Book Reviews

The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix


The gorgeous cover and intriguing title alone pretty much had me sold on reading this book, but the blurb sealed the deal. I seem to be especially drawn to historical novels about WWII lately. What appealed to me most about this novel is that the two main characters are on opposing sides of the war. Imogen is British, Magda is German, and each are expected to do their patriotic duty.

Imogen was evacuated to the Lake District in the early days of the war, safely away from the cities the Germans were bombing. She eventually joins the WRENS where she works on Top Secret projects for the war effort. Magda despises Nazi ideals, and secretly joins the White Rose movement after befriending Sophie Scholl at the University of Munich. Magda is determined to do what is right at all times, despite the risk of discovery—leading to a decision that affects the lives of both women.

This was a fast read for me. It pulled me in right from the start, and I just couldn’t put it down. Both Imogen and Magda fascinated me, but it was Magda’s part of the story that had me frantically tapping the screen. She was constantly dealing with a threat of some sort or another, and had a few close calls that left me feeling terrified for her. Imogen’s part of the story didn’t leave me with an impending sense of doom all the time, but the difficulties she faced touched my heart, and I just wanted her to be happy.

I found this novel to be beautifully written, and I was a little sad to reach the end. This is the first time I’ve read a book written by Debbie Rix, and I’m wondering why it took me so long to ‘discover’ her books. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Debbie Rix
Title: The Secret Letter
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: July 22, 2019 by Bookouture
Rating: 5 stars


About the Book

For readers of Orphan Train, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Book Thief comes an unforgettable novel inspired by a true story about the power of human kindness and bravery in a time of unimaginable heartbreak.

Germany, 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 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.

England, 1939: Fifteen-year-old Imogen is torn from her family and evacuated to the Lake District, a haven of safety away from the war raging across Europe. All she has to connect her to the bombs and the battles are the letters she writes to her loved ones. Little does she know, on the other side of the enemy line, her fate rests on the actions of one girl who will change her life forever…

About the Author

DEBBIE RIX has had a long career in journalism, including working as a presenter for the BBC.  Her first novel, The Girl with Emerald Eyes was set around the building of the tower of Pisa and she has since released Daughters of the Silk Road and The Silk Weaver’s Wife. Debbie writes heartbreaking historical novels about love, tragedy and secrets.