The Secret Letter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

The following review was posted on Goodreads:

I am grateful to the publishers for allowing me access to this book through NetGalley. I loved it so much, I read it in less than 24 hours! I’m a sucker for a good WWII novel, especially when it includes unique stories that I haven’t heard of before. I loved that this novel was based on true events experienced by the author’s family members. I loved that it included action, romance, family, friendship, love, sacrifice, redemption, and a few amazing strong female characters. I’d highly recommend this book to my fellow WWII readers!
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3.5 stars

The setting of this story is from the start of WW2 until it’s end. It does a wonderful job of detailing some of the historical highlights that happened during the war. It doesn’t get too immersed in the details of these events, but rather refers to them during the plot line. The plot itself alternates between two perspectives- Imogen is a British girl/woman who signs up as a Wren after finishing her high school. Magda is a German girl/woman whose plans to go to university upon high school graduation are thwarted as she becomes involved in German resistance. 

The book is nicely written (aside from a fair number of grammatical errors which were hopefully corrected before publishing), and the characters were well developed. If I had to name a couple of suggestions for improvement, it would be better editing as there were some tangents that led nowhere (e.g. Imogen’s relationship with Dougie) and really didn’t need to be in the story. And there was quite a large focus on Imogen and her various romantic interests, which made the story feel more like a historical romance than historical fiction. If that was the intent of the plot, then it should be marketed as such and the romance parts better carved out to create more conflict, controversy or tension.

Overall I liked the book but i wasn’t emotionally connected to it, hence the downgrade in my rating. I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Drawing on the letters and diaries of her parents, Debbie Rix’s new novel, The Secret Letter, follows English Imogen and German Magda as they deal with the heartache and terror of living in countries impacted by the Second World War.

Early in the war, Imogen is evacuated to the Lake District away from her family and the threat of the Blitz. Later, she joins up to serve as a Wren. Magda’s experience in southern Germany is much more terrifying. As National Socialism becomes entrenched in her country, her friend is taken away by the Nazis for nothing other than being Jewish. Everyone around her seems to be enthralled by Hitler, while she despises everything about him. Through a friend, at the University of Munich, she is introduced to the White Rose movement, a non-violent resistance group made up largely of students, and ends up helping an English pilot stranded behind enemy lines at great risk to herself and her loved ones. Although on different sides of enemy lines, Imogen and Magda’s lives are intertwined.

This is a page turner, Rix skilfully evoking the reality of war and the toll that an insidious regime takes on both its citizens and those under threat from it. At the heart of it though is the question of how we choose to behave in dire times: do we step up and be counted or quietly watch from the sidelines as evil is done? And yet, surely ‘our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter’? The dilemma of our current times.

Recommended.
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I loved this book. It covered WWII. It had a good plot. It had breathtaking storyline. The main heroine of the book was brave, and courageous. These were hard times. Survival was difficult. This book reflects that. 
This book will remain in my head and heart for a long time to come.
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An interesting and absorbing read that shows some of the normal day-to-day activity of people in wartime. I particularly enjoyed the stories of Imogen and Magda - the dual heroines were similar yet so different. The Lake District scenes were evocative and amusing whilst heartfelt- the scenes rang true and made you empathise with the suffering of the characters. 

An interesting read, showing a different insight into WWII

3.75/4*
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This was a wonderful WWII historical fiction read! Told from the point of view of two young girls who become women during the war. Interesting characters with moments of suspense. I truly enjoyed this book. 

Thank you, Bookouture and NetGalley for a digital ARC!
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This story is based on real stories and people during the beginning of World War II. As seen through the eyes of two young girls, Imogen from England and Magda from Germany. Beautifully written. Characters are thoughtful and well developed. I really enjoyed reading this story. The girls will stay with me for a very long time.
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Historical Fiction that is based on real stories and real people will always hit harder and be more poignant to me than other historical fiction books, and The Secret Letter did not disappoint in that regard. I definitely thought this story was good, but I did have trouble connecting with the characters at certain points which made it hard to fall completely into the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to historical fiction readers, but in my opinion it might not affect people that have read a lot of WWII Historical Fiction as profoundly as other titles in the genre.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the gifted book and opportunity to read and review it prior to its publication date! This in no way affected my review, all opinions are my own.
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This was a wonderful story.  I've read quite a bit of ww2 historical fiction but this one didn't feel like a story I'd already been told.  I enjoyed the 2 story lines and the strength and hope shown by both young ladies. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley.
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Magda and Imogen are two fifteen year old girls st the start of WW2, Magda living in rural Germany and Imogen in England and alternate chapters follow the stories of their war.  Magda is a bit of a rebel and anti Hitler but that is an opinion she would be in fear of her life for if she expressed it, but she secretly joins the White Rose resistance movement.   Imogen after her school being relocated to the Lake District starts to train as an architect before joining the Wrens.  

