The Secret Letter

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

The Secret Letter is a book about two young girls who grow up during WWII, which if you know anything about me, you know I'm gonna obsess over it. A lot. And then jump on the opportunity to read it. 
This book basically follows Magda, a young German girl on a little farm in a tiny village near Augsburg, and Imogen (or Ginny), a young English girl who is first moved to school in the middle of nowhere to keep the children safe and then pursues a career as a Wren for the British Army. Their paths intertwine in the most unexpected ways. The story is apparently based on Rix's own grandparents which might be why these characters feel so real.
This is not my first WWII book. It's not even my first WWII book this year. But the fact that it's written from the POV of two young girls drew me in. I then fell in love with the fact that these characters provide very different insights into the war than most WWII books as none of these girls are Jewish or persecuted. 
Personally, I quite enjoyed Imogen's stubbornness and particularly the letters to her parents, which go from a description of how everyone around her is handling war to asking for new shoes in the next line. She is a bit ditzy sometimes, especially when around her friends or some particularly striking boys/young men. But she is still strong and clever and dedicated. Then, there's Magda, who could keep her head down and just ignore what's happening around her so she can remain safe. It's definitely what her parents would like. But her friend Lotte was forcefully removed from her home for being Jewish and her brother Karl keeps telling her, the government is not right and then she doesn't feel like German girls should only be considered as possible 'broodmares' for perfect Aryan children. So, why shouldn't she help where she can, be it with The White Rose or Michael or even Freddy? 
I truly appreciated this more than I expected simply for being so different from the other books I'd read on this subject. No, I don't care how much of it is actually based on the truth and how much is embellished because the result is a beautiful tale of children who should have been okay, but were forced to grow up considerably faster than usual because some people decided they needed to act on their horrible xenophobic tendencies.
Was this review helpful?
I found it to be somewhat syrupy sweet at points, but it's a nostalgic kind of classic read. The kind of book a young reader would enjoy, as well as an older person with connections to the time period.
Was this review helpful?
Imogen and Magda don't know each other. They are as different as they can be from each other. One comes from wealth with a desire to go to university to become an architect. One lives and works on her parents farm. 
As with any war. Lives will become entwined. People will meet and know each other without really knowing each other. Some fight on the part of Germany others for the allies. 
Their paths do cross, many, many years later. Ar the end of the day. No matter what side your allegiance was to, all people want is peace. To live together without animosity. These women will meet, both with different views to the same story.
Wonderful, strong, interesting characters. Incredible story.
Was this review helpful?
A different insight about WWII and how it affected the people.
A good interesting , intriguing story about the women during the war.
voluntarily reviewed,
Was this review helpful?
An interesting and engrossing story set in world war two. A look at the circumstances from both sides,with a woman's role taking the main focus.
Was this review helpful?
The story started well, with interesting characters especially the portion of the story that took place in Germany but towards the end became sort of unbelievable and trite. Nevertheless a good summer read.
Was this review helpful?
A fabulous true story of WWII.  Two women who are in different countries helping those who arena uttering in the war.  They have family members and military member contacts, u knowingly.  Their lives are parallel min many ways.  I learned a lot as one was living in Germany and the other in Lomdon and Paris.  They had to be secretive so it kept you reading to see what would happen  next.  A different WWII story style.  Worth the read.  The two main characters were Imogen and Magda and they had different types of lives vutmsrill served their causes in equally important ways.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free ARC of The Secret Letter from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rix's The Secret Letter represents the time period of historical fiction I normally love - World War II. Even though I am a baby boomer, fiction about this time period depict people I could have known, experiences that could have rippled through my life, and ramifications that definitely impacted my childhood. This novel, however, is a little too similar to others I have read. 

Magda Maier, a young German girl, is passionate and compassionate. She and her family, especially her brother, are alarmed at the rise of Nazism and its impact on their neighbors and way of life. She knows it is wrong and during the war will risk her life to uphold her beliefs. The family's day-to-day existence is not as severely impacted as one might expect since their farm is self-sufficient and there is always food. When Magda finds a downed British airman, she and her family hide him as her heals.

In England, Ginny is also ready to leave her protected life behind. First as a young girl, she is forced to evacuate along with her schoolmates to the north of England. Her independent and daring streak begins to appear. She wants to study engineering but because of her gender is unable to do so.. Instead she turns to architecture and studies for a year before she national service in the Wrens. There she serves as a plotter and comes into fleeting contact with the political and military powers of the time. Her new independence is something she is unwilling to give up.

