The Secret Letter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I love stories about women’s efforts during World War II, and The Secret Letter did not disappoint. Imogen and Magda were strong women with strong feelings about helping the allies win the war. London- born Imogen joined women’s groups and traveled to war torn areas, determined to make a difference. And German Magda risked being executed for treason by joining a resistance group and helping allies who were prisoners of war. 
This book held my interest and made me want to learn more about the women’s groups during the war.
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A fabulous heartbreaking story.  we must never forget what terrible hardships and loss wars bring.  Imogen and Magda make the best of a bad situation.  Told with touching stores and about their connections, Warning that the terrible war should never happen again.  You must read this!!
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I dread giving reviews on true historical fiction especially when it is during WW2. This book truly did not disappoint. Remarkable story, great characters and wonderfully written. Sad time in history. Would definitely recommend. Thank you netgalley for letting me give an honest review of this book.
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This book takes place during WWII.  In England, Imogen is evacuated with a number  of other teenagers and children to the Lake District.  In Germany, Magda questions the Nazi's, and there fanaticism against the Jews.  

This book jumped several year at a time, which was a bit disorienting.  Between the end of Part I and the beginning of Part II, the story jumped two years.  For characters who began as young teenagers, this is a lot of time and periods of growth to skip over.  Neither Imogen or Magda felt very realistic, probably because of the drastic time jumps.  Overall, this book was a bust.
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I really enjoyed this book. The author told two stories of World War II through the eyes of two girls, Magda and Imogen, two strong women characters.  "The Secret Letters was based on true events.  It was well written and kept my attention the whole time.  I will definitely recommend this book to others as well as now I will read more books by this author.
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The Secret Letter is a beautiful, yet heart wrenching tale which addresses the horrors of World War II from the perspective of the Germans and the British. It delves into the lives of two adolescent girls, not only from two different countries but quite different backgrounds, and their experiences during the years of the war. The story begins in 1939 and spans through until the early 1950s, following each girl, the difficulties that they faced and how one of them changed the others life forever. 

We are told the story from two different perspectives: that of 13 year old Magda and 15 year old Imogen (this is how old they are when the story begins in 1939). Magda lives in a rural German village, not far from Munich, where she is forced to participate in Hitler related activities at school and pretend she hails him as the Fuhrer. This is something that she struggles with as she discovers over time, through communication with her brother, that Hitler is doing dreadful things (including taking her best friend away). Over the course of the book, Magda grows enormously, as she aims to do what is right and not what all the other Germans are doing. When enemy fighter planes go down near the farm, Magda does all that she can to assist and help them back to health so that they can make home to their families and to the cause against Germany. Despite being subject to harassment, sexual abuse and threats from the Gestapo, Magda stays true to her beliefs and fights for the freedom of all. I found her character developed so much throughout the book. At the beginning she made small changes to rebel against her school mates, which then led to larger changes including supporting the White Rose and hiding enemies in her house. I admired her strength and determination and how she had no fear, no matter what situation she was put in. 

The second narrator is Imogen, a young British girl who is forced to move to the lakes with others adolescents from her city so that they are away from the risks of bombings. As she moves around throughout the war years, from the lakes to London, France and back again, she throws her heart and soul into her job working for the war effort as a Wren but she always feels like something is missing. Imogen struggles with her love life, as she has a couple of short flings but pines for her one true love, unsure if he ever loved her as more than a friend. I found Imogen’s love life throughout the book to really play with my emotions. She was a girl that knew what she wanted, but it was just out of her reach. This would have been the case for so many relationships within the war time, the men going off to war and the women never knowing if they would come back. Rix made this part of the plot so seamless, it was as if the reader was feeling the same emotions as the characters. 

I adored this book from start to finish. By having the story span over a number of years, it was great to see all of the characters develop and change so much over time and the impact that their actions had on future events. I was immersed into the world of Germany and England and felt like I was a part of the story, the story, the characters and the events were extremely emotive. Rix writes beautifully and in such a way that the contents of each page feel lifelike. One part that really toyed with my emotions was when Magda was sexually assaulted, I was extremely upset and hoped that she would get her revenge. There was no point during this book where I felt the plot lacked or slowed down, it was a high paced adventure that kept me engaged throughout. The most special part of this book was reading through and trying to work out the connections between Imogen and Magda prior to anything being revealed. As the first chapter was told in the present day, a letter between the two characters, you knew that there was going to be some form of connection between them and it was fascinating seeing how Rix interwove their stories together. The most amazing part of this book was the relationships between the characters and I feel like this was what kept me so interested as I wanted to see what happened at the end.