A great story showing the two young girls turning into incredibly strong women both wanting to do their bit fighting Hitler.   I particularly enjoyed Magda's story as it's unusual to have a story about an ordinary German girl's war, and the fear that she lived in day by day.   I will definitely be looking for more books by this writer
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I was given a copy of the secret letter by Debbie Rix in exchange for an honest review. The book is set during world war two and tells the story of Magda and Imogen growing up while the war is on. Magda lives in Germany, she finds she doesn't agree with the Hitler regime but must keep her feelings hidden. Imogen helps during the war as a Wren typing up war records. Their lives cross through relatives. This was a well written book which I really enjoyed.
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A first by me by this author wont be my last! A facinating historical read that left me page turning well into the night! The details were perfect as well as the charcters i really enjoyed each page! Thank you netgalley and the publisher for my arc copy in exchange for my honest review!!! Any fan of historical reads will definatly fall in love with this!
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Magda and Imogen are two girls, living normal lives that are disrupted by war. While I loved that this book was based on a true story, I was hoping and expecting that the lives of these two girls would be intertwined more than they were. The premise was interesting, but the storyline just did not measure up to my expectations. I did find it incredibly interesting to read about the German resistance, so to speak.
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I do enjoy a good historical fiction, those dealing with wars and loss are never easy to read, still i do like a good one. This one, however, was a bit difficult to get through.

The story follows two young women during the six long years of WWII. Imogen in England and Magda in Germany. The idea of the book was interesting and i was rather surprised to find out that it was based on some true event about both girls.
NO matter how hard i tried, i couldn't connect with Imogen, i just couldn't really like her. Somehow, she made the war look like a glamorous garden Party, even when the story followed her during her work as a Wren.
Magda on the other hand, was easier to sympathize with. Living in a small, remote village, she was somehow far away from the center of actions. Yet in her own way, she did try to fight the Nazi doctrines and actions and make a difference.

I did enjoy some parts of this book, but still  i was relieved when i finished it and put it aside and this is not the kind of feeling i would rather have after finishing a book.
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What a wonderful story. I loved this one and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the fact that it began in 1937 in England as well as Germany, focussing on two families and the story switched between the two every other chapter. 
It gave you an idea of life from the German perspective as well as the English. 
My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this wonderful book in return for an honest review.
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A well written historical novel set in WWII Germany during the Nazi regime. Seen from different viewpoints, this is a poignant novel from the point of view of Magda in Germany and Imogen in England. A true portrait of how this war changed lives.
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As a family historian, I know that everyone has a tale to tell. While most of these stories are of everyday people living ordinary lives, occasionally an extraordinary tale is uncovered. Such is the case with The Secret Letter, written by Debbie Rix, a historical fiction novel inspired by her parents’ wartime experiences.


The Secret Letter tells the tale of two girls on the cusp of womanhood from opposing sides on the brink of war. Imogen Mitchell is a 15-year English girl whose family exiles her to the country when Great Britain declares war on Germany in 1939. For years, Imogen is disconnected from her family both physically and emotionally; her parent’s frequent letters and infrequent visits are her lifeline to her home, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Meanwhile, across the North Sea resides a 13-year old German farm girl named Magda Maier, whose older brother Karl is studying at Oxford University and whose best friend Lotte has been taken away because of her faith.

Despite their differences, Imogen and Magda share the same desire: to take down the Nazi regime. In 1943, Imogen becomes a plotter for the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as the Wrens), working on classified troop movements. Magda joins die Weiße Rose (the White Rose), a resistance group led by German university students, as well as conceals and cares for injured Allied airmen at her family’s farm (both actions which are punishable by death). At first, it seems as if Imogen’s and Magda’s lives are completely separate, but soon, unbeknownst to them, fate inextricably entwines their lives together.

Poignant and pensive, The Secret Letter pulled me into its pages. I quickly came to care for both Imogen and Magda;. I was saddened by their heartaches and exhilarated by their joys. An exceptional tale of two ordinary women living extraordinary lives, I highly recommend The Secret Letter to anyone who appreciates a great story.

***
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bookouture, courtesy of a NetGalley giveaway. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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This was such a good read.
Through the characters of two young girls growing up in World War 2, Imogen in England and Magda in German, we see the war through their eyes. And fascinating and moving are their stories. I learned such a lot as well as being entertained. I feel this would be a good read for adolescents too, a way of introducing the social history of this time. 
The author has obviously done a lot of research and she also tells us at the end of the book how her own family’s experiences influenced her writing. I love these stories about real lives entwined with fiction – such an effective way of including history with a narrative. I knew nothing about the White Rose Movement, for example, about a group of young Munich university students who attempted to fight back against Hitler. Such bravery. There are several accounts of courage in Debbie Rix’s story, bringing the reality of war home, and how it impacts on ordinary lives. I won’t give any spoilers, but I was pleased that not everything was neatly wrapped up at the end of the story. So much more realistic.
A very moving, beautifully written book.
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Beautifully written historical fiction that is not only a story of Imogene but of that time in history.  Well written and beautiful.
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In the author’s postscript at the end of this book, she explains that she really wanted to explore the humanity that exists in wartime - acts of selflessness and acts of courage.  I think she has most certainly achieved that aim in this story that was inspired by her own parents’ wartime experiences.

A very well-written plot that links the two main characters and their stories - Imogen in England and Magda in Germany.  Both characters are very likeable and Magda in particular really shines through as the heroine of the story.

My only and very slight criticism lies with the title - ‘The Secret Letter’ may give a small misconception that this is the main focus of the storyline throughout, when in actual fact the secret letter that Magda receives from her brother is only a small part of the overall story.  This however, does not detract from what is a beautiful story of ordinary people during the atrocities of World War 2.

Thank you to the publisher, Bookouture, via NetGalley for an early digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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