Cover Image: The Secret Letter

The Secret Letter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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!
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
How many times have we used the phrase "It's a small world"? The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix weaves the story of four young people during WWII whose lives are intertwined, but the relationships are not uncovered for years. Imogene grew up in Newcastle, England. During her last two years of school, she and her classmates were evacuated to the Lake Country to keep them safe and not disrupt their schooling. After graduation, Imogene spends one year studying architecture before joining the Wrens. She has always had a crush on Freddie who is a few years older. He also spent a year studying architecture before joining the RAF. Freddie doesn't want to get involved with anyone because he fears he will not make it home.

Karl and Madga lived on a dairy farm in Bavaria, not too far from Munich. Karl and his dad are not happy with the direction Hitler is taking their country. After attending university, Karl had a chance to study in England, so he leaves Germany and eventually is working for the Allies. In a letter he write Madga, he influences her actions in regard to the war. Madga works with the resistance and helps Allied airmen. 

The unfolding of their stories, is a fantastic read. I highly recommend the book.
Was this review helpful?
Well what a Beautiful story about the war told from both sides two young girls who's lives have been changed by ww2.Immogen in England and Magda in Germany how the war changed the lives of these young girls.I can honestly say this is a wonderful book and well worth 5* (should be more ) a fabulous book.
Was this review helpful?
I love WWII historical fiction. I find the the war and the years/events leading up to it to be both absolutely fascinating and at the same time, heartbreaking and devastating. I have read many novels based on WWII and I won't lie, I almost always enjoy them. While some are clearly stronger than others, I just can't get enough of these stories that are based on events that should be fiction but unfortunately were very real. I found The Secret Letter to be an excellent example of what WWII fiction should be. It is absolutely beautifully written and Magda and Imogen absolutely jumped off the page. They felt real and their stories were incredible to read. I admired their bravery and their willingness to stand up for what they believed in, even if it meant they were endangering their own lives. The author moved seamlessly between the two girls and I loved how she weaved their stories together.

A beautiful story about a terrible time in our world's history. But it is stories like those of Magda and Imogen that give me hope, that people are good and willing to stand up for what is right.
Was this review helpful?
Debbie Rix is one of those authors whose books I eagerly wait for and pick up without even reading the blurb - she always delivers. With this book she has raised the bar already set so very high with her previous stunning stories. This story is exquisite perfection. Well crafted, beautifully written, emotional, poignant and immersive. I lived every word. The sense of time and place is, as with all her books, just perfect. All the characters come alive on the page. I felt for both Magda and Imogen, plucky girls transforming into strong women shaped by war. A wonderful story, masterfully written. Very highly recommended to everyone.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks so much to NetGalley, Bookouture and Debbie Rix for giving me the chance to read her new book : The Secret Letter, I was so excited to be approved for this book as I love WW2 Historical Fiction and this book ticked all the right boxes for me.

Magda Maier lives in Germany in 1939, she lives with her father Pieter, her mother Kathe on the families dairy farm and her older brother Karl is studying at the Heidelberg university.
One day Magda best friend Lotte and her family are run out of town. Magda is very upset by how her friend is treated and she later finds out that the family had been sent to a concentration camp.

Life in Germany starts to change, Magda soon discovers that she feels differently to her peers, she has no choice and joins the German Girls League it's the girls version of Hitler youth. Magda hates the meetings, uniform, and activities. Traditional events are no longer celebrated in Germany, Christmas being one of them, popular songs have the words changed and libraries are forced to burn books that are now classed as unsuitable.

While reading The Secret Letter you really start to understand  just how Germany was changed by the oppressive tide of Hitler and the Nazi party. Not all of the German people agreed with what was happening at the time but what could they do? If You didn't support the cause not only did you put yourself in danger but your family as well.

Karl finishes his degree, he is offered a place to study at Oxford university and he moves to England.
He sends a letter to his sister to explain that he will not be returning to Germany, as he would be made to fight in the war, he tries to explain what is really going on in Germany to his sister, as the only information the German people receive is was what the Nazi's party want them to hear and Karl pleads with his sister to destroy his letter after she finishes reading it.

In England 15 year old Imogen Mitchell or Immy as she liked to be called lives with her mother Rose, her father Joe and her pet dog honey in Newcastle.
One day her mum sits her down and explains that she is going to be one of the thousands of children evacuated to the country, with the threat of war looming, they had no idea when or if Hitler would attack England or where?
She and her friends Joy and Helen are sent to the beautiful lakes district where they go to school and enjoy living in the country. Imogen has a secret crush on a family friend Freddie and does her best to hide this from her family and friends.

Both Magda and Imogen are teenagers when the war starts, soon they both grow up to be young women and are required to help the war effort.
Magda continues to help on the family farm, but she gets restless under the oppressive regime, she becomes involved in the White Rose movement but she soon discovers how dangerous it is to rebel against the Nazi's.

Magda's life is changed forever when one day she helps a RAF pilot Michael Stewart who is shot down close to her families farm and against her parents wishes she decides the help him and other pilots shot down in Germany to escape and return to England.

In England Imogen has turned 19, she puts her plans for further study on hold and joins the Wrens, soon she is helping her boss with the plotting and planning of operation overlord.

Years after the war finishes Magda and Imogen find out that they're lives are connected by circumstances and events that happened during the war.
I loved The Secret Letter, it's a story that makes you cry because you can see how hard life was during WW2 for two young teenage girls, both had to grow up very quickly and carry on with their lives, no matter what happened to them and their families during such a turbulent time in history. I gave the book 5 stars, I loved it and I also enjoyed Debbie's previous book called The Promise.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely loved this book! The historical element was great, very thought provoking. Highly emotional at times too. Debbie Rix is a new name for me but I will definitely look out for more from her in the future as I was so captivated by this one.
Was this review helpful?
Magda is not a Jew, so when the Nazis take power in Germany, she doesn’t have to worry for her own welfare, but her best friend, Lottie is taken away to a concentration camp. While others around her may not openly approve of what is happening around them, Magda knows she cannot sir idly by in the face of such evil. She joins a resistance group known as the White Rose and takes in ab English pilot who has landed behind enemy lines. In England, Imogen has been evacuated to the Lake District, separated from her family to keep her safe during the Blitz. These two young women, separated by ideologies and the lines of war will find that the most important things in life are not drawn up in battle plans or defined by a map
Was this review helpful?
The Secret Letter is a historical fiction novel set during World War II. It is told from the view point of two teenage girls, German Magda and English Imogen. I really enjoyed this book, I thought the main characters were very likeable and believable. The plot line is strong and easy to follow. The only reason I did not give the book a higher rating is that there is very similar books out there and this story did not stand out for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC
Was this review helpful?