The Secret by Katharine Johnson ** Blog Tour Review & Giveaway**

I've a special book to talk about today- The Secret by Katharine Johnson. It is a follow up to The Silence but can be absolutely read as a standalone book.  There is also a great Giveaway for you. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post.

Love, Lies, and Betrayal in Wartime Italy.

Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences.

Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War, friendship is tested, and loyalties are divided until a chance encounter changes everything.

Their lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in their Tuscan mountain village, while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.

But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people's lives take on a new purpose, Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later, a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds among the next generation.

My Thoughts

I was completely hooked into this novel within the first few pages. I have not read The Silence but found that that did not matter one jot. Set in Italy, it skilfully shows how lies and secrets have been woven through the generations and can snowball. I particularly enjoyed the parts of the story which remember Italy during the Second World War with Martina and Irena's stories. At times, you feel that you are standing in the village square, taking in all the sights and sounds before you. It is interesting to see how the village community has survived over the decades. 

    I found Irena's memories of past years to be a great technique for giving you her perspective and for revealing secrets from the past. Falling into dementia, she is giving her son tapes of her remembrances whilst she still can. It does mean that for a time, there is a slight doubt in your mind as to how reliable she is. 

    This is a multi-layered narrative with each character discovering truths about the past. It covers decades from the 1940's through to 2018. In addition to the plot, I loved the social history of the Second World War. The author did not shy away from showing you the brutality which some faced in Italy as the nation was split apart.

In short: An engrossing and cleverly written family drama.

About the Author


Katharine Johnson likes writing about ordinary people who through a character flaw or bad decision find themselves in extraordinary situations. She’s a journalist living in Berkshire, England with her family and springy spaniel. When she’s not writing you’ll find her exploring cities, visiting old houses, playing netball, eating cake or restoring her house in Italy which is nothing like Villa Leonida.

You can follow Katharine here: Facebook  |  Twitter   |  Website

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Katharine, Crooked Cats Books and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources  for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.  

Follow the rest of the tour!

Giveaway (UK only)

Win 1 x Signed copy of The Secret and 1 x Signed Copy of The Silence (UK Only). To enter, just follow the link below and good luck!

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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