The Secret Notebook
by Julia Wild
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 8 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 11 Jul 2021
HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, One More Chapter
A view to the past…
When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.
Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…
Readers are loving The Secret Notebook:
‘I loved this book from beginning to end! I couldn't put it down’ Laureen
‘A truly lovely, sweet and romantic story…A gorgeous, relaxing read’ Jenn
‘An excellent and heart-warming read filled with love, secrets, betrayals, and growth’ Etta
‘Made me feel very nostalgic for the place I grew up in’ Ruth
‘A great read that should be at the top of your summer book list’ Meredith
‘A beautiful story, I loved every word!’ Laura
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 79 members
I was swept away from the first page of this incredible story! This was such an enthralling read. It was really well written! Historical fiction...Who knew I would enjoy it the way I did. I think it was the author, she did an exquisite job of describing the scenes and the emotions so well and the story-line is captivating. I have came a long way. Honey it's nice to take a break away from the thrillers and this book did that for me! I just loved Izzie......her character is so strong and powerful. I just loved her! So thank you so much NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter and author for this amazing ebook copy!
With thanks to One more chapter via netgalley for an arc in return for an honest opinion. So grateful to have been sent this book as I Don't think I would have picked it myself and I would have missed out on a beautiful tale set in Blackpool during ww2, this is a twin timeline told by granddaughter Izzie about her grandparents especially molly her grandmother and how life tread her and her best friend Dora a truly poignant tale unfolds at the same time Izzie let's us into how her life has gone, her good friend Justin comes back on the scene. This is one book that you will remember for a very long time for all sorts of reasons a good few tissues are highly recommend. I have nothing but praise for this authors work and highly recommend
This is a lovely book and the writing style was so easy to read. It follows 2 different times in the life of Molly. In WW2 and in 2017. When Molly passes away and her granddaughter Lizzie finds her diary it makes intriguing reading. I look forward to reading more from Julia Wild if she writes more in the historical fiction genre. Definitely recommended. Thanks to #NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review
Outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having been taken to Blackpool every year for the illuminations until I was a teenager I could picture the places mentioned and see myself inside Nan's bungalow! I usually read stories which have more mention of the war in the storyline; apart from the brothers being in the RAF and then writing to them it could have been set in any early era of the 20th century. The characters were all really likeable and as with any book it is always nice when there is a happy ending! I hope this author writes more books as her style of writing was easy to read and easy to pick up a few chapters before bed!
This is a very special story which resonated with me. Not only because it was such a fabulous book, but because all the action is set in my hometown, Blackpool! This is the first book. which I have read, that was set here. Told from two perspectives, it focuses on Izzie Dean finding a wartime diary which recorded her Nan’s life during wartime. The storyline switches easily between the recent past and the war years. There are strong parallels between Izzie’s current situation and the choices and dilemma’s that her Nan faced. Of course, the war years brought a different view of life, as nobody knew how long they would remain safe for. Choices made, in the blink of an eye, would have consequences which often proved difficult to handle. Thankfully, Molly found that love and support can come from surprising sources. I’ve been trying to think which part of the story I preferred, and I can honestly say that both timelines gripped my attention. I wanted and hoped for happy endings for both Izzie and Molly. Of course, nothing comes easily and that is the sweet agony of enjoying this genre of writing. I will seek out some of Julia Wild’s other titles, I enjoyed this book immensely and was quite sorry when I reached the final page.
I am a great lover of WWII fiction and dual time stories, and this book takes the cake because I get both!!! I ended up liking both the present and the past parts (unusual for me) and really liked how Julia was questioning her earlier decisions about her first great live. Very relatable. This author's writing was extremely extremely wonderful and obviously did her research. It felt like I was truly in WWII when those passages happened. Highly recommended!!!
Euston West Hampshire Izzie Dean a widow at twenty nine years old her late husband Rufus famous crime writing author left her wealthy. When Justin Swift gets in touch her nan Molly has been taken into hospital with pneumonia she was on her way to Blackpool. After her death Izzie is left everything the red brick bungalow holds lots of childhood memories and she stays on to sort things out. Izzie still feels a magnetic pull towards Justin even after all this time. This book takes us into Mollys diaries dating back to 1943 WW2. Oh what a well written novel this is that will touch readers. And Izzie and Justin? The end is just the beginning for these two. Izzie was home. I loved this book 5 stars
★★★★★ 4.5 stars (rounded up) In this day and age of texts and emails where everything is instant, the art of writing letters or a diary seems lost to history. But to be able to re-read them, to touch them and to breathe in their essence. To know that your loved one had touched them and written those words with their own hand, pouring out their heart and their soul...it's so much better than a text. Letters are so personal that at any time you can take them out, re-read them and step back in time to relive those memories. The same could be said for a diary one may have once kept with each word etched in time on every page that had meant something to you at that moment in time. And to be swept away by the emotion in every word. It's very essence is so powerful that to be able to capture it and remember it is something special indeed. THE SECRET NOTEBOOK brings to life the very essence of words and the memories it can stir up and the stories it tells. It reminds us of another time when the lost art of letter writing brought such happiness. West Hampstead, London, 2017: After the death of her husband the year before, Izzie Dean is left languishing in the house they shared and the fulfulling job which first