Readers' Favorite

December 27, 2022

The Secret Society of Salzburg by Renee Ryan ~ a Review

by  Susan Roberts

A gripping and heart-wrenching story of two very different women united to bring light to the darkest days of World War II.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical fiction novel The Secret Society of Salzburg by Renee Ryan
December 2022; Love Inspired Trade; 978-1335427564
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); historical fiction

This powerful new historical fiction novel is a close look at female friendships and bravery during WWII.
Even though the friendship of the two main characters is so important, the undercover work that they do to rescue Jewish people from Austria keeps their life in constant danger.

Hattie and Vera are sisters who live in a small flat in London and have jobs as civil servants.  For her entire life, Hattie dreamed of becoming an artist but her goals were crushed by harsh criticism from a school professor.  A  German lecturer came to give a talk on music and as part of her lecture, she played an opera for the group.  Hattie and Vera had never heard opera before and the music they heard that day touched their souls.  It gave Hattie the mental push she needed to create beautiful and emotional paintings.  She gave one of her drawings to a world-famous opera singer - Elsa and they become friends.  When Hattie and Vera decide to save their money to attend the Salzburg music festival to hear Elsa, the friendship between the three grows.  They work together to get Elsa's aunt out of Germany before she is arrested for being Jewish. Hattie and Vera were appalled at the treatment of two Jewish people on the train and vowed to do what they could to help people. After their continued success in helping people escape,  the two best friends continued meeting in different spots in Europe to help get many Jewish people out of Nazi territory.  They used Elsa's music tours and Hattie's love for opera to plan their meetings.  Vera realized the danger of what they were doing and decided to no longer be a part of the clandestine secret society.  Even though Elsa has become Hitler's favorite opera singer, she is in constant danger of being discovered.  As their lives hang in the balance, both women decide to continue their escape work.  Will they be able to continue to help other people or are people suspicious and willing to betray them to the Nazis?  

It's apparent that the author did extensive research and it shows in every page.  The story is loosely based on the Cook sisters, two English sisters who rescued 29 Jews from Germany during the 1930s.  Be sure to read the Author's Notes to get more information on the real people that this story is based on.  Overall, this is a story about bravery and resilience during a dark time in history.  Despite the turmoil in this world, these three friends kept creating beautiful art that continued to shine in the midst of the horrors of the war.

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us. Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment