Cover Image: The Secret Letter

The Secret Letter

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Member Reviews

A World War Two historical fiction set in Germany and England in the 1940’s. It is about two young girls and their life during World War two. Magda is a young girl who lives on a farm near a small village near Augsburg in Germany. She misses her older brother Karl who went to England before the war to attend Oxford University. 
Karl sends a letter to Magda and tells her about the coming war and resistance fighters. He tells Magda to destroy the letter. Instead she keeps it and potentially puts her family in danger. Magda and her school friends are encouraged to be involved in a German Girls’ League.
In England Imogen and her best friend and other children, are sent away from their homes and families in Newcastle to Keswick, a small village in the Lake District.
The novel switches back and forward to Imogen and Magda as the war progresses. Imogen and her friends miss their families but are safe as they grow up and plan how they will contribute to the war effort.
Magda struggles to keep away from danger during the war, she has dangerous friends and tries to help wounded airmen and is constantly at risk of being discovered. This is about families, friendships, WW2 and secrets.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
A very good read and one I can highly recommend to others. 
I could not put this down.
Thoroughly enjoyable with an amazing cast of characters that you cannot help but engage with.
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I have read so many books about WWII in recent years, and I know some people think they are overdone, but I adore learning about a new aspect of what happened during one of our planet's darkest times. This is one reason I really enjoyed this book. Telling the stories of two girls as they mature into women: one an English evacuee, the other a German farm girl, this book talked about elements of the war I had not known about before.

I think both of the girls were flawed, but still heroines of not only their stories, but of the bigger story. I enjoyed seeing them navigate relationships and politics and morality in the midst of their formative years. If you like historical fiction, especially WWII fiction, then I think you will enjoy this book.
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Moving, heartbreaking, and powerful, The Secret Letter is a coming-of-age story about bravery in the face of fear and the importance of kindness.  The build is rather slow, but the short chapters prevent the story from dragging on too much.  I like how the story is told from both Imogen's and Magda's perspectives, and how their stories intertwine despite their differences.  I also appreciate how the story doesn't focus solely on Magda and Imogen--there are many supporting characters who play a crucial role.  Fans of WWII fiction will be excited to see this novel.
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Incredible World War II story about two girls, one in England and the other in Germany. Each were courageous in efforts against the evils of the Nazis and Hitler. Magda, growing up on a German farm hates the indoctrination of the Nazi Party beliefs that is forced upon her. Imogen, a British citizen becomes a part of the secret world of plotters in her war effort. Magda's and Imogen's stories are beautifully woven together to give readers glimpses of behind the scene Europe during the war. Based on true events, readers who love historical fiction, will enjoy this book. Highly recommended!
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Another wonderful story from this author.  Each book that is written transports you to a period in history where we can learn as well as lose ourselves in the lives of the characters.  In this book it is World War 2 and the difference perspectives of an English and German girl growing up in this troubled time.  I highly recommend this book if you like historical women’s fiction.
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This is definitely the best book I have read this year, & I read a LOT!

The tale starts with a letter from an elderly German lady to an elderly British lady, inviting her to a WW2 commemoration service in Germany. We then find out the background to the story & how the lives of two women are connected. 

The stories alternate between life in Germany and England & we see how communities were torn apart, or brought together, by the war. 
In England, we follow Imogen as she is evacuated to the Lake District, whilst in Germany Magda is a very reluctant member of the Hitler Youth, and almost accidentally becomes involved with a resistance movement. In both countries we see love, loss, heroism and ordinary people trying to get on with their daily life and do the right thing, despite the war going on around them.

This book was realistic, captivating, engaging & hard to put down. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley, all opinions are my own.
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The letter at the start of this is an effective opener, posing the necessary questions to provide the setting for the book.
Rix has a beguiling style of writing with which she manages to introduce elements of humour even when her characters must tackle more serious matters
The way Rix presents the parallel world of the girl Magda in Germany is quite refreshing as we are encouraged to observe and feel the events and effects of the Second World War from the stance of those on the side of the 'enemy'.
We are given enough of each child's story to become involved with the characters before we are moved on - many books take us away from one storyteller too soon for me to feel any close tie with them. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this journey.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The Secret Letter is the story of two girls, English Imogen and German Magda, who become women during World War II. In their own ways, they serve the Allied cause and their lives intersect in ways they can't even imagine.

The premise of this book is really interesting - how a German girl willing to protect an RAF pilot shot down over Munich would affect the life of a Wren in England. But I think the book just tries to cover way *too much.*

There was so much flip flopping between Magda and Imogen's stories that it was hard to get really invested in either of them. I wish the book had just focused on one or the other (but Magda's story was more interesting, so let's just choose Magda) and really fleshed out the details. I would have loved that book I think. 

Also Imogen and Magda came off as too modern in my opinion. They sounded like 21st century women living in the 40s. That's kind of a pet peeve of mine when characters don't seem to fit the time of the story.

