The Highly Awaited New Novel From The USA Today Bestselling Author Of The German MidwifeVenice, The World Is At War, And Stella Jilani Is Leading A Double Life By Day She Works In The Lion S Den As A Typist For The Reich By Night, She Risks Her Life As A Messenger For The Italian Resistance Against All Odds, Stella Must Impart Nazi Secrets, Smuggle Essential Supplies And Produce An Underground Newspaper On Her Beloved TypewriterBut When German Commander General Breugal Becomes Suspicious, It Seems He Will Stop At Nothing To Find The Mole, And Stella Knows Her Future Could Be In JeopardyLondon, Years Later, Luisa Belmont Finds A Mysterious Old Typewriter In Her Attic Determined To Find Out Who It Belonged To, Luisa Delves Into The Past And Uncovers A Story Of Fierce Love, Unimaginable Sacrifice And, Ultimately, The Worst Kind Of Betrayal Set Between German Occupied S Venice And Modern Day London, This Is A Fascinating Tale Of The Bravery Of Everyday Women In The Darkest Corners Of WWII, For Readers Of The Tattooist Of Auschwitz By Heather Morris And The Lost Girls Of Paris By Pam JenoffPraise For The Secret Messenger Intriguing, Pacy And Fascinating Suzanne Goldring, Author Of My Name Is Eva Unique, Emotional And Life Affirming Melanie Hudson, Author Of The Last Letter From Juliet A Beautifully Written Novel, Perfect For Historical Fiction Lovers Soraya M Lane, Bestselling Author Of The Girls Of Pearl Harbor Another Fantastic Page Turner LP Fergusson, Author Of A Dangerous Act Of Kindness I Felt I Was Walking Alongside Stella Over Bridges And Along Canals At Every Heartstopping Moment Wonderful Molly Green, Author Of An Orphan S Wish One Of The Stronger Novels That Pays Homage To The Women Involved In The Movements Of Resistance Reader Review Refreshingly Different Even If You Think You Have Read Enough War Books This Year I Strongly Recommend You Read This One Reader Review If You Like WWII Stories, This Is A Must Read Reader Review Marvellous And Highly Recommended Story On A Little Known Aspect Of WWII Reader Review 1944, Venice Stella, a member of the Venice Resistance Central Brigade, takes a job working in Nazi headquarters to help pass information to the resistance Stella, an anti fascist, risks her life daily by working among Black Brigade fascists and Nazi s where she helps type and translate documents for them Working for the enemy, Stella is asked to translate a document that will change her future and cause her to choose between her country or her family 2017, Bristol Luisa s mother dies and she begins to go through her things She unearths a plethora of artifacts that relate to her grandmother in her mother s attic Luisa seeks to find answers about who she is and the roots of her maternal family Historically This is one of the stronger novels that pays homage to the women involved in movements of resistance The Jewish ghetto raids, Bloody Summer of Venice, bombing of Guidecca, the Riva dei Sette Martiri, and many others made a detailed appearance in this fictional account Though it goes through the Jewish ghetto raids, the atrocities the Jews endured and the genocide committed against them is not a focus in this novel The Nazi s reprisals in Venice that were witnessed by Stella really struck a chord with me The Ca Littoria and Santa Maggiore jail are mentioned several times in this novel, though never any harrowing details My technical notes Out of forty chapters total, fourteen of those chapters took place during modern day with Luisa s character in 2017 2018 Luisa s chapters in 2017 2018 are notably much shorter Most of the story centers around the past during 1944 in Venice with Stella 26 chapters to be exact A romance is involved and does play a large role in the story however, I felt like it did not detract from the historical elements I felt the romance complemented the story well No vulgarity and no sexy details Rating Explained I really enjoyed this novel and learned a lot about Venice during 1944 I enjoyed the mystery behind Stella s job and co workers, which kept me trying to figure out who Stella could trust and who she couldn t Sometimes there were too many descriptions of the scenery concerning Venice that caused me to feel disengaged I did not specifically look forward to Luisa s chapters until the second half of the book I appreciated that most of it focused on Stella rather than Luisa The ending was fast paced and I blew through it Overall, the story really caused me to think about how we measure valor and it was a good read.Thank you to NetGalley, Avon, and Mandy Robotham for a copy Opinions are my own Ada Gobetti, a central member of the Italian resistance movement Very briefly mentioned in the novel An original vintage 1940S OLIVETTI M44 typewriter Similar to the one Stella would have used in the story. More on these topics This is a great short article that summarizes The Seven Venetian Martyrs and shows a picture of where it occurred Learn about the liberation of Venice here.Mandy Robotham s first novel was The German Midwife published in the UK under the title A Woman of War The Secret Messenger is her second novel. Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for an egalley in exchange for an honest review I really enjoyed the author s debut novel The German Midwife and this WWII dual timeline kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end In the present timeline, a grieving Luisa Belmont stumbles upon some intriguing family heirlooms buried in her recently deceased mother s attic that sets her on a journey to find out about the grandmother she so dearly loved It is a journey that will take her from London to Italy In 1943, Stella Jilani is a member of the Resistance in Venice, Italy working in an underground newspaper, meeting members of the Resistance and also gaining access to information in the Reich office where she works But with so many people watching, the stakes are high and if caught, Stella will lose her life I love my historical fiction and this book was no exception I appreciated the shift to Italy where as the author states the Resistance movement is often overlooked in favor of other countries.such as, France The only part I didn t care for was the hail mary at the end of the story where a happy ending seems to be needed Other than that, I would certainly recommend to any historical fiction fan Goodreads review published 03 12 19Publication Date 12 12 19 Set between German occupied 1940s Venice and modern day London Stella worked in an office of a German officer during the