Both young women experience first loves, new emotions, and disappointment. It is nice to read a novel where women demonstrate bravery, hard work, and ethical behavior in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. #NetGalley #TheSecretLetter
Was this review helpful?
This book was positively wonderful. It was, for me, a rather fresh perspective of WW2. I loved Magda and Imogen. Karl and all of Magda’s family. Joy and the Ltimers and Freddie we so well fleshed our. The writing was good, the plot was solid, the antagonists frustrating, and in the end to find out that bits where based on the authors own parents was a lovey surprise. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys ww2 fiction. It really was most enjoyable. I also found it was nice to read a WW2 story with a happy ending.
Was this review helpful?
Well researched WWII novel telling the different sides of the war.  The story was entertaining in a sad way and I liked the ending.
Was this review helpful?
This was a beautifully written story about two brave young girls in WWII. The author takes you back and forth between their two stories. Imogene is from England and Magda is from Germany. It was interesting to see the different perspectives of each girls situation as they both found their own way to help with the war. You really feel for these girls as they deal with all the heavy aspects of war. It was an enjoyable read and I would recommend this to my friends. Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a beautifully written book about the lives, fears, loves and bravery of people during WWII.
The book goes back and forth between, two young women, Magda in Germany and Imogen, in England, and the connections they have throughout the story. 
It also follows the people close to them in both places, and shows how a lot of times their thoughts and actions are more similar than not.
This book was fun as it had a different take on the war and the characters through out  were so interesting to figure out and follow.
The author drew some of the characters from her own families experiences during the war.
The author has a wonderful writing style and I am now very interesting  in reading more of her books. This is a well worth read. 
I would like to thank NetGalley  and Bookouture for the Arc of this book.
Was this review helpful?
A good read if you enjoy this type of book but unfortunately it was too slow for me and I wasn't really interested in the characters personally.  I think this is because my genre is psychological thrillers but thought I would try this for a change but unfortunately it wasn't for me, although I am sure it is a good book if you like this genre.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
I seem to be in the minority on this one. I did finish the book but skimmed through it. The Secret Letter is the first book I have read by Debbie Rix. I have read many, many books on 
World War II and really do not like to rate them less than four stars,, because no matter what, we must continue to read and write about this horrific time so that it is never repeated. I don’t feel like I learned anything new from this book and when any major event took place I felt it was told in one sentence with no emotion.. The author wrote this story based on her parents involvement in World War II.. Her father was a RAF pilot and her mother was a WREN. You will learn about The White Rose Movement and WREN women but not in a lot of detail.  The one thing that resonates with me in this book is that there were many Germans who fought with the allies against the Nazis. Even  though this was not one of my favorite World War II books I encourage you to read it, many have loved it. Thank  you NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with an ARC for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
When I saw the cover and the title I knew I had to read this book.
The secret letter is a historical fiction novel based on the author's parents true story and t's set in Germany and London during the WWII. It tells the story of two girls, Magda in Germany and Imogen in London and how their lives change drastically during this period. We get to know how they feel and how they think and that's how we get to know a bit more of this horrific period in  history. The war lasts several years, so we get to see them both grow and become brave women, make sacrifices, witness awful things and  then find love. Although it was nice reading about their first loves and all that I found them a bit distracting from the main story, specialy Imogen's  romances.
Of both stories I liked Magda's chapters more. I found her story  more entertaining, she was always dealing with different threaths that put her life in danger and this had me on the edge of my seat.   This book was a fast read for me, I couldn't stop reading.
I always like to read stories like this set on WWII and based on true events. So if you are like me you should give this book a chance, I'm sure you'll find this story compelling.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this story of Magda, a thirteen year old girl living in Germany in 1939.  Through her eyes we witness the fear and destruction as the Nazis rise to power, epitomised by the removal of her best friend, Lotte, who is forced to wear the ubiquitous Star of David as she is sent to a concentration camp.  Whilst her contemporaries in the village are happy to follow the rules of the Hitler Youth, Magda rebels and joins The White Rose Movement. 

Meantime in England, 15 year old Imogen is evacuated to the Lake District to protect her from the German bombs that are falling and we witness her story as she writes to her family.  

A delightful story, beautifully and sensitively told.  I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending it.

Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?

This book was lovely. I haven't read a book about the Second World War in a while, but this one was really something. I loved these characters, both Imogen and Magda. Both two headstrong girls who have an urge to prove themselves during the war. 

It actually blew my mind how well researched this book was. I was turning pages like there was no tomorrow. I was so invested in what happened next, even though I learned all about WWII in high school, but I couldn't read fast enough and find out what happened to Imogen or Magda next.

I really enjoyed the ending. To be quite honest, I didn't think either girl would end up the way they did, but it was a very pleasant surprise after reading about such a horrible time in history. Also, the fact that Mrs. Rix has based Imogen's story on her own parents just warms my heart. Theirs was a story that deserved to be told.

I highly recommend this book if you fancy a well-researched historical fiction.
Was this review helpful?
This is a really good read by this author. She writes these books so well and manages to bring a historical novel to life. 
It was easy to warm to the characters and it left me constantly wanting more 

A great book
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed reading this story and learning about what the war was like in Germany and not just England and France. This book was really well-written and well-researched. I really felt like I was there at the farm in Germany or in the bunkers in England. This is a story of two brave women during a tumultuous time in the world's history. 

The Secret Letter follows two girls from two different backgrounds. Imogen is 15 years old and living in the Lake District away from her family to escape the bombings near her home. Writing to her crush, a pilot in the RAF is all she has to keep her going. Magda is 13 years old and living with her family on their farm in Germany when the war breaks out. She doesn't agree with her country's fanatical views, and secretly rebels against her government. When an RAF pilot crashes in her area, she risks her life and the life of her family's to protect him. 

Although I really liked the writing and imagery of this story, I felt like the description of this book did not match what actually happened in the book. I'm not quite sure why the book is called The Secret Letter. There was a letter that Magda hid, but it didn't have that much to do with the overall arc of the story. The connection between Magda and Imogen was anti-climatic and played a small part in both the girls' time in the war. I also felt like the book could have been half as long. With that being said, there were some pretty heartbreaking parts. I was especially drawn to Magda's story. She was so brave and went through a lot of hard things at a young age. The book really should have focused mostly on her. It ended on a hopeful, happy note and I found myself continually being drawn to this story. 

Thank you, NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Follow the lives of two very brave girls through World War II.  Magda lives in Germany and does not share the Nazi beliefs.  She is strong enough to stand against the new rules of the Hitler Youth.  Imogen lives in England and  is forced to move away from her home and family to go to school in an area that is considered safer.  Remarkably, the lives of these two young girls are intertwined several times as they get older and are determined to help others.  This book brought out all of the emotions!  I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?