Besides these two things, the book was fine. It was easy to read, the writing style was good, and but I just didn't love the story.
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4 strong stars

There are so many book title buzzwords these days that tend to make me immediately pass over the book. Examples include “Girl”, “Lies”, “Dead”, “Killer”, “Sister”, etc. You know what I mean. “Secrets” is another word that tends to make me look the other way. BUT, any titles using the words “Letter” or “Diary” always get a look. I don’t know why, but those words shoot my curiosity straight up! It was the title of this book that drew me; the colorful and intriguing cover (despite my normal dislike of the backwards girls in the red coats motif) was then enough to push me over the edge and hit that green Net Galley button. Was I rewarded? Yes, indeed I was!

This year I have really solidly connected with historical fiction. My new interest in this genre has really destroyed my TBR list, but it’s definitely been worth it. The Secret Letter is another in a long string of winning stories that have taken my heart this year.

This tale has two side by side storylines covering 1939-1951, with a final leap to 2019, that eventually merge—this fact we infer from the intriguing prologue. The vast majority of the narrative takes place during WWII. Our protagonists are farm girl Magna who lives in the German countryside and city girl Imogene who is British. I love that both sides of the war are represented in this manner, though Magna is sympathetic to the other side. The themes that course through the novel include one of my very favorites - the grace of humanity, which can appear even during times of battle.  This theme was well explored in the book and made a real impression on me. Learning points include interesting war positions and career opportunities for intelligent British women, the system of evacuations and billeting of British school children out of the cities, the presence of resistance fighters in Germany, and the treatment of Christmas during the war years in Germany. 

The two protagonists are well characterized and highly likeable, especially Magna. There are also a number of interesting, generally well written side characters. There is a bit of romance that for the most part takes a backseat to the rest of the story. That’s not a bad thing, but I did wish we had a little more substance to those relationships to make me cheer even more for them to succeed. There are also a couple of coincidences that seem a little convenient. These are minor criticisms but are the reason for the lost star. I loved, loved, loved the prologue and the last chapter set in 2019 and how many questions that arose during the story are tied up by the end. There are also some really tense moments during this read that add a layer of suspense.

In the author’s note at the end, Ms. Rix tells us that the novel is based on her parents’ real wartime experiences. Her parents’ letters, diaries and her father’s RAF log books were used to develop the story. I love this fact about the book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Letter and recommend it for those looking for a good wartime storyline. 

Many thanks to Net Galley, Bookouture, and Debbie Rix for an ARC of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the read of Debbie Rix’s, The Secret Letter.

Told in the same timeline: 1939 WWII from the perspectives of two young girls, The Secret Letter captivates the reader from the very beginning. 

Germany: Magda, young, brave, determined, she resolves she must not be silent. She hates what has happened to her world and despising the Hitler Youth, decides to rebel. 

England: Imogen is taken to safety; away from the war that is devastating Europe, but she cannot stand by as others bravely act out against the enemy. 

Both young women, credible, strong-willed, courageous and making a difference – making history. 

The Secret Letter enthralled me from the start. I had a hard time putting this one down. Making it even more moving is that author Debbie Rix based the story on the experiences of her parents, engaging you through emotions, and appealing to your soul. 

I highly recommend this wonderful historical fiction read that will capture the heart of anyone who reads it. 

The opinions expressed in my reviews are my very own.
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Debbie Rix has written a hard-hitting emotional tale about how World War II affected the lives of two young women, one in Germany and one in England. Although hundreds of miles away, Imogen and Magda were both severely affected by the war. As a matter of fact, they had very similar views, although it was hardly likely that the two girls would ever meet.

For Magda, living in Germany, as a thirteen-year-old teen was not easy. Magda was completely devastated after witnessing her best friend Lotte and her family being snatched away and forced into a concentration camp. This made it impossible for Magda to ever understand the strong political leanings when thousands of young people were being forced to accept Hitler's views. Magda has her own mind about matters, even at risk to herself and her family. When a boy Magda grew up with, Otto, not only rises high in Hitler's army, while at the same time pursues her romantically, things become increasingly difficult for her.

Imogen is fifteen-years-old and living in the country in England when the war begins. She witnesses many tragic and difficult things, including witnessing bombs being dropped. Writing letters to those she loves is as much as she can do to show how she feels about things. Little does she know that a young German girl would one day affect her very life.

I have read a lot of historical fiction over the past year, but this book certainly hit me the hardest. For example, I knew about the bombings that occurred, but in this story the devastation was so very hard hitting for both Imogen and Magda. Tears flowed freely while reading of some of these occurrences. Also, with the situation involving Magda's brother Karl, as well as her helping those in great need was done very well, and showed her incredible resilience.

I really felt for Imogen as her very future lied in the hands of others, and this included her heart's desire. She may not have had the same experiences as Magda, but her story was equally compelling. I savored this story and all that these girls went through. I cried happy tears at the ending because it was something that I kept hoping for the entire time I was reading this book.