day but then worked for the Resistance at night Luisa is clearing out her mothers belongings when she discovers an old typewriter that belonged to her grandmother, Stella Stella was just one of the ma y people who put their lives at risk Shes constantly trying to keep her family safe Luisa decides to travel to Venice in search of her family history The story focuses in the 1940s There is great detail in what Venice was like during the Nztzi occupation It was interesting to find out exactly what the Resistance achieved in Venice The story is told in a dual timeline and we get a different perspective on the war Stella s story was definitely the better part of the book Luisa needed to know what had happened in her grandmother s past There were some twists as the story unfolded A very enjoyable read.I would like to thank NetGalley, Avon Books Uk and the author Mandy Robotham for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. Set between German occupied 1940s Venice and modern day London Stella worked in the office of a German officer during the day but then worked for the Resistance at night Luisa is clearing out her mother s belongings when she discovers an old typewriter that belonged to her grandmother, Stella Stella was just one of the many people who put their lives at risk She s constantly trying to keep her family safe Luisa decides to travel to Venice in search of her family history.The story focuses in the 1940s There is great detail in what Venice was like during the Nazi occupation It was interesting to find out exactly what the Resistance achieved in Venice The story is told from a dual timeline and we get a different perspective on the war Stella s story was definitely the better part of the book Luisa needed to k ow what had happened in her grandmother s past There were some twists as the story unfolded A very enjoyable read.I would like to thank NetGalley, Avon Books UK and the author Mandy Robotham for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley, Avon UK and Mandy Robotham for my copy of her new book The Secret Messenger Venice 1943, the city has been invaded by the Nazis, the people of Venice do what they can to fight back and many are involved in the resistance Woman all over Venice are helping by smuggling notes and messages around the city and right under the German s noses Hidden in prams, bags, babies nappies, shoes and in ladies underwear People living in Venice at the time are really struggling, food is scarce, everyone has lost weight, the cities population has almost doubled in size due to a influx of refugees, the water supply is low due to pipes being damaged during allied bombing raids and the only ones with full stomachs are the Germans.Stella Jilani starts work at Nazi headquarters in the office, she speaks fluent German and her job involves translating documents for the Germans Stella has a great memory, she s the perfect person to pass on vital information to the resistance, she takes regular bathroom breaks and hides notes in a secret compartment in her shoe She s a messenger for the Italian resistance, she s also involved in the publication of a local underground newspaper, she writes at night using her portable Olivetti typewriter and she doesn t get a lot of sleep People think she s a collaborator, but she and her younger brother Vito are both involved in fight to free Venice Stella increases her resistance work, the Partisans need outside information on how the war is going and soon she s smuggling vital radio parts.As she s typing away at work, she can hear the German General Breugal going off in his office, a fascist called Christian de Luca is also working for the Germans, he has to deal with the generals moods and yelling Stella becomes one of the most wanted fugitives in Venice, due her work with the publication of the underground newspaper, also her main feature in the paper is a love story it gives the locals some hope, all over Venice people are reading it and talking about it This makes General Breugal furious, he has posters printed, a reward will be given for any information that leads to the capture of the mole, he starts having random people arrested and shot to show the locals that he means business The only clue he has, is the person typing up the articles for the newspaper is using a typewriter and it drops a letter Bristol London 2017, Luisa Belmont mother has just passed away, from a short illness, her mother was rather cold and not very loving She inherits her mothers house and while going through her mothers things in the attic she finds a mysterious old typewriter, old pictures and crumbling documents Luisa starts looking into the past, she has memories of her grandparents and she knows they once lived in Venice Luisa uncovers a story about life in Venice during WW II, her grandparents secrets, it s about espionage, reprisal, revenge and most of all finding love The Secret Messenger has a dual timeline, it works well, I had no trouble following it and going between the two time frames I knew nothing about life in Venice during WW II, the beautiful city was taken over by the Nazis and by reading the book you can almost hear the jack boots marching on the cities pavers The residents of Venice during WW II, suffered years of terror, violence, fear and abuse.I enjoyed reading The Secret Messenger, I gave it four stars, I have also read the authors previous book called, The Woman Of War and I highly recommend reading both.I have shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Barnes Noble, Australian , Twitter and my blog.https karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book by Mandy Robotham which is due to be published December 12th, 2019 The following are my personal thoughts.First off, kudos to the artist for the excellent cover design.It took me awhile to make my way through this book It is the second novel that I have read by this author the first being The German Midwife I found the beginning of the story very slow moving and to make it even difficult for me, I herniated a disk in my back which caused difficulties in concentration and just generally slowed down the reading process in total.I think one of the challenging things for me was that the author basically picked Venice as her location and then went out to find a story Some of what she found was fascinating and very informative I have visited Italy and also Venice I tend to look for things related to the war when I travel but I don t remember seeing or hearing very much about it while I