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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Secretary by Catherine Hokin

Germany 1940. Magda is in a very high position as Secretary to Himmler. She appears to her fellow citizens as a traitor, despicable and despised but she has by sheer grit come to this position to get information and help her fellow citizens. Fast forward forty years and her grand daughter is now in East Berlin acting in the same manner as her grandmother and creating dissension amongst the East German police, and trying to protect her fellow countrymen. Magda despite her connections cannot save Nina and Nina is imprisoned. Nina trying to trace her family's enigmatic history stumbles upon the Tower House, from a drawing found in her grandmother's cupboard and the whole story of Magda's past trickles out. The house was originally owned by Jews, requisitioned by Himmler and given to Magda for "good behavior". Magda hated it, did not want to have anything to do with it and did not talk about it to her family. The story with this setting was emotional and tense. It also showed how for the spirit of survival even family can split, and for the same spirit of survival it can sacrifice everything for the sake of another. The story is sad because for me the whole loss of actually life to the full is deprived in situations like this, people make do, sacrifice, live on the bare minimum for the sake of loyalty to ties of family, politics and in the case of nazis, even to their own beliefs in their systems. The racism that was so alive and kicking in that day is sadly evident today as well in other forms. The story was an eye opener. I had a problem with posting and did the review only on Goodreads as the reviews were piling up. This book was kindly sent to me by Bookouture for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.


  1. This one sounds like a tough read but, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. This does sound like a tough read, and a sad one, too.