Cover Image: The Secret Diary

The Secret Diary

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Member Reviews

One of the many reasons I started requesting ARCs was to try new genres of books and also new authors. And so,  I opted to read The Secret Diary, only to fulfill the promise I had made to myself to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Going into this book,  I was initially not sure how much I will be able to get into such a different type. I was pleasantly surprised as this book did more than that - I completely enjoyed  the story, particularly that of women of the 2nd World War times. Most of the things I read in the book I didn't know and was interestedto know more. I also liked the way the book traveled within 2 worlds- 1945 and the current times. Author Anna Stuart has done a wonderful job in bringing out all things which paved the way for women of our time to be where they are because of women of those times. She also clearly portrays how a time of absolute loss and despair actually brought out the other facets of women of those times and showed them the other side of living - a life filled with excitement and accomplishment. I am glad I read this book and for all these things, this book rates 5 stars from me.

I got an ARC of this book in return for an honest review and all the opinions I expressed here are my own. Thanks to the publishers,  the author and Netgalley for the ARC.
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Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

Yet another WW2 book, this one depicting the gunner girls.  A duel timeline book,  set in 1945-6 and modern day,  it tells the story of Lorna, a mother of 2 young boys trying to recover in her mother's home from a terrible tragedy when she discoverers the diary for gunner girl,  Nancy.  Nancy,  along with her friends Peggy, Dot and Connie have a secret that slowly gets uncovered.
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In 2019 Lorna is dealing with the tragic loss of her husband.  Needing some time out and some TLC she takes her two boys to stay with her Mum in the Gamekeeper’s Cottage.  Being a history teacher, someone like this would usually get her excited but she has nothing left – she is emotionally drained.  But then she finds a diary hidden away, concealed since the end of the war.  As she loses herself in the details, we meet Nancy.

In 1945 the was has ended and Nancy is trying to settle into life as a wife, stepping away from her place in the war as a gunner girl.  But she’s finding it harder to adjust than she ever imagined.  She misses her girls and the exhilaration of the job.  And she doesn’t want to just be a wife in the kitchen.  As she struggles, she spills all her thoughts in her diary.  But she also writes down a secret, tearing it and hiding it away – a secret the girls had promised not to disclose……  Will the secret come out? Will Lorna find out what it was in the present day? Does Nancy settle into her new life? And will Lorna learn to deal with her heartbreak?

This is a wonderful dual timeline novel full of raw emotion, history, family, love and secrets.  I really felt for Lorna and loved the fact that the diary gave her something to focus on during the tough days following the death of husband.  Her emotions are so raw and it’s heartbreaking to read about, it’s just like her emotions seep from the page.  It’s also sad to watch her boys go through the loss of their Dad too, and how the manage.  Her Mum and husband are brilliant, and David is a huge encouragement to Lorna which is lovely to see.  In 1945 I absolutely loved Nancy.  The story really opens your eyes to how much of a struggle things might have been for women then, despite the fact that they also took an active part in the war, but were expected to step down and resume their previous lives.

Being the history geek that I am, I loved finding out more about the gunner girls and it’s really made me want to look into women’s roles during the war.  There are so many roles women took on that we probably don’t even realise.  The setting is fantastic and I felt like I was stepping back to the 40’s.

The storyline is brilliant and the writing is engaging and a pleasure to read.  If you’re a fan of historical fiction, or enjoy a dual timeline and are looking for something gripping, emotional and wonderful then you should check this out!  Most definitely recommended by me.
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If you know me, you know I love books about WWII. I think my fascination stems from the fact that my father fought in the Pacific during it and my parents were married when he was home for a few weeks on leave.

I’m happy to be part of the Bookouture blog tour for this historical fiction novel by Anna Stuart. I love all the particulars: current day and past intertwined, old diaries, deciphering secrets of the past. Highly recommended if you enjoy this genre like I do!

Thank you for including me on the tour and for my e-copy!
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Lorna Haynes has her two boys with her, Charlie and Stan, when she goes to stay with her mother shortly after the death of her beloved husband. Lorna and the boys will be staying in a house called The Gamekeeper's Cottage, beautiful on the outside, but definitely in need of renovation. She is a history teacher, so discovring a precious diary in a dressing table surely catches her attention. 