was there There were some things that the author wrote about that I might well look for should I make a second visit some day Another difficulty I had while reading this is that the author chose to tell the stories as if they were happening right now I always seem to struggle with books written this way and occasionally find authors veer outside of it which can cause even confusion What she had to say was educational, but I just didn t feel it very much At times I felt as if I was reading subtitles intended for those with hearing impairments This is definitely a personal issue that I have, and it might not affect other readers the same way.Having said that, I never felt that the characters were fully developed Stella talked often about how important it was not to let people know what she was doing She took risky chances and met up with an Allied pilot of Italian extraction One of the first things she did was tell her best friend, Mimi all about him To me that just didn t fit with what she was saying about the need for secrecy.There were some twists and turns in the book which I found interesting While I never felt I really got to know Luisa, the descendant of Stella Jirlani, I could understand her motivation because I share that motivation in terms of my own ancestors who served in the wars Luisa visits Venice and meets with a man based on a real life person that the author met who will help her with her research who said something that did really speak to me Whether or not they are dead and gone, history defines us It makes us what we are right now This was spot on for me.I had to laugh when Stella s father commented on Mussolini describing him as a big clown and declaring that clowns create havoc And they get away with it It seems all too current sadly.For me this book was a three star read. From the author of The German Midwife, this is a story following a Venetian woman leading a double life during a time of war.By day, Stella works as a translator in a high ranking Nazi officers office By night, she is a member of the Resistance working in the basement of a bar to churn out a forbidden, resistance newspaper Stella walks a fine line each and every day as she relays information she finds out from the Nazi communications she translates to those fighting for a pre war Venice Woven into the story is Luisa, Stellas granddaughter who is on a quest to uncover the true story of her grandparents during the war It s hard to write a review without giving away a lot of vital details so let me take a second and tell you why I struggled with it and when I reached the turning point that had me hooked The first half of the book, I felt, moved quite slowly and actually seemed to move around in a circular pattern Then I realized that in the early days of WWII, things moved slowly and taking it one day a time was the only thing to really do Once I hit the midpoint, things started to get exciting and I found myself not being able to put it down Another thing I struggled with was the language or vocabulary I could definitely tell the author was not American so I had to reread a few things to understand what I was reading I realized I was trying too hard at that and just let my eyes find the words on the page and that made a huge difference Definitely worth the read, if only to experience occupied Venice during WWII. An excellent read In 2017, Luisa Belmont who is grieving for her mother, finds an old typewriter in her mother s attic and decides to delve into past to find the story behind it and who it belongs to.Most of the story centers around the past, when we read about Stella Jilani, who is leading a double life She is a typist for the Reich office during the day and by night she is a messenger for Italian resistance.Stella traffics essential supplies across the city and convey Nazi secrets Stella also has her beloved typewriter that she uses to produce her underground newspaper.Stella s life is threatened and could be in danger when General Breugal, a German commander becomes suspicious of her activities.The story is a dual timeline of past and present which makes it very interesting So much research was done for this book It gives its readers a lot of information about Venice during 1944 At some points long description of Venice scenery caused me to feel disengaged But the book is very well written, and I felt drawn to the story of these two women and was hooked from the start.My thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for sending me an ARC copy.Review posted on my blog I thank NetGalley and Avon books for a copy of The Secret messenger by Mandy Robotham I have read her previous novel The Woman at war, so I was intrigued to see how this panned out Set in Nazi occupied Venice in the 1940 s Stella Jilani is a typist in the Reich office during the day and at night she is a messenger for the Italian resistance and risks her life crossing the city passing on secrets and other things to help win the war She is also a typist typing an underground newsletter to help win the war with her beloved typewriter 2017 Luisa Stella s granddaughter finds the typewriter in the attic and some black and white photos after the death of mother that intrigues Luisa to find out Although I enjoyed this book from Mandy Robotham and I thought that this was beautifully written and a great story, I thought that the descriptions of the places in Venice just went on far too long and unnecessary and I started skimming paragraphs to the important parts of the story 3.5 stars from me. London 2017 Luisa Belmont s mother just died She and her mother were never close, but Luisa feels the loss deeply When she discovers a box in her mother s attic containing photos and an old typewriter, she s determined to discover her family history Venice 1943 During the day Stella Jilani works as a translator and typist for the Reich At night she delivers messages for the Resistance and works at an underground newspaper Each and every day she puts her life on the line to preserve the freedom of her beloved city and it s people.So much WWII historical fiction focuses on Germany, England and France, it was interesting to read of the perils of the Italian people I also enjoyed the focus on the role women played in the war effort and the courage they exemplified The description of Venice made me want to visit Venice and walk the cobbled streets and navigate the waterways Intriguing and fascinating.4.5 stars.
- 400 pages
- The Secret Messenger
- Mandy Robotham
- 15 October 2019 Mandy Robotham