Secrets She Kept  -     By: Cathy Gohlke
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Secrets She Kept

Tyndale House / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

Hannah Sterling had no idea that her mother, Lieselotte, had carried painful secrets. In 1939, Lieselotte's father was rising in the Nazi party and wanted a proper husband for his daughter. But Lieselotte had fallen in love with Lukas, a resister. When Hannah travels to Germany, can she atone for her family's troubling past---and find healing? 384 pages, softcover from Tyndale.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 X 0.75 (inches)
ISBN: 1496400801
ISBN-13: 9781496400802

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Publisher's Description

2016 Christy Award Winner! (Historical novel category)
2016 Carol Award Winner! (Historical category)

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.

Editorial Reviews

In a small North Carolina mountain town in the early 1970s, Hannah Sterling struggles with questions of forgiveness after her mother’s death. Taking leave from her job as a high school teacher, Hannah rummages through her emotionally distant mother’s old home, only to find letters connecting her grandfather to the Nazi party. Hannah embarks on a journey through Germany to uncover the secrets of her family’s past, a task her octogenarian grandfather and his close associate are only too eager to block. Told from both Hannah’s viewpoint and that of her mother as a young woman, this well-researched epic depicts life under the Nazi regime with passionate attention. While the Sterling family story serves as a warning about digging into the past, it is also a touching example of the healing power of forgiveness and the rejuvenating power of faith.

Product Reviews

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Displaying items 1-5 of 32
Page 1 of 7 12345 Next |Last
  1. Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautifully told
    July 13, 2016
    Cheryl
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    Secrets She Kept, by Cathy Gohlke, tells two-fold stories that intertwine mystery, history, and so much more. Hannah Sterling examines the past, to learn more about Lieselotte, her mother, after her death. She mourns what never was, more than what she had lost. In her passionate quest, Hannah finds much more than imaginable when she uncovers secrets long buried in the past.

    Theres no wonder that this won the 2016 Christy Award. Its a well-written, heart-tugging, memorable read. The cover caught my eye, the narratives gripped my interest, and the story touched my soul.

    Stories that center on mother and daughter relationships always draw me in. I love the special dynamic in this type of relationship. Whether strained, broken, or on the right path, mothers and daughters own a special bond that is nearly indescribable. Dual-time period stories also captivate me, especially when the WWII era is included. With all that said, its no wonder I was easily engrossed in this book.

    I ripped a sheet of notebook paper from my school binder and scribbled at the top: Understanding Mama. Moving Forward. These two things encompassed my goal. Everything else fell in between. ~Quote from Secrets She Kept

    The author does a fabulous job of seamlessly weaving the old (1940s) and more recent (1970s) together. The transitions in chapters are smooth and both the womens stories are compelling and memorable. I was especially rapt by Lieselottes account.

    Through this story, filled with suspense, love, historical atrocities, and faith, I experienced a long list of emotions. I appreciate the research and dedication the author infused in this book, and the way she delivered its underlying message.

    Cover: Love it

    Title: Love it

    Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

    Pages: 416

    Pace: Steady

    First Line: A summons to the principals office had the same effect on me at twenty-seven as it did when I was seven, and seventeen.

    I received a review copy from TBCN.
  2. Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Incredible Story!
    May 18, 2016
    eLynda
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Some books I read for pure enjoyment, some for a laugh or a sigh-worthy romance; I will pick up non-fiction on occasion because I want to know more about a particular subject or time period. I have read a lot about WWII, both fiction and straight history, so I wanted to see how the author would approach this story about wartime choices and how a family might change, given those decisions. But I was completely unprepared for this incredibly powerful and moving story of how our choices shape us into the people we are and how it affects the people around us, even generations later. It is an absolutely stunning piece of fiction with very realistic characters, situations, and even applications for those reading the book.

    This is a time-slip novel, where two separate timelines told by different people form a complete story told together. In this case, the reader follows mother Liselotte in WWII Germany and daughter Hannah in 1970s U. S., and later in Germany as she tries to find out who her mother was and what shaped who she became. The nice thing about this type of novel is that we get to know the full story from multiple perspectives, but we are also limited to what the character telling us knows. It makes for a mysterious and compelling story.

