A truth buried for over forty years.
A love that lasted a lifetime.
Rose Pepper has kept her wartime past a secret for decades. Forty years ago, she fled communist Prague and left behind the love of her life.
Now in her sixties and with two daughters, Rose discovers a bundle of unopened letters sent to her by her lost love, hidden beneath her home. Confronted with the possibility of facing up to her past, she decides it's finally time to go back to where her story began and uncover the truth buried for so long in Prague . . .
From the author of Map of Stars comes a heartbreaking story of love and hope, secrets and lies. Perfect for fans of Kathryn Hughes and Leah Fleming.Kindle Edition, 377 pagesPublished October 6th 2016 by Zaffre
Rose is in the middle of sprucing up her old home. During the renovations, she found buried beneath her house, a bundle of three unopened letters, sent decades ago from her long lost love in Prague. All these years, the truth was right there. Now at sixty seven, Rose is ready to go back and find out the truth. She has long buried the past and its dark secrets. What happened to the man whom Rose gave her heart to, and the one who destroyed it?
- The Secret Letters was a book that drew me in with its promise of a long, lost love and a mystery. Plus, I can't resist a book set during the WWII era. While I had some problems with the ending, I enjoyed the tale. I liked learning more about the war in England, and what young girls did to survive. This is a book about strength, courage, love and loss. If you are interested in this era, this is a book to try.
- The majority of the book was set during the war years, and I liked learning about this trying time, especially how young women survived. This is set in England, so there are air raids and destruction, which was horrifying. I liked when Rose became a Land Girl, and learned how to farm. I thought the author did a great job of transporting us back to England during the war era.
- After the war, the story transports the reader to Prague. I loved exploring this old city with its statues and clocks.
- I liked the eclectic cast of characters. I especially loved Roses' farm family: Ted, Betony and Meg. Meg was my favorite, she is a strong willed young woman, who isn't afraid to speak her mind, and she isn't afraid to go after what she wants. She is very outspoken and she isn't timid or shy when it comes to anything, including sex, I wish that Rose could have been more like her.
- The end was quick and bittersweet, but I was relieved that I got all the answers. The mystery regarding the lost love, the letters and all of that was solved.
And The Not So Much:
- Sigh.... where did this one go wrong? I think for me, the biggest problem was the ending. I was truly invested in the story, and enjoying it for the most part, and then the conclusion felt hurried and it left a lot to be desired. I wanted to know more about what happened to Rose during all those years. How did she survive?
Then I wanted to know about Ted, Betony and Meg. I was so disappointed when their fate was laid it in a couple of sentences. The final paragraph felt too open, and I almost felt like there was a sequel or a spin off book coming. I wasn't expecting a happy ending, but I felt like it ended too quickly and the author could have spent a bit more time on the details.
- The other issue I had with this one is that I didn't really connect with Rose, and I couldn't get behind her. Sometimes she shows strength and backbone, and then other times she backs down and becomes a coward. I expected her to stand up to Will and to not let him manipulate her, but most of the time she doesn't. I wish she were more like Meg. I also struggled with the fact that there weren't mentions of her trying to track down Krystoff after all that time, did she just give up? Rose is a nice character, innocent and naive, but I wanted fire and courage. One thing that really irritated me about her was when she wasted money on flowers week after week at the train station. Really?
- One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was when Rose became a Land Girl. I had no idea that the British girls were trained to become farm girls. I would have loved to know how Rose decided to become a Land Girl, and the whole process of how she trained. Unfortunately, it is glossed over and most of it is left out.
The Secret Letters was a book that I wanted to fall in love with as it transported me back to the WWII era. While I did, for the most part, enjoy the story, I was disappointed in the abrupt ending. I wanted more resolution and more details on what happened to Rose between the time frames. I was also disappointed that Rose wasn't a stronger character. Still this is a book that takes you through the war years with the dangerous air raids, death, destruction and resolution. If you are interested in the WWII era, this is one to try. I liked it, but I was let down by the finale.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.