“I came searching for my parents, for the family I want so desparately – have wanted all my life – and this is what I get?” Hannah worries in Cathy Gohlke’s novel, Secrets She Kept.
~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-sixteen-page paperback targets those who are intrigued by romantic Christian historical fiction involving Nazis and Jews during World War II. With no profanity or detailed sexual scenes, topics of physical and sexual abuse, imprisonment, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes and first chapter of a previous book.
In this tale told in first person by two individuals over thirty years apart, twenty-seven-year old Hannah Sterling is unable to get over her mother’s death, especially when she learns the man who raised her is not who she was lead to believe.
Lieselotte Sommer was only thirteen when her mother died and slowly begins to learn things are not what they seem when her father rises in the Nazi ranks in Berlin in 1938. In love with a boy her father forbids and compassionate toward the needy, the teen gets caught up in aiding others, convinced her father is unaware of her intentions.
As Hannah learns her grandfather is still alive, she flies to Germany, only to uncover secrets, heartbreaks, and lies that she cannot fathom or correct. Dealing with the truth, both women learn in different ways about love and forgiveness.
~ Why ~
With the historical background of the Reich abusing the Jews, the book draws the reader to how family relations are pivotal yet sometimes destructive during wartime. I found Gohlke’s writing superbly sensitive to the horrors of the Holocaust and how loved ones dealt with its tumultuous aftermath.
~ Why Not ~
With the story dwelling on a hideous time of humankind with the over-whelming cruelty toward Jews, some may be uncomfortable reading the gut-wrenching account.
~ Who ~
Two-time Christy Award winner, Gohlke has written several books and lives in Virginia and Maryland with her husband.
~ Wish ~
Due to the tenderness Gohlke approached the topic of war, I hope a new book will be written shortly.
~ Want ~
If you find historical fiction of WWII from the Nazis’ perspective engaging, this story of survival through secrets on both sides of the war will stimulate forgiveness of others.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.
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Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.