I would highly recommend this to those who have read The Nightingale and The Book Thief and thoroughly enjoyed them. It is a story of sacrifice, love, motivation, strength and perseverance which captivates you until the final page. It is historical fiction but is based on true events which occurred during World War II. I was blown away by this book and I’m sure you will be too.
I rated this book: 5 Stars 

Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy. 
The Secret Letter will be released internationally on the 22nd of July 2019
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This was a wonderful book! The author not only was able to seamlessly weave together two stories of World War II, each from different perspectives, but she was also able to give us a realistic look at the war through those perspectives. While the book addresses the hard issues of World War II it is not dark, but rather leaves the reader with hope and a bit more understanding. "The Secret Letters" was everything good historical fiction should be!  It is a story that is filled with both the author’s imagination and the facts of World War II that will captivate from beginning to end and well after the book is closed.  I especially appreciated the “backstory” the author told at the end of the book. It made the book and the story it told all that much more touching. I was honored to receive an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the Publisher, Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a story about two very different sides of WWII, the Allies and Germany, two people on seperate sides, both trying to do what is right. It is based upon a true story which I liked. I would recommend it to fans of historical fiction. 

I would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  What a powerful read based in the Second World War.  This was very thought provoking as it is based on a true story.  Would recommend.
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Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of the novel.   This was a historical fiction set in wW2.  This novel was slow to start but the plot developed well between two points of view immogen from England and Magda from Germany.   I enjoyed the different perspectives of both allies and Germans trying to do the right thing even in war.   Magda several times puts her own safety at risk to help others.   The character of Otto was awful.   I thought the writing a bit juvenile at times but overall a good read and an author to watch for future works.
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I usually enjoy a good historical novel set during World War II as we always get to read about ordinary people with great courage. This book did not disappoint.
This book follows both Magda, a young girl in Nazi Germany who refuses the propaganda thanks to an eye opening letter from her brother Karl, who is studying in England, and Imogen, an English girl who at first leaves her family to avoid bombs and eventually joins the Wrens. Both characters are interesting to read about and I felt engaged in their story.
The Secret Letter contained what I tend to look for in a historical novel: of course to learn more about a period in history but as well action and a nice pacing, romance, and courageous characters.
If you enjoy stories of courage set during World War II, go pick up this book!
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I loved this historical fiction book set during WWII. It was well written and researched with characters you can connect with. 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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A touching story about two young girls on opposing fronts during the Second World War.  Imogen is evacuated to the Lake District at the beginning of the war and later goes on to enrol in the Women’s Royal Navy Service, while in Germany Magda is obliged to join the Hitler Youth movement, but becomes increasingly unhappy with what is happening in her country. When she finds an injured airman she does not hesitate to help him, despite the risks for her family.

There was a good narrative pace and the characters were believable and well developed, so I enjoyed reading the book. However, I did feel that it was a little simplistic. All the figures on the British side are caring, sensitive and heroic, whereas in Germany all the positive characters, including Magda and her brother Karl, are sympathisers of the Allies. There is little insight into the attitudes and feelings of ordinary Germans. With hindsight it is so easy to condemn, but it would have been interesting to explore the historical background and the reasons behind people’s choices.  Nevertheless, it was a pleasant read and a well-constructed book.
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The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix is a fabulous historical fiction novel that weaves a story between two young women ( Magda who lives in Germany) and Imogene ( who lives in England) during WWII and thereafter.

To read how their lives are intertwined and how strong and brave they were for themselves and for those that were fighting for what is right, was fascinating.

This is a great read with truly like-able, relate-able, and strong women that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Gripping and heartfelt.

5/5 stars.

Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC, and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review.
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I find well-written historical fiction, such as the Secret Letter, to be important because these books enable you to experience events through the eyes of characters who have become real to you and to feel their emotions, their fears, joys and sorrows. 

