The Secret Keeper

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Pub Date Apr 02 2024 | Archive Date Not set


From USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author Genevieve Graham comes a gripping World War II novel about two sisters who join the war effort—one as a codebreaker and the other as a pilot—and the secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Perfect for fans of The Rose Code and The Nightingale.

Twin sisters Dot and Dash Wilson share many things, and while they are practically inseparable, they are nothing alike. Dot is fascinated by books, puzzles, and Morse code, a language taught to both girls by their father, a WWI veteran. Dash’s days are filled with fixing engines, dancing with friends, and dreaming of flying airplanes. Almost always at their side is their best friend Gus—until war breaks out and he enlists in the army, deploying to an unknown front.

Determined to do their duty, both girls join the WRENS, Dash as a mechanic and Dot as a typist. Before long, Dot’s fixation on patterns and numbers takes her from HMCS Coverdale, a covert listening and codebreaking station working with Bletchley Park in England, to Camp X, a top-secret spy school. But when personal tragedy strikes the family, Dot’s oath of secrecy causes a rift between the sisters.

Eager to leave her pain behind, Dash jumps at the opportunity to train as a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, where she risks her life to ferry aircraft and troops across the battlefields of Europe. Meanwhile Dot is drawn into the Allies’ preparations for D-Day. But Dot’s loyalties are put to the test once more when someone close to her goes missing in Nazi-occupied territory. With everyone’s eyes on Operation Overlord, Dot must use every skill at her disposal to save those she loves before it’s too late.

Inspired by the real-life stories of women in World War II, The Secret Keeper is an extraordinary novel about the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood and the light of courage during the darkest of nights.
From USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author Genevieve Graham comes a gripping World War II novel about two sisters who join the war effort—one as a codebreaker and the other as a pilot—and...

Advance Praise

“Another moving and inspiring work of historical fiction from Genevieve Graham, The Secret Keeper is brimming with heart, sisterhood, sacrifice, and romance. Dot and Dash Wilson's dedication to fighting the Second World War pulls them in vastly different directions and frays their deep bond as twins, but ultimately the power of understanding and the love of family win out. Through impeccable research, harrowing flight scenes, and equally tense codebreaking ones, Graham deftly captures the emotional and physical toll of war on the home-front, while beautifully illustrating the capacity for human resilience, camaraderie, and connection inside us all.”

Natalie Jenner, bestselling author of Every Time We Say Goodbye

“Genevieve Graham expertly takes us deep into the top secret world of WWII codebreaking and aviation in this thrilling and imaginative story. I fell in love with Dot and Dash from the get go. These two sisters were brilliant and full of heart, and I was rooting for them equally during their harrowing and sometimes heartbreaking journeys. A fabulous read!”

Sara Ackerman, bestselling author of The Unchartered Flight of Olivia West

Previously shared:

“Genevieve Graham unveils the strength of Canada’s women in their efforts during WWII with her incredible research. Dash and Dot are intrepid heroines you’ll want to root for and The Secret Keeper is a story you won’t want to put down.”

Madeline Martin, bestselling author of The Keeper of Hidden Books

“Genevieve Graham never fails to fascinate with incredible stories of Canada's past, and The Secret Keeper is no exception. A sweeping novel about the bonds between sisters and the burden of secrets in a time of war, it will thrill and charm readers in equal measure.”

Julia Kelly, international bestselling author of The Lost English Girl

“Reading a Genevieve Graham novel is like reading a love letter to Canada. In The Secret Keeper, impressive research, tender family dynamics, and an absorbing plot intertwine to pay homage to the quiet heroes of the Second World War.”

Ellen Keith, bestselling author of The Dutch Orphan

“My favorite historical fiction author has done it again, bringing to light the untold story of women in wartime whose oath of silence protected the fate of the free world.”

Elinor Florence, bestselling author of Bird’s Eye View

“A riveting tale of the steadfast bond between sisters in the midst of wartime adventure. In Dot and Dash’s extraordinary journey, Genevieve Graham vividly captures the courageous heroics of women in WWII.”

