The Secret Letter is such a beautiful book, made especially emotional by the fact is is based on the wartime experiences of the author’s parents.
Two girls, one English, one German, grow up during the Second World War. Separated by geography but united in their passion to defeat the Nazis, Imogen and Magda become young women facing the reality of war.
Imogen is in love with Freddie but he joins the war effort and tells her to forget him in case he doesn’t come back. Magda falls in love with an injured airman but can’t avoid Hitler Youth fanatic (and later SS officer) Otto.
I admit that when I started this book I imagined the two girls would have more of a link than they actually ended up with. But actually it was so much better this way as it allowed the author to explore two complete stories with brief connections rather than have one story intermingled, making it much more powerful.
Both Imogen and Magda begin the book as children so are quite naive. As they grow into women, they become more aware of the war and determined to fight injustice. Both women are independent and even ambitious. Love for their countries, and hope for a better Nazi free future, inspires them to help the war effort in whatever way they can.
This book by Debbie Rix firmly focuses on the bravery and hope of those fighting against Nazi rule. There is also sadness about the reality of war and the difficulties faced by civilians. As well as using her own parents’ experiences and letters, the author has obviously done plenty of research to underscore the fictional plot with real life events.
The Secret Letter: Gripping and heartbreaking WW2 historical fiction
Germany, 1939. A tumbledown farmhouse, on the outskirts of a close-knit village in the heart of the rolling hills of Bavaria. A once happy family home torn apart by Nazi rule. And one young girl who refuses to give up on what she believes in…
2018: When ninety-four-year-old Imogen receives a letter addressed to her in neat, unfamiliar handwriting, she notices the postmark is stamped from Germany – and it sends shivers down her spine…
1939:Thirteen-year-old Magda is devastated by the loss of her best friend, shy and gentle Lotte, cruelly snatched from her and sent to a concentration camp – the Star of David sewn on her faded, brown coat. As the Nazi’s power takes hold, Magda realizes she’s not like the other girls in her German village – she hates the fanatical new rules of the Hitler Youth. So Magda secretly joins The White Rose Movement and begins to rebel against the oppressive, frightening world around her.
But when an English RAF pilot lands in a field near Magda’s home she is faced with an impossible choice: to risk the lives of her family or to save a stranger and make a difference in the war she desperately wants to end. Little does she know, her actions will have the power to change the life of another girl, on the other side of enemy lines, forever…
About the author
Debbie Rix has written five novels, the latest of which – ‘The Secret Letter’ – will be published on July 22nd 2019. The novel, set in World War II, tells the story of two girls – one German the other English whose lives eventually intertwine through the noble actions of one RAF pilot. Set in the UK and Germany, the novel is a slight departure as all Debbie’s previous novels have been set in Italy.
The Photograph – set in Sardinia – crosses generations and continents as Sophie, desperate for a child of her own, uncovers the extraordinary secrets of her grandmother, Rachael, fifty years earlier. Like her other novels, it reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. The Photograph will be published in Italy on June 6th 2019.
The Silk Weaver’s Wife – published 19th July 2017 – was shortlisted for the RNA’s Historical Novel category and is about a silk designer named Anastasia from Verona whose life is almost destroyed when she is forced into a marriage to a Venetian silk weaver. In the present day Millie visits an old villa near Verona and uncovers a lost painting. Who is the woman in the painting and how will her experiences affect Millie’s life?
Daughters of the Silk Road topped the historical fiction charts in 2016, reaching No.1 in Italian, Women’s fiction and Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and spent many weeks in the top 100 best selling lists. It follows the fortunes of a family of merchant explorers who bring a Ming vase back to Venice from China in 15th century.
‘The Girl with Emerald Eyes’ was published in 2015 and also reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. Set amidst the world of medieval Italy, it explores the creation of the most famous building in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of the novels reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. She lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden. She began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt, and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.