The Tower House. Down a secluded path, hidden by overgrown vines, the crumbling villa echoes with memories. Of the family who laughed and sang there, until the Nazis tore them from their home. And of the next woman to walk its empty rooms, whose courage in the face of evil could alter the course of history…
Germany 1940. As secretary to the leader of the SS, Magda spends her days sending party invitations to high-ranking Nazis, and her evenings distributing pamphlets for the resistance. But Magda is leading a dangerous double life, smuggling secrets out of the office. It’s a deadly game, and eventual exposure is a certainty, but Magda is driven by a need to keep the man she secretly loves safe as he fights against the Nazis…
Forty years later. Nina’s heart pounds as she steps into an uncertain future carrying a forged passport, a few bank notes, and a scribbled address for The Tower House taken from an intricate drawing she found hidden in her grandmother’s wardrobe. Separated from her family and betrayed by her country, Nina’s last hope is to trace her family’s history in the ruins of the past her grandmother ran from. But, when she finally finds the abandoned house, she opens the door to a forgotten story, and to secrets which will change everything: past, present, and future…
A poignant and gripping novel about bravery, loss and redemption during the Second World War. An unputdownable read for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.
The Secretary is a book that follows the journey of two women, both of whom are strong, courageous ladies. First there is Magda, a young woman who is a secretary working within the lions den itself in Germany. Magda hates the Nazi’s and everything they stand for, so she makes it her own personal mission to try and gather as much information to try and bring a stop to their cause. She knows she is taking a huge risk, but she feels it is worth it for the greater good.
Then we meet Nina, several years have passed and she is growing up in a post war Germany. A Germany where there is a wall dividing East from West. Nina longs to escape the place that is no longer a home, but much more like a prison to her now. As a child, Nina learnt about the Tower House, a place that her grandmother had once lived, and a place that resembles something from a fairytale. She longs to escape the east to try and locate this place that her grandmother refuses to talk about, but as Nina digs for information, secrets from the past begin to come to light, secrets that could bring both Nina and Marta harm if they are uncovered.
I am sure most people know by now that there is a special place in my heart for historical fiction, so as soon as I read the description for this book it sounded like something I would love, and I certainly wasn’t wrong about that. Catherine Hokin has once again written a book that is utterly captivating from the very first page. The detail that is put in to the historical side of the story is remarkable, and really allows you to immerse yourself in to the world in which she brings to life so vividly in her writing. The characters are well fleshed out and have their own intricate personalities, allowing them to become more realistic and relatable to the reader as we get to know them better as the story progresses.
The story flowed beautifully from beginning to end, with the perfect levels of drama and mystery intertwined throughout to really keep you invested to the very end. I loved this book, and I will certainly be recommending it to my fellow historical fiction lovers!.
You can purchase a copy of this book by following the links below
About the Author
Catherine Hokin is the author of two World War Two inspired novels set in Berlin, her favourite city. Following a History degree at Manchester University she worked in teaching, marketing and politics, while waiting for a chance to do what she really wanted which was to write full time. Her short stories have been published by iScot, Writers Forum and Myslexia magazines and she was the winner of the 2019 Fiction 500 Short Story Competition. She is a lover of strong female leads and a quest.
Catherine now lives in Glasgow with her American husband. She has two grown-up children – one of whom lives, very conveniently, in Berlin – and a life long addiction to very loud music.