Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book: 

The secret a mother was forbidden to share . . . the consequences a daughter could not redeem—but will risk everything in her attempt.

All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah unlocks secrets of her mother’s mysterious past, including the discovery of a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father, ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, demands a marriage for his daughter to help advance his career. But Lieselotte is in love—and her beloved Lukas secretly works against the Reich. How far will her father go to achieve his goal?

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who hides wartime secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past, and how their legacy will shape her future.

My Review:

I had been looking forward to this read for awhile. When I was riding on the train, I was able to take the time to read this book. The skillfully written words are some that will go deep within your soul and make you think about different angles of the war.  It made me wonder how many hard mother/daughter relationships might be because of lack of communication, even today. Hannah believed her mother did not love her. Yet, her mother loved her so much, she had given up everything for her.

This book contains glimpses of inside Germany’s Reich, and some of the confused minds of the inhabitants of the country. However, because of a few of the deeds done by some of the evil men of that time, this book would be one that mature teens and adults should read. It is not graphic, but gives details that you would want to discuss with your teen.

I think it would be a good one for a book club or mother/daughter read together. The relationship between a mother and daughter can be so hard with lack of communication which this book shows so dramatically. It will also give you some inside looks at what happened after the war in Germany as well.

This book was provided for me for review. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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