The diary begins with the date of 16 June 1945, and was written by Nancy Jones Wilson. Nancy once lived in the Cottage, which was now her family hyome after marrying Joe, a man she met while they were both in the military in 1943. The two marry about a year later, and they had been seperated due to the war. With the war being over, Nancy and Joe move to his parents farm and take up residence. Nany may be happy with Joe, but she had learned quite a bit as part of the ATS, Auxiliary Territorial Service, on a gun crew with three other women. Becoming a housewife and cooking, cleaning and sewing is certainly not what Nancy now has in mind for her immediate future. Ted is Joe's father, and his passes his expectations about Nancy down to Joe. 

These are among the things Lorna is now reading about in the diary. Finding the diary proves to be a very good distraction for Lorna, because her grief is almost more than she can bear. The deeper Lorna gets into the diary, the more curious she finds herself about Nancy and the other women. 

This exceptional read is accompanied by very informative Historical Notes that are well worth reading. The women in the military, especially Nancy as this dual-timeline story, played pivotal roles, and this book shows their importance in Britain. Nancy Jones may have been a fictional character, but proved an exceptional portrayal of how important these women were, and how difficult it would have been to squeeze back into more traditonal roles.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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A beautifully told novel about old ghosts, past shadows and heart-wrenching sacrifice, Anna Stuart’s The Secret Diary is a poignant, atmospheric and captivating tale perfect for Kate Morton and Lorna Cook fans.

Norfolk, 1945 and Nancy Jones cannot believe how much her life has changed. From a gunner girl doing her duty for king and country, Nancy is now a gamekeeper’s wife struggling to adjust to her new role and to juggling the responsibilities and duties of her household. Nancy adores her handsome husband Joe and she is still head over heels in love with him, even though she cannot help but wonder just how well she knows her husband. When a secret from her past emerges, Nancy finds herself wondering whether the truth about what happened during one terrible night long ago will end up destroying her marriage…

In 2019, Lorna Hayes is mourning the death of her beloved husband. Wracked by grief and despair, Lorna retreats to the beautiful but crumbling Gatekeeper’s Cottage, where she hopes to have some time by herself to regroup after the last couple of months and try and piece together the shattered pieces of her heart. Stumbling upon a locked room in the cottage, curiosity gets the better of her and she walks through the door and finds herself swept back in time. Feeling as if she has walked into a snapshot from the past, Lorna is floored by the soldier’s uniform hanging at the back of the door, the flowery wallpaper and the spindle of a record player frozen and ready to play. But the biggest discovery of all is a leather-bound diary she finds hidden in a desk drawer.

Still battling with her own heartache, Lorna begins to escape into the pages of this diary and finds a story of love, loyalty and sacrifice which leads her to uncovering a powerful secret that will end up changing the course of her own life in the most startling and unexpected of ways.

In The Secret Diary, master storyteller Anna Stuart has written a wonderfully beguiling and evocative novel that beautifully blends romance, mystery, drama and intrigue into a spellbinding tale readers will thoroughly enjoy. A captivating read that grips from the start and which will hold readers spellbound until the very last page, Anna Stuart’s The Secret Diary is an emotional, enthralling and absorbing tale that touches the heart and brings a tear to the eye.
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The Secret Diary is told via a dual timeline, something I am sure some of you already know I absolutely adore!. Alternating between the present day and the 1940’s, we follow the lives of two incredibly strong, resilient women as they navigate their way through the many difficulties life has thrown at them.

In the present day Lorna is trying to come to terms with the loss of her husband following a tragic accident. As she tries to adjust to life as a single mother as well as being a widow, she decides to go and stay with her mother for the summer, with the added bonus of having some much needed support throughout her grief. Her mother has recently married David and moved into the house he has recently inherited, and as she is adjusting to her new surroundings she comes across a notebook that has been tucked away in a hidden compartment within a desk draw.

The diary belongs to Nancy, a gunner girl from the war, and within the pages of this diary we get to experience what life was like for Nancy throughout such uncertain times and the friendships that she had made with the women she worked alongside too. Their job of shooting down Nazi planes was often given to men, but with them all being called away to war the job falls to this group of women. When the war finally comes to an end, they struggle to readjust to life as it was before, especially the aspect of forming relationships and having to maintain their traditional roles – something incredibly difficult following all they have achieved.