This is my second read by Debbie Rix and I had a similar experience when I read The Photograph by her. She is a fantastic author who knows just how to pull the heartstrings with the wonderful ability to connect readers to her characters.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Imogen:  Of the two main characters Imogen was my least favorite. The one thing that I did not about Imogen’s storyline was that it reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia with the children being sent away to the countryside to keep them safe from the war. But, Imogen refused to see what was going on in front of her and steadfastly held onto her innocence and naivete. She lives with a nice couple in the countryside where she courts a boy and makes friends. She is then still looking for love with Freddie an RAF pilot and goes onto college. Her life doesn’t change all that much and she still gets to see it through. 

Magda: Magda, on the other hand, has her whole life turned upside down. Being that she lives out in the countryside you would think that she would be less affected. But Magda’s best friend Lotte and her family are run out of town; she is forced to join the Women’s League in support of the Nazis and Hitler and is blackmailed and molested by a young officer. 
Magda is smart enough and aware from the beginning that the Nazis are not to be believed or trusted. 

Plot: 
This book showcases so many of the horrors and atrocities that occurred during WW2.  We get to see how these two young girls manage to live and survive during this horrible time. This book encompasses so many of the different aspects of WW2 from the bombings of London, to the evacuation of children, the indoctrination of young German youth, the events at Dunkirk and so much more. 

My opinion: I have read several historical fictions lately and most of them having to do with WW2 and the Holocaust. This one holds up well in comparison to the others. 

Would I recommend? 
I would recommend this book I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy...

Oh wow! What a beautiful heartfelt story I ever read...I loved the beautiful cover and it’s perfect!

Looking forward to read more book from this author soon...
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A WWII historical fiction set in Germany and England   Told in alternating points of view from Magda and Imogene.  This story shows how two young girls fought behind the war for what is good and noble in people and how their lives intertwined.  Beautifully written.  Characters are thoughtful and well developed.  Magda and Imogene will stay with me for a long time.
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A coming of age story set during the turbulent years of World War 2 , The Secret Letter is my first encounter with the writing of Debbie Rix, but it certainly will not be my last. In a crowded genre this book stood out because of the two main characters, whose lives we follow over the course of the war and beyond. 
In England fifteen year old Imogen is evacuated to the Lake District to finish her schooling away from the bombings that threaten the cities every night. While she is lucky to be staying with a nice family, she misses hers, and also the very handsome and charming neighbour,Freddie, who has certainly caught her eye. Sheltered from the worst of the war she eventually joins the service as a WREN and soon finds herself at the heart of the Allied invasion at Normandy, while juggling her feelings for two very different young men. 
Meanwhile in Germany we are introduced to thirteen year old Magda, whose brother is away at university in England when war breaks out. In his letters home he manages to reveal some shocking truths that take the shine off the German propaganda the family is surrounded by, and this ,along with the loss of her Jewish friend spurs Magda into working for the German resistance. As if that is not dangerous enough she also comes face to face with  a downed RAF pilot and must choose whether to risk her whole family's safety in order to help him
The motif of letters runs throughout the book, from the letter at the very beginning which introduces us to the connection between these two women, to the letters from Imogen to her parents describing life in England during the war to the titular letter from Magda's brother that almost spells tragedy . It is a clever idea and is well executed . The characters are both well drawn and believable, though I did find myself more drawn to Magda's story as the story of the White Rose resistance group is something I had not encountered before. The book has several emotional highs and lows, and definitely held my interest , I would highly recommend it to any fans of WWII era historical fiction with strong female characters. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel that wove together the stories of Magda a young girl living on a farm in Germany and Imogen who was sent by her parents to live in the countryside of England during the war.
The story starts with a letter in present day and then takes you back to the years of the war to tell the story of how their two worlds collide. 

Magda lives on a farm with her parents. Very early on Magda realizes that her view on things is quite different from what the “Young Maidens” are taught about racial purity and the like. Receiving  a letter from her brother makes her question everything that is happening in Germany too. She embarks on a path to find out what is really happening in the war and is determined to make a difference.

Imogen spends her days going to school in the countryside away from her family and the devastation the war is causing in the city.  After studying for a year at university to become an architect Imogen’s life changes forever as she joins the forces to do her bit.

Would definitely recommend this read!

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the advanced copy.
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I couldn’t put this book down once I had started. Flipping back and forth between 2 young girls lives - one in Germany and the other in the UK. 
I have never read any of this authors books but will certainly look out for them
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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.
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Terrific and emotional coming of age story set during WWII.  Fans know there are a lot of books out there right now in this genre but Ria has hit a sweet spot with the stories of Magda and Imogen (Ginny).  Moving between Germany and the UK, this tells the tale of how both young women pulled themselves up to fight the Nazis, Magda locally and Ginny as, ultimately, a WREN.  Rix has folded in snippets of real materials, such as speeches, which is an excellent device.  Neither young woman is perfect- they both have their foibles- which make them so realistic.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Rix is an excellent storyteller and this was an excellent read.
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