brought them together. But one day she receives a call from an old flame, Justin, asking her to return home to Blackpool as her 95 year old Nan, Molly, has pneumonia and has been taken to hospital. Izzie packs her bags, takes leave from work and hurries north to Blackpool. She arrives at the hospital in time for her nan to utter a few garbled final words of "...attic...book..." to which Izzie tearfully tells her that she'll sort it. Her nan then smiles and takes her last breath. Distraught by her death, Izzie begins the task of sorting through her nan's possessions and redecorating the sprawling seafront house in which she had spent a happy childhood. Estranged from her mother who now lives in South Africa with her stepfather, Izzie had moved in with her nan and grandpop during her teenage years. The house was a mismatch of patterns and colours which her nan had loved after the drabness and lack of colour during the war. Izzie snapped some photos of her nan's haphazard decorating before stripping the wallpaper and repainting each room afresh, with Justin on hand to help with the heavy lifting. Whilst cleaning out the loft room which had once been her bedroom, Izzie revisits many memories of the time she had there. Her grandpop's painting took pride of place on her wall where it still hangs today reminding her of a time she tried to emulate him and he hung her effort in the kitchen as a trade. The memory brings a smile to her face as she carefully lifts the painting from its hook...and is surprised to find a small nook carved out in the wall behind it. She opens the tiny door and inside is a parcel wrapped carefully in newspaper in which she discovers to be a beautiful green embroidered notebook bulging with pages and letters lost to time. It's her nan's diary dated from 1943 holding the secrets she shared with no one...until now. Remembering her nan's final words, Izzie wonders if the notebook had been left there for her to find...in her old room. After reading the first entry, Izzie shares the find with Justin and together they are immersed within the story her grandmother tells through the poignant heartfelt words poured out on page after page. The love, the heartbreak, the struggles, the secrets and the effects of war. The sharing of her nan's story this brings cause for Izzie to reflect upon her own life and heartaches. And though reluctant to bare her heart and soul again, what she discovers surprises her. Blackpool 1943: Twenty-one year old Molly lives in the boarding house her stepmother Enid owns and runs when twins Joe and Jack Blackshaw, resplendent in their blue RAF uniforms, are billeted there for six weeks. From the moment she sets eyes on Joe, Molly is swept away by his dancing eyes and charming smile. After her daily chores are complete, she and Joe spend most evenings walking along the promenade sometimes with her best friend Dora and his brother Jack and sometimes alone whilst on Saturdays they often go dancing. With his arms around her Molly sees no one else but Joe and when he asks her to be his girl and her heart leaps with joy. With Joe by her side, Molly feels herself falling completely and utterly in love with him. No one can spoil her good mood...not even Enid when she snipes at behaving herself and that if she gets herself in the family way she'll be out on her ear. But Molly knows that will never happen to her. Until one night in the shelter on the prom, Joe expresses his desire to take things further. Molly hesitates. No, she mustn't. But something has shifted between them and over the following nights, Joe busies himself studying his his course to become a flight engineer. Meanwhile Molly remains busy at the boarding house, often playing cards with Jack and the other billets in the evenings. When the time approaches for them to leave, Joe takes Molly out for one final walk on the prom and in the shadows of their shelter she capitulates and bathes in the afterglow of love in what will be his absence. She waves him goodbye and utters that she loves him to which he just smiles and bids her a heartfelt farewell. Molly knows their love will see them through their separation till the end of the war as she begins planning their future in her head. She writes to Joe regularly but doesn't lose heart when she receives no reply. Mail is sporadic during wartime often taking weeks or even months to get through. Meanwhile she continues working alongside Enid at the boarding house and enjoying a Saturday dance with Dora. Until one day, something happens to bring her world crashing down. And she receives a letter she never expected... Molly's story is brought to life through her heartfelt words carefully penned in THE SECRET NOTEBOOK through diary form, cleverly entwined with Izzie's present day narrative. The dual timeline is completely absorbing and compelling, particularly Molly's tale, that is both emotional and poignant throughout. While it did take a while to gain momentum in the beginning with Izzie's story, it was Molly's that had me completely immersed both in story and time. Once I had started I didn't want to put it down and longed to see how it would all end. And then just when we thought we knew it all...there is a final sting in the tail to bring one life unravelling. Although I admit to suspecting it before its discovery. Engaging and well-written, THE SECRET NOTEBOOK is a beautiful and sweeping tale of a contemporary wartime romance about love, loss and secrets. I am so glad I picked up this book as it is one that I will remember for some time to come. I would like to thank #JuliaWild, #Netgalley, #RachelsRandomResources and #OneMoreChapter for an ARC of #TheSecretNotebook in exchange for an honest review.
A lovely story over two time-lines with great characters that bring the book alive,this is my first book by this author will be looking for others.5*
I had a feeling this would be an emotional read just from the blurb, and boy I wasn’t wrong. I adored this story and was drawn into Molly and Izzie’s lives completely. The dual timeline aspect using the notebook from Molly and then Izzie’s discovery of this life was beautifully written and had me in tears many times. I loved the idea of letter writing to share the love between two people - in the quick reactions of the digital world it feels like we’re missing the love and care that goes into the written word. Such a beautiful story and one that I’ll treasure.
I throughly enjoyed this one, it was such a great read. I read it very quickly and enjoyed right to the final page. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
I loved this book from beginning to end! I couldn't put it down. The Notebook that was found and read by Izzie after her nans death was honest, fun and heartbreaking all wrapped together in an unimaginable time in the past due to war. It was written with pure love for family and hope for a happy ending. I cried and laughed through this wonderful story.