I absolutely adored this book from the moment I began reading it. The characters are authentic and believable, and with each passing chapter we get to learn more about them and the lives they have lead and the situations that have made them who they are. The storyline flows effortlessly from beginning to end, and as the timeline alternates between past and present tense you get experience the hardships they faced alongside them. The plot is perfectly structured and is laced with mystery and intrigue as we learn more of Nancy and what secrets she harbours. This is a truly captivating story that I would recommend to others who love historical fiction as much as I do.
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The Secret Diary is a dual timeline story set in present times England and just after the World War II in the year of 1945 and 1946. Lorna who is grieving her husband finds a diary when she visits her mom. The diary belongs to Nancy. Lorna in the search of Nancy's story starts her healing process and finds new happiness. I can't write much without revealing spoilers.
The Secret Diary is a very light and enjoyable read. Its a story of courage, love, family and women friendships. The story is very interesting and cannot be put down. The secret can be guessed at midway but the novel keeps interest till the end. A wonderful novel.
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I loved The Berlin Zookeeper, so I was excited to read this. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the story and never really connected to the characters. Lorna still seemed like a mystery to me. Nancy's diary didn't have some shocking reveal in the end. Every time something happened at the Gamekeeper's cottage, Nancy's first instinct was to run away. She expected Ted and Betty to completely change their view overnight. The diary really doesn't go into much detail about the time Nancy and her friends spent as gunner girls. Nancy was so proud of her time as a gunner girl but never talked about with her son.

Definitely give the book a try, it just wasn't for me. Look forward to reading more books by the author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bookouture through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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A diary dating back to 1945 tells of Nancy Jones' hopes and struggles when the war ends and she goes to live with her husband and his family in the village of Langham. She is looking forward to becoming a gamekeeper, but she hadn't considered that her in-laws would be opposed to her wanting to work side by side with the men. Helping in the house was not what she expected to be doing, especially when her talents could be put to better use elsewhere.

Lorna, who found the diary, has recently lost her husband. The diary distracts her from her grief and she becomes engrossed and intrigued by what Nancy has written. She senses Nancy's frustration at being relegated to work deemed appropriate for women, and also that Nancy and the three other gunner girls in her unit had a secret. Does it relate to the fate of one of the gunner girls, or to where the money came from to fund expensive repairs to the cottage? Unfortunately, the last few pages of the diary are missing and Lorna resigns herself to never knowing the outcome. That is until a piece of information comes her way that will finally help solve the mystery.

The Secret Diary recounts the turning point in two women's lives. One, as she faces a life without her husband, grieving and coming to terms with her loss; the other, as she adjusts to married life in peace time after relinquishing a role both exhilarating and dangerous, only to have her wishes ignored.

I found the present day story appealing and particularly enjoyed the portrayal of modern family life, but it was the story of Nancy and her struggles that captivated me more - and, of course, the mystery element. Both Nancy and Lorna were surrounded by people that loved and supported them, although in Nancy's case she wasn't too sure. Her clashes with Ted, her father-in-law, certainly added to the drama.

The Secret Diary is perfect for World War II fiction lovers and those who like a well-handled, dual time frame narrative. Engaging characters, lots of historical detail and surprising revelations also make this a worthwhile read. If you've not read Anna Stuart before, this is an excellent novel with which to start.
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3.5 stars

The Secret Diary is a dual-time story featuring recently bereaved Lorna and a diary that she finds which was written in 1945.

The diary was hidden in a secret compartment in the annex of her mother and step-father's home. The annex was preserved in the 1940s style from when stepfather David’s parents lived there after the war. Reading the diary written by David’s mother Nancy was a form of escapism for Lorna, as well as appealing to her interest in history. 

Nancy talked about her war years spent as a 'gunner-girl', shooting down enemy aircraft and working with other women who became her life-long friends. Several times Nancy hinted of a big secret and, with the help of David and his daughter Tilly, Lorna attempts to unravel the mystery.

I found the gunner-girl element very interesting and the post war chapters were by far my favourite parts of this story. In fact I could quite happily have accepted the whole story written in the post-war era. On a personal note,  I would have liked to have seen the story go a little darker with its storyline just to give it a more realistic feel; for me it was a little too feel-good for some of the subjects involved.
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The Secret Diary tells of life for the Gunner Girls after the war ended. It merges with the story of Lorna, a history teacher, who has recently lost her husband, Matt. Lorna and her sons leave Norwich to spend time with her mother and stepfather in The Gameskeeper's Cottage near Langham. She and the boys will be staying in the annex of the cottage. It is a red leather covered diary with the introduction of "My name is Nancy Jones. ....and I have a secret." Throught the diary, we learn about Nancy and her three friends who were part of the ATS, known as Gunner Girls, or ack ack girls. It was their job to sight the guns to shoot down German bombers. These girls or women left their day to day jobs and life to protect their country and not that the war is over, they're not ready to be relegated back to the kitchen. Nancy knows that part of the world is not for her, and as she and her husband Joe return to the family's home, Nancy finds herself in a battle between new and old. The men in the village, especially her father-in-law, are against women doing anything perceived as men's work, especially using a gun. Nancy shares her thoughts and feelings in her diary and as the story progresses, we learn that these friends have a big secret. As Lorna reads the diary, she begins to deal with her grief and finds comfort in Nancy's story. Are any of the Gunner Girls still alive? What is their secret?

