Book Review: The Secret Letter

As a genealogist, I know that everyone has a tale to tell. While most of these stories are of everyday people living ordinary lives, occasionally an extraordinary tale is uncovered. Such is the case with The Secret Letter, written by Debbie Rix, a historical fiction novel inspired by her parents’ wartime experiences.


The Secret Letter tells the tale of two girls on the cusp of womanhood whose countries are on the brink of war. Imogen Mitchell is a 15-year English girl whose family exiles her to the country when Great Britain declares war on Germany in 1939. For years, Imogen is disconnected from her family both physically and emotionally; her parent’s frequent letters and infrequent visits are her lifeline to her home, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Meanwhile, across the North Sea resides a 13-year old German farm girl named Magda Maier, whose older brother Karl is studying at Oxford University and whose best friend Lotte has been taken away because of her faith.

Despite their differences, Imogen and Magda share the same desire: to take down the Nazi regime. In 1943, Imogen becomes a plotter for the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as the Wrens), working on classified troop movements. Magda joins die Weiße Rose (the White Rose), a resistance group led by German university students, as well as conceals and cares for injured Allied airmen at her family’s farm (both actions which are punishable by death). At first, it seems as if Imogen’s and Magda’s lives are completely separate, but soon, unbeknownst to them, fate inextricably entwines their lives together.

Poignant and pensive, The Secret Letter pulled me into its pages. I quickly came to care for both Imogen and Magda; I was saddened by their heartaches and exhilarated by their joys. An exceptional tale of two ordinary women living extraordinary lives, I highly recommend The Secret Letter to anyone who appreciates a great story.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bookouture, courtesy of a NetGalley giveaway. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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