach

‘One of my favorite books of 2021 and a true must-read for all fans of the genre. It’s not just a story of friendship, but a story of patriotism, heroism, and selfless sacrifice in the name of freedom. Absolutely riveting!’ – Ellie Midwood, USA Today bestselling author of The Violinist of Auschwitz

‘A wild ride of a book, laced with beautifully flawed characters, impeccable research and a story that will make you cry with tears of joy and sorrow. A resounding five-star read!’ – Terry Lynn Thomas, USA Today bestselling author of The Silent Woman

‘What a story! The Girls from the Beach took me on a rollercoaster ride of mystery and suspense. The Girls from the Beach is a testimony to courage, integrity and female friendship. And that ending – wow!’ – Gill Thompson, bestselling author of The Oceans Between Us

‘The Girls from the Beach is a unique and incredibly imaginative story inspired by the nurses who worked on the front line in World War Two. It is action-packed and full of unexpected drama around every turn – I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next! Readers who enjoyed Newton’s earlier books will be sure to love this one’ – Louise Fein, bestselling author of People Like Us

About the Author

Andie Newton is the USA Today bestselling author of The Girl from Vichy and the author of The Girl I Left Behind. Andie holds a Bachelor degree in History and a Master in Teaching. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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Book Review: The Secretary

The Secretary is another book I reviewed for the August edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

In Germany in 1940, Magda has become Heinrich Himmler’s secretary. But all is not as it seems. By day she organizes glamorous and decadent parties for Nazi officials, and by night she smuggles secrets out of the office and helps others get to safety. Risking her life every day, she places her trust in very few people. However, an unsuspected source of betrayal is lurking in the background. In East Berlin in 1988, Nina finally gets her grandmother to talk about a beautiful drawing of a house that she found hidden away as a child. With her grandmother as a new ally, Nina attempts escape from East Berlin for both of them.

This is a heartrending dual-timeline novel that shows us the horrors in Germany in both Hitler’s 1940 and the Cold War years in late 1980s East Berlin. Two women, grandmother and granddaughter, risk themselves to help others. What ties it all together is a house and the secrets it holds. Your heart will race, and you will weep as you are swept back and forth from Heinrich Himmler’s office in the 1940s to an East Berlin prison in 1989. You will see the downfall of the Third Reich and watch the Berlin Wall come down. This is a sad but thrilling novel full of danger, love, and loss that will keep you enthralled. I was especially entranced as I watched the Berlin Wall open up from the perspective of someone inside East Berlin. The descriptions of the differences between East Berlin and West Berlin at the time were fascinating. Fans of World War II fiction, Cold War fiction, and German history will not want to miss this one.

I received a free copy of this book via Bookouture for Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Hokin

(In Her Own Words)

I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don’t try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.

I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I’m not at my desk you’ll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.

I’d love to hear from you and there are lots of ways you can find me, so jump in via my website https://www.catherinehokin.com/ or on my Cat Hokin FB page or on twitter @cathokinRead less

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