#BookReview The Secret History of Audrey James by Heather Marshall @HMarshallAuthor @SimonSchusterCA #HeatherMarshall #TheSecretHistoryOfAudreyJames #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Secret History of Audrey James

Author: Heather Marshall

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Jun. 4, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Sometimes the best place to hide is the last place anyone would look.

Northern England, 2010

After a tragic accident upends her life, Kate Mercer leaves London to work at an old guest house near the Scottish border, where she hopes to find a fresh start and heal from her loss. When she arrives, she begins to unravel the truth about her past, but discovers the mysterious elderly proprietor is harbouring her own secrets…

Berlin, 1938

Audrey James is weeks away from graduating from a prestigious music school in Berlin, where she’s been living with her best friend, Ilse Kaplan. As she prepares to finish her piano studies, Audrey dreads the thought of returning to her father in England and leaving Ilse behind. Families like the Kaplans are being targeted as war in Europe threatens.

When Ilse’s parents and brother suddenly disappear, two high-ranking Nazi party members confiscate the Kaplans’ upscale home, believing it to be empty. In a desperate attempt to keep Ilse safe, Audrey becomes housekeeper for the officers while Ilse is forced into hiding in the attic—a prisoner in her own home. Tensions rise in the house and the chance of survival diminishes by the day. When a shocking turn of events pushes Audrey to become embroiled in cell of the anti-Hitler movement – clusters of resisters working to bring down the Nazis from within Germany itself – Audrey must decide what matters most: saving herself, protecting her friend, or sacrificing everything for the greater good.

Inspired by true stories of courageous women and the German resistance during WWII, this is a captivating novel about the unbreakable bonds of friendship, the sacrifices we make for those we love, and the healing that comes from human connection.


Review:

Immersive, memorable, and moving!

The Secret History of Audrey James is predominantly set in Berlin and Northern England during 1938, as well as 2010, and is told from two different perspectives; Kate, a young woman who, after a tragic accident that leaves her marriage in tatters and her parents both deceased, decides to make a change and move out of London in order to visit a place her parents once loved and somehow start to heal, and Audrey, an elderly woman who, as her life is quickly coming to an end, finally shares her life story that was full of commitment, passion, heartache, courage, selflessness, pain, horrifying conditions, and unrequited love.

The prose is eloquent and rich. The characters are tenacious, resilient, and determined. And the plot is an exceptionally touching tale about life, loss, family, secrets, separation, desperation, regret, grief, love, tragedy, survival, friendship, the horrors of war, and the power of music.

Overall, The Secret History of Audrey James is an absorbing, poignant, beautifully written novel by Marshall that does a wonderful job of showcasing the hard work, bravery, and danger involved in being a resister in Germany during WWII. It’s now the second novel I’ve had the pleasure to read and absolutely love by Marshall, and I can guarantee that whatever she decides to write next will always hold a top spot on my TBR list.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Heather Marshall

Heather Marshall lives with her family near Toronto. She completed master’s degrees in Canadian history and political science, and worked in politics and communications before turning her attention to her true passion: storytelling. Looking for Jane is her debut novel.

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic.

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