 Here we become immersed in the horrors of WW2 through the hearts and minds of two young girls from supportive family backgrounds and happy childhoods as war breaks out in Europe. They grow up during the turmoil, death and destruction, and mature to become strong women whose bravery unknowingly impacts each other’s lives. 

These two girls in 1939 are 15 year old Imogen who must leave her loving family and be evacuated to the Lake District to escape German bombs dropping on English cities. She later postpones her study to become an architect to join the WRENS and her work involves her in the Allied invasion of Germany. Unknown to Imogen, her life is impacted by the actions of Magda, a slightly younger German girl on the other side of the battle. 

Magda lives and works on the family farm in the German countryside. Her brother, Karl, is in England, studying at Oxford. He writes her a secret letter and instructs her to burn it. In it, he expresses his dismay regarding the direction Germany is headed under the evil Nazi regime and urges her not to believe the propaganda about the superior Aryan racial views. He also sends a British news article about the German gas chambers. 

When Magda sees her Jewish friend Lotte being forcibly led away with her family to a concentration camp, she becomes aware of her brother’s truth. To keep her family out of danger from authorities, she must look like they are going along with changes the Nazis are imposing on the social structure, and join the girls equivalent of the Hitler’s Youth. She despises attending, and the political and atheist changes to Christmas, hymns, and the destruction of many books, all for the glory of Hitler. She secretly joins a resistance group placing her life in danger.  She hides an injured British pilot at her family farm and makes it her goal to rescue others. 

We witness the girls’ decisions as they mature, and witness death and destruction from their perspectives. We learn about their bravery, fears, friendships, family, and their determination to help the war effort and live for a better future. We are introduced to the men in their lives as they mature: the ones killed or missing in action, their lovers, those they respect, and those they long for, and the ones they fear. I found their male friendships and romantic entanglements realistically written and believable, but it somehow distracted me from the historical aspects of the story. I know the romantic interludes and male-female encounters will have greater appeal for the majority of readers. 
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for this engaging look at history which encompasses stories from the British and German context, and which are based on factual events. *3.5 * stars rounded up to 4.
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A heart wrenching story so beautifully written so emotional.Two young girls during the war one in England one in Germany their strength resilience.the lives they live.This is an author I will be following recommending .This book wil be one of my treasured reads.#netgalley#bookoutoure
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It is 1939 and for two teenage girls, 13 year old Magda Maier, who lives in a small German village and 15 year old Imogen Mitchell from Newcastle , England it is a time that will change both their lives for ever.

We follow the lives of the two girls as war rages, homes destroyed, families are torn apart and death is never far away, but both will play their very different parts in order to see peace once again prevail.

Clearly a huge amount of research was done by Debbie Rix as she effortlessly combines historical fact with fiction and like woven strands of a tapestry everything comes together to make one incredibly evocative and captivating page turner.

Loved it- fabulous novel that I would highly recommend.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy in return for my honest opinion and review.
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The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix is a WW2 story that weaves 4 people’s lives together, from Germany to England. Beautifully written, so refreshing to be able to read about the people living in Germany and England, with events happening  at the same time. 4 young people, Magda, Michael, Imogene and Freddie. Their lives were changed once the war was started. A plane that was forced down in a field in Germany near Magda’s farm changed her life. 
Imogene from England is sent to the Lake District as a young girl so she will be away from the war. From there she is sent to many different places for the war. She loved her work and her one and only love is finally found. 
Years after the war Imogene and Magda finally
meet and their lives come full circle. 
This story was so inspiring and left such a good feeling that good things can happen after so many terrible acts of war. 
Thank you to Bookouture, NetGalley and Debbie Rix for the ARC.
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This is a beautiful story about a war, which is told from both sides of two young girls living during that time. There are lots of characters in this book and the narrative is strong. A great story!
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This book is very good with so many characters.  It is such a strong narrative with so many characters 

At times it's a bit confusing as with the amount of characters it can overwhelm at times.  However once you get really into the story you see just how strong and closely intertwined with each other.

The story was great and had so much to offer.  I found that it was one of the stronger ones that I have read.  It was an emotional book and shows both the bad and heartwarming side of what has happened.
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