Germany, 1939. A tumbledown farmhouse, on the outskirts of a close-knit village in the heart of the rolling hills of Bavaria. A once happy family home torn apart by Nazi rule. And one young girl who refuses to give up on what she believes in…
2018: When ninety-four-year-old Imogen receives a letter addressed to her in neat, unfamiliar handwriting, she notices the postmark is stamped from Germany – and it sends shivers down her spine…
1939:Thirteen-year-old Magda is devastated by the loss of her best friend, shy and gentle Lotte, cruelly snatched from her and sent to a concentration camp – the Star of David sewn on her faded, brown coat. As the Nazi’s power takes hold, Magda realizes she’s not like the other girls in her German village – she hates the fanatical new rules of the Hitler Youth. So Magda secretly joins The White Rose Movement and begins to rebel against the oppressive, frightening world around her.
But when an English RAF pilot lands in a field near Magda’s home she is faced with an impossible choice: to risk the lives of her family or to save a stranger and make a difference in the war she desperately wants to end.
Meanwhile in England,Fifteen-year-oldImogen is torn from her family and evacuated to the Lake District, a haven of safety away from the war raging across Europe. All she has to connect her to the bombs and the battles are the letters she writes to her loved ones. Little does she know, on the other side of the enemy line, her fate rests on the actions of one girl who will change her life forever…
The Secret Letter is a story that alternates between Magda and Imogen mainly over the course of the second world war.
By finding out more about Magda and Imogen, we get to see what things were like for people in Germany and England. From the time leading up to the war starting, as well as during, and to the final days of it ending. It was really interesting to see what life was like for both of them and their families.
I read this book on holiday and was so gripped by the authors story telling that apart from taking a quick two minute dip in the pool to cool down every hour or so, I was straight back on to my sun lounger with Kindle in hand.
Magda and Imogen both have quite different lifestyles and both do quite a lot in the war movement. I loved the strength of both characters as they are strong minded and know what they want from life. Whilst there is romance in the story this story is so much more than that. It reminds us of a time that we all should never forget and learn from.
The Secret Letter is a beautifully written story that captivated my mind and heart. In parts it was emotional at what people had to live through as well as an horrific reminder of what some people did to fellow humans. The ending was particularly emotional as I felt a whole array of emotions of happiness and sadness. A perfect historical fiction novel that fans of this genre are going to love.
My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
The Secret Letter is available to purchase from Amazon.
About the author
Debbie Rix has written five novels, the latest of which – ‘The Secret Letter’ – will be published on July 22nd 2019. The novel, set in World War II, tells the story of two girls – one German the other English whose lives eventually intertwine through the noble actions of one RAF pilot. Set in the UK and Germany, the novel is a slight departure as all Debbie’s previous novels have been set in Italy.
The Photograph – set in Sardinia – crosses generations and continents as Sophie, desperate for a child of her own, uncovers the extraordinary secrets of her grandmother, Rachael, fifty years earlier. Like her other novels, it reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. The Photograph will be published in Italy on June 6th 2019.
The Silk Weaver’s Wife – published 19th July 2017 – was shortlisted for the RNA’s Historical Novel category and is about a silk designer named Anastasia from Verona whose life is almost destroyed when she is forced into a marriage to a Venetian silk weaver. In the present day Millie visits an old villa near Verona and uncovers a lost painting. Who is the woman in the painting and how will her experiences affect Millie’s life?
Daughters of the Silk Road topped the historical fiction charts in 2016, reaching No.1 in Italian, Women’s fiction and Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and spent many weeks in the top 100 best selling lists. It follows the fortunes of a family of merchant explorers who bring a Ming vase back to Venice from China in 15th century.
‘The Girl with Emerald Eyes’ was published in 2015 and also reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. Set amidst the world of medieval Italy, it explores the creation of the most famous building in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of the novels reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. She lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden. She began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader 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.