I have not read anything dealing with this time in history. After the end of WWII, I can only imagine the difficulty so many women would have had trying to reconcile the life they had lived and the one that was expected of them. It was interesting to read about Nancy's difficulties and the things she did to try and be happy. There is another theme dealing with hate, but I don't want to give that away. I liked all the characters in this story. The Ack Ack girls were wonderful, very different, but all courageous and caring. The characters in the present had all had some loss in their lives and I liked seeing how they supported each other. I enjoyed both timelines in this story, but it was Nancy's story in 1940 that really drove this book. This is a story of grief and loss, friendship, love, finding your place in the world, family, courage and secrets. Anna Stuart does a good job merging the past with the present with a bit of mystery and suspense. If you are interested in women's rights and their fight for equality, you will really enjoy this book. I recommend it to lovers of Historical Fiction, especially those who like a dual timeline.
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This was a fabulous read that se t me back to times of WW2. I felt completely as one with the characters and loved learning about about Nancy and her gunner girls through the eyes of the diary reader. 

I was saddened when the book came to the end as I felt like there could’ve been more to this journey and I secretly wanted it to continue. 
Praise to the author of a beautiful read; and I will definitely be reading more from this author
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Favorite Quotes:

Why can’t a woman operate outside the kitchen? Why can’t a wife work? She thought that when the war ended, the fighting would be over, but it seems that for her, and so many women like her, it’s only just starting… peace hasn’t turned out to be quite as simple as she’d hoped.

They were all set for me to go home and swan around with Mother, waiting for the season to start so I could put on a ridiculous extravagance of a white dress and catch myself a husband. Their main ambition was for me to get someone “with all their limbs”. 

I sometimes think that so many of us gunner girls –and all the other servicewomen and factory workers and land girls –fought harder after the war than we did during it. Society wanted to slot us conveniently back into our kitchen-shaped holes, but we’d grown and we weren’t going to shrink ourselves to fit back inside. ‘It was the same all over Europe. We think of feminism as starting with the bra-burnings in the seventies but, let me tell you, it was the second half of the forties that got things moving.

My Review:

This was dual-timeline and historical fiction done right, and the feminist in me cheered.  The storylines were thoughtfully layered and shrewdly paced with family drama, an intriguing mystery, romance, and insightful bits of history while it entertained and hit all the feels. The overall premise was eye-opening, as silly me, I had not stopped to think about the women of WWII this way.  

The book drove home the realization that the post-WWII era was actually the kick-off of women finding their voice and value outside of domesticity on a larger scale across the globe.  While the women may not have been all that interested in taking on the vacant jobs and roles of their men at war, they felt differently about themselves for having stepped up and into the fray, yet the returning men and peacetime societies weren’t receptive to women’s efforts to continue moving forward.  While the end of the war was a good thing for the world, the war ending had ignited the beginning of women’s personal battles to get out of the kitchen, stay relevant, and hang on to their jobs and self-worth.  

Needless to say, this book took me much longer to read as the story threads led me down a rabbit hole of Googling which was ignited by the inspiration of these endearing Ack-Ack characters, with Ack-Ack girls actually being my first inquiry.  Anna Stuart was a new name for me when I picked up this book and I now have the deepest respect for her craft and appreciate the lessons learned from her endless hours of research and preparation.
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Historian and school teacher Lorna Haynes and her two young children, Charlie and Stan arrived at the Gameskeeper Cottage in Latham, where Lorna’s mother lived with her new husband, David. Lorna had recently lost her beloved husband Matt to a horrible accident and when her best friend suggested she and the children spend the holidays with Lorna’s mother, she agreed. The Cottage was beautiful and stepping inside was like stepping back in time. The annex where Lorna and the children would sleep was still the same as it had been back in the 1940s, with the garish pink wallpaper immediately taking the eye. When Lorna spied an old desk in the corner, she wondered… and yes, a click and a secret drawer was there with a small book inside.

