The Secretary is another book I reviewed for the August edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.
In Germany in 1940, Magda has become Heinrich Himmler’s secretary. But all is not as it seems. By day she organizes glamorous and decadent parties for Nazi officials, and by night she smuggles secrets out of the office and helps others get to safety. Risking her life every day, she places her trust in very few people. However, an unsuspected source of betrayal is lurking in the background. In East Berlin in 1988, Nina finally gets her grandmother to talk about a beautiful drawing of a house that she found hidden away as a child. With her grandmother as a new ally, Nina attempts escape from East Berlin for both of them.
This is a heartrending dual-timeline novel that shows us the horrors in Germany in both Hitler’s 1940 and the Cold War years in late 1980s East Berlin. Two women, grandmother and granddaughter, risk themselves to help others. What ties it all together is a house and the secrets it holds. Your heart will race, and you will weep as you are swept back and forth from Heinrich Himmler’s office in the 1940s to an East Berlin prison in 1989. You will see the downfall of the Third Reich and watch the Berlin Wall come down. This is a sad but thrilling novel full of danger, love, and loss that will keep you enthralled. I was especially entranced as I watched the Berlin Wall open up from the perspective of someone inside East Berlin. The descriptions of the differences between East Berlin and West Berlin at the time were fascinating. Fans of World War II fiction, Cold War fiction, and German history will not want to miss this one.
I received a free copy of this book via Bookouture for Historical Novels Review Magazine. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(In Her Own Words)
I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don’t try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.
I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I’m not at my desk you’ll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.
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