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Monday, November 16, 2015

Secrets She Kept

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Saving Amelie, Band of Sisters, Promise Me This, William Henry Is A Fine Name and I Have Seen him in the Watchfires.

Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children's and education ministries.  When not traipsing the hills and dales of hisoric sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, make their home in northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and granddaughter.

You can connect with Cathy through her website found at

Secrets a mother could never share...consequences a daughter could not redeem.

All her life, Hannah Sterling yearned for a closer relationship with her estranged mother.  But when death closes that door, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of Lieselotte's past and is shocked to discover she has a grandfather still living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, as Hitler begins his march through Europe, Lieselotte's father ascends the Nazi ranks.  A proper marriage for his only daughter could advance his career, but Lieselotte is in love, and her beloved, who secretly works against the Reich, is far from an ideal match.  Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation, or how their actions would echo through generations.

Both Hannah and Lieselotte's stories unfold as Hannah travels to Berlin to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartime 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.

My Thoughts:
Cathy has an exceptional gift of having the past and present collide in her novels.  Secrets She Kept is no exception.  Cathy's research of the Holocaust is exhaustive and her themes of forgiveness, redemption and hope shine brilliantly in Hannah's and Lieselotte's stories.  Even though the story switches back and forth between the past (Lieselotte) and the present (Hannah), Cathy's writing brings the two together with a smooth thread of history and application to bring about change.  I loved that Cathy included a cameo appearance by Corrie Ten Boom.
"In darkness God's truth shines most clear."  Corrie Ten Boom
This novel is emotionally gripping and one that has remained with me even though I read it months ago.  Cathy wastes no time providing the conflict and tension that is played out in Hannah's story. What Hannah learns is a lesson for us all.
"Writing Secrets She Kept challenged me to examine what it means to truly forgive.  I've learned that withholding forgiveness is tantamount to carrying a load of boulders on our back, or shackling our feet with balls and chains.  Every day is exhausting, every breath a chore.  Release - forgiving or being forgiven - can't be exacted or even bought.  It's divine.  That's what I learned from Corrie Ten Boom as she forgave the guard from Ravensbruck.  She didn't do it -couldn't do it -alone.  She surrendered her own sin and inabilities to Christ and asked that He do it through her."  Cathy Gohlke in her Facebook post from  September 29th
Secrets She Kept now has a prominent place on this reader's keeper shelf.  Any time invested in reading this offering by Cathy Gohlke will be time well spent and quite possibly a personally transforming experience.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of giving my honest review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,