Nancy Jones began writing in her little diary in June 1945, talking of Joe, her beloved husband, of the war and the ‘gunner girls’ of which Nancy was one. She talked of nursing up at the big house as the soldiers returned, injured and frail. She also spoke of her in-laws, Joe’s parents, Bette and Ted, who owned the Gameskeeper Cottage, and her frustration at not being able to help around the farm. She had been a strong, independent woman with her three friends, Connie, Dot and Peggy, as they shot the German planes out of the sky, but now she was expected to cook, clean, and work in the kitchen. But the gunner girls had a secret, one they wouldn’t tell a soul. Would Nancy write about it in her diary?

The Secret Diary is another excellent historical novel by Anna Stuart which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is my second by this author, and it won’t be my last. Moving between the mid 1940s to current day, Nancy and Lorna gelled as one and as Lorna learned more about Nancy, she, along with David and her mother, knew they needed to know it all. I found both ‘leading ladies’ to be strong, decisive and independent young women and filled their roles well. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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The story is told through dual timelines starting post WWII, 1945 to present day.  In books with dual timelines, I usually like one timeline better than the other, but Anna Stuart did a terrific job of  keeping me interested in both stories throughout the book.  

Two women. One house. And a secret that spans decades… 

Learn of the struggles Nancy faced during the transition from gunner girl to everyday life.  The WWII gunner girls played such a vital role in the war and returning to a “normal” life where a women’s place was in the home, was difficult.  

A second story, taking place 76 years later, where Lorna, a grieving widow struggling to find her new normal, decides to returns home with her children to gain comfort from her mother.  Lorna, getting comfortable in her temporary residence, enters the bedroom she will be staying in.  While examining the room, she uncovers a diary in a hidden compartment of a desk and the first entry states ‘My name is Nancy Jones. And I have a secret…’ 

I always have more than one book going at a time, and one genre you can always find me reading is Historical Fiction!  I love that every time I read a well-researched story, I learn something new.  The Secret Diary delivered a most interesting and unknown story to me that I really enjoyed!  I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn something new through a heartwarming tale.
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The Secret Diary by Anna Stuart is a dual timeline novel that switches between post war 1945 and modern day 2019. Set in Norfolk, it tells the story of two very different women living a lifetime apart in the same Gamekeepers Cottage. Devastated by the sudden loss of her husband, Lorna escapes with her two children to her mother and stepfather’s home in Norfolk. There she is shown into an annex that is like stepping back in time. Everything is exactly as it would have been back in 1945 and, as a history teacher, Lorna is instantly transfixed by it. It is here that she finds a red, leather bound diary in a hidden compartment at the back of a desk drawer. Seeking comfort from within its pages, Lorna finds herself drawn into the post war world of Nancy, a former gunner girl who is the keeper of a shocking wartime secret that will change the course of Lorna’s own life in the present.

In 1945 Nancy is struggling to adjust to life as a gamekeepers wife after her thrilling experiences as a gunner girl during the war. Nancy is deeply in love with her husband Joe, who she married after a whirlwind romance, but there is still so much they don’t know about each other. Unwilling to leave her war years behind and settle back into a life of domesticity, Nancy urges her new husband to teach her the skills he promised to when they got married, much to the chagrin of her very traditional in-laws. But then a terrible secret from Nancy’s war years threatens to resurface, putting her newfound happiness into even more jeopardy…

The Secret Diary is a book richly steeped in wartime history, focussing on the bravery of the gunner girls, a fascinating element of World War 2 that I knew very little about. Women like Nancy and her fellow ‘Ack Ack girls’ played such an important role in the war that returning to the life they had before is unimaginable, their hard won independence not something they’re willing to give up lightly.

I love a book with a dual timeline and this one works incredibly well, moving seamlessly between the two as the story from the past is slowly revealed as Lorna progresses through the long hidden diary of the newlywed Nancy. Both stories stand up in their own right, with Lorna’s grief at the loss of her husband every bit as palpable as the secrets from the past.

Anna Stuart’s writing is gorgeous, bringing the lives of these two very different women vividly to life as they try to overcome the hurdles life has thrown their way. Touching on themes of love, loss and courage, this poignant tale captivated me from the very first page and I did not want this fantastic book to end!