Paullina Simons, internationally bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman

“Graham is the reigning queen of historical fiction about Canada, and The Secret Keeper is her most sweeping, searing story yet, an intricate tale of the Canadian women of World War II, many of whom were sworn to keep their wartime heroics secret. A riveting historical tale of sisterhood, sacrifice, love, and war, it will change the way you look at 20th century history.”

Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Daughter

“Genevieve Graham once again takes a deep dive into the world of women at war with Dot and Dash, twin sisters from Oshawa, who overcome male prejudice to make a massive contribution to the defeat of evil. Vivid characterizations and pinpoint research bring that dangerous—yet exciting —world alive. And though it is not the focus, there’s a fine examination of love-under-fire too.”

C.C. Humphreys, bestselling author of Someday I’ll Find You

“Thrilling and heartfelt, The Secret Keeper showcases the oft-forgotten contributions of Canadian women to the war effort through twin sisters Dot and Dash, whose commitments to serve puts them at odds with their commitments to each other. With a particularly heart-pounding third act, The Secret Keeper is Genevieve Graham at her masterful best.”

Bryn Turnbull, internationally bestselling author of The Paris Deception

“The Secret Keeper is at once touching and harrowing. Graham masterfully and lovingly recreates the lives of two women engaged in wartime service, capturing their youthful idealism, sense of duty, and sheer energy. You will follow the adventures of sisters Dot and Dash with your heart in your mouth. Not to be missed!”

Iona Wishaw, Globe and Mail bestselling author of To Track a Traitor

“Another moving and inspiring work of historical fiction from Genevieve Graham, The Secret Keeper is brimming with heart, sisterhood, sacrifice, and romance. Dot and Dash Wilson's dedication to...

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ISBN 9781982196981
PRICE CA$24.99 (CAD)

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Featured Reviews

Genevieve Graham knocked the Secret Keeper out of the park with this one. She is one of my favourite authors. I always learn Canadian history with her novels. This is my first 5 star book of 2024.

This novel was absolute perfection, and it is the best WWII novel I have read in a long time. Dot and Dash Wilson were twin sisters breaking down the patriarchy by joining men in the war. This novel had a unique twist, as I have not read anything with Canadian heroes in the spotlight. This novel kept my attention, as there were things I did not see coming, which made this such a fast-paced read. The characters in the story gave all the emotions; I laughed alongside the twins, worried for them, rooted for them, and teared up for them.

This is my fourth novel of Genevieve’s and thankful I have two of her backlist books on my shelves. I love how she exposes the Canadian history. Her author’s notes are always so informative and brings the story to life.

Thank you to Genevieve Graham, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of The Secret Keeper.

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Wow. What an inspiring and incredibly powerful WW2 story! It had me pinned to the pages between Dot’s secret missions (personal and professional) and Dash’s harrowing adventures (in the hangar and in the air). But at the centre for both women, is constant danger with a capital D. As they say, nobody is ever safe in war. Then there are two courageous men, Gus and Pete, who both play important roles in the war and in these women’s lives. I truly enjoyed seeing the chemistry spark between them and the enduring love that sustained these four people through some very trying circumstances.

This is a heart wrenching heroic story about major secrets and twin girls who are extremely close but also opposites in personality. Dot is the shy quiet type – even a bit ‘nerdy.’ She is a genius with puzzles, loves books and experienced at Morse code and languages. Dot has a very close connection to her father, a war veteran who harbours secrets of his own. Then there is Dash, the other twin—quick moving, adventurous and mechanically inclined. She loves airplanes, fixing engines, dancing and keeping active with new challenges. When Dash decides to join the WRENS, Dot is filled with fear. She does not want her sister to leave her. They have always done everything together but she cannot think of doing what Dash desires. But once Dash is gone for a while, studying and working on aircraft, Dot begins to question her own position. Should she become active, too, and help fight the war? To her own surprise, in a moment of courage, she applies and is accepted but her journey is very different from Dash’s. Soon her talents move her from typist to enviable heights and positions that lead to taking a secret oath. She will not be able to tell her sister or any family member what she really does for 40 years. It is a hard thing for someone who shares everything with her sibling. And when a personal tragedy strikes, and Dot’s job prevents her from joining Dash at home, hurt seeps in and causes a division between the sisters.

