Secrets She Kept
By Cathy Gohlke
Tyndale House, August, 2015
About the Book
All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.
Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love―but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.
Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes 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.
The Holocaust is a tough subject for an inspirational novel, and before reading this book I had thought I’d had enough of WWII novels. So many are either too graphic and depressing or too sugar coated. Cathy Gohlke’s Secrets She Kept stands above all the rest for me. It’s an intriguing read. I could not put it down because I had to know, along with Hannah Sterling, the protagonist, what happened. If you liked All the Light We Cannot See by Andrew Doerr, you’ll probably enjoy this book as well.
I thought how the author portrayed the survivors was particularly well-crafted. No sugar-coating. I could imagine actual survivors saying these things exactly. The message that no matter how much we want to make up for things, no matter how sincere and well-meaning we might be, we cannot. How can these evil things be forgiven? How can we possibly understand the choices people made both during and after the Holocaust? The truth, although sometimes hard to accept, is that we cannot. We just can’t. Gohlke’s message, echoing that of Corrie Ten Boom’s, is that there is only One who can.
Well-written, intriguing, the best book I’ve read this year!
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., and the author for providing me a complimentary advanced copy for review. This is my honest review with no obligations.
Cindy Thomson is the author of seven books, including the upcoming release of Sofia’s Tune, the third book in her Ellis Island series. She also writes genealogy articles for Internet Genealogy and Your Genealogy Today magazines, and short stories for Clubhouse Magazine. Visit her at www.cindyswriting.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cindyswriting and on Twitter: @cindyswriting.