A heartwarming and emotional read that I would highly recommend, especially to those readers who are as fascinated by the historical aspect of this story as I was.

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I love historical Fiction and this one ticked all the right boxes.

It's a dual timeline from present to the 1940s. It shows the strength, courage and resilient of what ladies are capable of and I really admire that in books.

It normally takes the past part of the story to get going but I was pleasantly surprised when it started alongside the present so I got two sides of the story together and that made the reading experience even better.

Loved this book and I highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical Fiction
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“Two women. One house. And a secret that spans decades…”

Whoa! Don’t take those tissues away, I’m not quite cried out just yet!

Happy tears, sad tears, who knows where one ends and the other begins!

I read for five make that six, good reasons, all the ‘e’s: Enjoyment, Entertainment, Escapism, Emotion, Education and Engagement. Seldom does a single book meet all of these criteria in equal proportions, leave me wanting more and sad to have closed that final page – until now! Add to that: Beautiful, Heart-breaking, Heart-warming, Uplifting and Inspirational and you are getting close to describing the emotions this lovely story evoked.

Wonderful dual timeline tales, told in the voices of Nancy from 1945/6 and Lorna from the present day, both set in the lovely Norfolk countryside, with a quintessentially English ‘chocolate-box’ cottage at their heart. Nancy’s diaries, hidden for decades, help to tell her side of the story, through the capable voice of Lorna, for whom they are a healing and cathartic release from her own recent sense of loss and desolation. The unfolding saga is an important piece of cultural and societal history, an evolving love story which transcends time and generations, and a rich sense of family which held me close, welcomed me in and which I didn’t want to leave.

After a devastating loss, which has left Lorna a lone parent to her two young sons, they have gone to recover and begin the healing process, at the home of her mother and her new husband in rural Norfolk. The cottage has been in step-father David’s family since back before WWII (Nancy, it transpires, was his mother), and in fact, the separate annex where Lorna and the boys are to stay, hasn’t been decorated since then and still boasts all its original fixtures from Nancy’s day. History teacher Lorna discovers a secret drawer, in which she finds Nancy’s post-war diary. The ensuing journey of enlightenment for the entire family, is what forms the basis of this truly engaging storyline, with all its twists and turns and long-buried secrets. The complexities of the investigations help to begin the healing process for Lorna, as she learns that Nancy’s homecoming from her wartime service duties, as she tries to fit back into a woman’s role in peacetime, is every bit as fraught as her own journey of loss. But as two strong, resourceful and resilient women, divided by time alone, Nancy and Lorna prevail in spectacular fashion.

This complex multi-layered story, is beautifully structured and richly textured, yet written with the lightest of touches and guiding hands by an author who knows exactly where she is leading her readers on their journey and just how many tears most of them are likely to shed along the way! Rich in atmosphere and offering a genuine sense of time and place, this is a real story to escape into. Anna is an author who is undoubtedly also a consummate storyteller, whose lovely way with words adds a unique depth and range to her work and keeps the dual timeline changes, clean and seamless. At the same time, she has an assured ease and confidence in her writing style and narrative, which makes the reading experience profoundly touching, visually descriptive and captures the emotion of those ‘heart and humour’ moments wonderfully.

Anna has created an engaging, multi-faceted cast of characters, from both time zones, who are completely relatable, well defined and developed, and in whom I was totally invested. They have been afforded a strong voice to tell their own story, which they do with some genuinely believable dialogue and in an addictive style, keeping true to the era. Anna has not been afraid to expose their individual emotional complexities and vulnerabilities, and their divergent family dynamics, which are dealt with sympathetically and with some excellent interpersonal interactions.

The promise of renewed hope going forwards, for those who dare to dream – thanks to those who have dreamed and been brave before us!
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Thank you to NetGalley, Anna Stuart, and Bookouture for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

The Secret Diary by Anna Stuart is a dual timeline (present day and 1940s), suspenseful, historical fiction adventure that pulled me in from the very first page. While the two main characters are separated by decades, they are more similar then we may realize at first blush. Both are very strong females and were able to triumph over their own issues. Several pages of the secret diary were found to be missing ... And Lorna and her family begin a quest to learn more about Nancy and her life as a gunner during WWII. The story line was very emotional and holds you in so you find out more about both characters in their quest for fulfillment. I recommend this book for fans of historical fiction and for those people that love a good book about WW2. 

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