I have a great respect for Ms Graham with her flawless writing style, unforgettable characters and ability to bring Canadian history alive on the page. I was drawn in immediately with the dual viewpoints of sisters Dot and Dash. I enjoyed learning about each of them, observing and appreciating their strengths and weaknesses. They are believable characters with fears, desires, aspirations and faults—like the rest of us. This makes them human and allows us to connect with them easily. Presenting the story through two perspectives, gave me a unique vantage point of getting inside their hearts and heads which made the journey with both women engaging. To see their differences and how they each react in various situations at the start and then to see the changes as their new lives unfold, (particularly in Dot), made it a satisfying reading experience. Development in characters is important and with what these ladies go through, they could not help but change. We want to see progress and we do. I think the main characters Dot, Dash, (and these are clever names that are so appropriate!), Gus and Pete, along with the twin’s father, are true heroes. (Others, too, perform acts of bravery.) They reach inside and find the courage they need to redeem the moment, endure the suffering and ascend the challenges.

A good portion of the story is set in Canada (other settings are England and France). There was even a small section of the story focused on New Brunswick where I was born and raised. So it was easy for me to visualise that physical environment. But for some reason, I had either forgotten or never knew of HMCS Coverdale (Special Wireless Station) below Moncton where some great work was accomplished during the war. To learn that the first allied person in the world to hear of Hitler’s death on April 30th, 1945, was a HMCS Coverdale operator who intercepted a message sent by a German Admiral Doenitz was quite a surprise! And I never knew Canada had a spy training centre (Camp X)!

Although the focus is on the WRENS, Genevieve Graham introduces us to other areas of work where women helped in the war. The Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William built world-class fighter planes under the leadership of Elsie MacGill, Queen of the Hurricanes. ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) where Dash eventually worked was in many ways a dangerous task ferrying planes. These were civilians transporting aircraft where needed with unloaded guns. The risk of death (crashes) or being captured were possible scenarios. This novel shows what could go wrong and did. Many of the women were pilots who were quite brave flying with no maps or radios and within sight of the ground. There were many obstacles and we see this in the story. I felt I was on board with such vivid descriptions and detail. This may be a work of fiction, but The Secret Keeper is built on facts with a creative dash of insight where needed. Sometimes there are gaps in history so it is an author’s right to imagine what might have been to make everything flow together seamlessly, and Ms Graham has achieved this and covered all the bases.

I have reviewed a large number of excellent and deeply moving WW2 novels but The Secret Keeper is the most compelling, comprehensive and riveting story I have ever read and as mentioned, I learned many new things about Canada’s part in the battle against Hitler. The magnitude of knowledge on all the topics covered is astounding. Genevieve leaves no stone unturned. This fully packed story soars on its impeccable details, covering many fascinating areas in which women worked during WW2. In the author’s notes (which are just as captivating as the novel), she makes it clear during the research stage she used experts to get true answers. This is obvious when comparing story incidents with historical accounts. And while reading this novel I was often motivated to look up the events, practices and locations.

Sacrifice, Secrets and Service melded together in my mind while reading this breathtaking novel. For me, these words represent those who fought in the war at every level and this novel delivers in all areas. I truly loved The Secret Keeper from the first page to the last and feel quite honoured to have had an opportunity to read and review it. This is one novel that cannot be missed. It will bring tears to your eyes, make you squirm and create huge lumps in your throat. There are some pretty horrific details of the war camps and suffering of those captured. These sort of horrors changed people forever. This novel also paints a picture of hope and healing. It is a real tribute to not only the women and men who played their part in helping to win over the enemy but also of the amazing establishments set up in Canada that contributed impressively. 5 Shining Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley for my review copy.

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