    But it is a story for adultsdue to the subject matter that pulls few punches, while I highly recommend this novel, I caution it is not for children or any but the most mature of older teens. The last third of this book is horrific and excruciating, in both time periods. I often wondered how much more the characters could take, how much more I as the reader could endureI found I was completely unprepared for the direction this story took. But then as if speaking directly to me, one of the characters said that hearing of the atrocities was nothing compared with the living of them.

    In a book about wartime Germany, I didnt expect a happy ending exactly, but along with Hannah, I was shocked at the way different scenes played out. It is realism taken to another level. I didnt have to suspend disbelief in this novel, I could see everything happening just as it was written on the page even though it wasnt how I had envisioned it myself. There are absolutely no easy answers in this novel. Questions about what was done and whether it was right, about who survived and why, even some motivations remain a mystery, though other characters guess at it a few times.

    In stark ways, the reader sees how painting an entire group of people with the same brush can be extraordinarily dangerous, whether it is the persecution of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany or the prejudice against anyone with a Germanic accent in post-war America. And the lessons in this book arent just for the charactersI defy anyone who reads it to be the same person they were before reading it. This powerful novel changed how I look at my own parents, my children, my husband, my home and even the flawed but free country I live in.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for this honest review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
  3. Illinois
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Secrets She Kept
    May 17, 2016
    jacquiR
    Illinois
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke is an amazingly inspirational story. The plot captivates attention from the first chapter. The stories of Hannah Sterling (1970s) and her mother, Lieselotte Sommer (late 1930s) alternately unfold to the reader throughout the book. Their mother/daughter relationship had always been strained and difficult, and with her mothers death, Hannah longs to solve the mystery of her mother and to find out why her parents relationship was less than loving. Just at the time that Hannah is persuaded to take time off from teaching to work through her grief, she is shocked to find out that her maternal grandfather is still alive in Germany.

    Hannah travels to Berlin to meet her grandfather who has secrets of his own concerning the war. What she learns shakes her to the core. Her journey to discover her mothers past reveals a far different woman than she knew as her mother. She also learns the truth about her own father and his family. She finds answers to the questions that she has had all of her life.

    Through a new German friend she receives assistance to put together the pieces in the puzzle of her mothers life and to somehow continue on her own path. Through this friend she encounters Corrie ten Boom whose life in Christ healed her past and enabled her to forgive the atrocities of the Holocaust. This touching story presents the message of atonement and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book that will enlighten and uplift as well as intrigue the reader. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
  4. Syracuse NY
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Hardest of All - Forgiveness
    March 30, 2016
    MaureenT
    Syracuse NY
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What an emotional book, from beginning to end, and the worst of it, is that it could all be true. What a horrible time for mankind, and although part of the book takes place in the 1970s, we spend a lot of time in Hitlers Germany.

    When the book opens you never expect all that is about to happen, and Hannahs Aunt is really not forth coming with any information. So when she opens a strong box and finds letters from Germany, she is about to open a way to family, and horror.

    I will tell you that once I started reading this, I could not put it down, it is an amazing story, and one everyone needs to remember. Hannahs worlds are about to collide in answering a lot of questions about her parents, and why Lieselotte, her mother, was rather distant with her. I would never imagine!

    With all the secrets, that make her sick, she has to deal with the hardest of all, Forgiveness. I loved the author putting one of my most admired woman in this story, and knew that parts of this is really a true story, so in the end this is fiction based on fact.

    How did people fall under the spell of that monster, and yet it happens as history starts to repeat itself, and in the name of religion.

    A must read, and a story that will linger with you for a long time.

    I received this book through Net Galley and Tyndale House Publisher, and was not required to give a positive review.
  5. Illinois
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Story
    March 16, 2016
    CathyRN
    Illinois
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I could not put this book down once I started reading it! The story is about 2 women, Hannah and her mother Lisolette. Hannah and her mother had a strained relationship, and after her death Hannah yearns to learn about her mother's past to help her get to know her mother and finally grieve her death. Her mother survived WW 2 and as Hannah goes to Germany to learn about her mother and her mother's family, many secrets are revealed. Spellbinding story, which also shows the importance of forgiveness.
Displaying items 1-5 of 32
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