I was a little apprehensive about reading Secrets She Kept, because I was one of the three judges who awarded Cathy Gohlke the 2015 Inspy Award for General Fiction, for her novel Saving Amelie. After reading a book as good as Saving Amelie, I’m always a little worried that the author’s next book won’t meet the high expectations set by the earlier title.
Well, Secrets She Kept blew Saving Amelie out of the water. Yes, it was that good. Goosebump good.
It’s a split timeline story—the modern story is set in 1972, where Hannah Sterling’s mother has just died, and Hannah finds her mother was never entirely honest with her. For starters, Lieselotte wasn’t Austrian . . . No. She was German, living in Germany during the rise of Hitler and during World War II. The past story is Lieselotte’s, during those life-changing war years. It’s not a happy story, but as we journey with both Hannah and Lieselotte, we discover what made Lieselotte the distant mother she was: the secrets she kept.
The writing, the research, the characters, the plot—all were outstanding, and it’s one of the few split timeline stories I’ve read where the past and the present stories were equally compelling. Recommended.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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