The Secret Keeper

Book Review

The Secret Keeper by Genevieve Graham
Historical Fiction | WWII

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reader’s Thoughts:

The Secret Keeper is the newest novel from bestselling author, Genevieve Graham, and is another fantastic read for fans of historical fiction and Canadian history alike!

This book is told from the perspectives of two wildly different twin sisters, during WWII, who each decide to enlist and assist in the war work. Dash (Margaret) enlists in the WRENS as a mechanic and eventually ends up flying as a pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary in Britain, while Dot’s natural inclination toward codes and puzzles lands her a covert position at a top-secret spy school, Camp X. Inspired by real-life stories of women in the war, Graham’s novel highlights courage, strength, and the bonds of sisterhood.

What I love about Graham’s work is that it so often features aspects of Canadian history that aren’t commonly explored within this genre. This adds something fresh and new to shelves already saturated with WWII-set novels. (Check out my review for Graham’s previous novel, Bluebird, here.) In The Secret Keeper we see these little-known Canadian historical elements come into play with the Camp X setting and Hydra — a compelling and fascinating bit of history that I could not get enough of! I was more familiar with female ATA pilots but hadn’t heard of Elsie MacGill — a trailblazing engineer and aircraft designer — and I definitely found myself down rabbit trails with this book! I loved what all of this brought to the novel and appreciated the author’s detailed research and her clear passion for sharing Canadian history with readers.

The main characters in this novel are twin sisters with very different personalities and ambitions. With the nicknames “Dot” and “Dash,” it took me a bit to remember who was who but ultimately, I loved this play on Morse code (a key part of the story!) Their names were intricately tied to both their personalities and overall plot points, and I thought this was very smart. Each storyline tackled a unique element of the war work that women were involved in, and had strong pacing, well-rounded characters, and compelling plot points.

There were also some fun design choices within the book — particularly involving the chapter headings. Dash’s chapters had a little plane emblem at the beginning and Dot’s had morse code. These are details that really personalize a book, setting it apart from others in the genre, and I loved this fun nod to the characters right from the get-go. I also love when books use a separate font for handwritten letters — I think that’s another great design choice and we got to see that here in this novel. However, the font used for these letters was quite difficult to read in my advance copy, which hopefully will be corrected for the final version.

The Secret Keeper is another really enjoyable read from Genevieve Graham. I think historical fiction is supposed to push and encourage you to learn more about a specific subject, and this book does that. For fans of WWII novels, I highly recommend giving this author a read, and adding this book to your TBR!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Recommended for:

Fans of historical fiction and Canadian history

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Advance copy of the book provided courtesy of the publisher, Simon and Schuster Canada. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

(From the publisher) Twin sisters Dot and Dash Wilson share many things, and while they are practically inseparable, they are nothing alike. Dot is fascinated by books, puzzles, and Morse code, a language taught to both girls by their father, a WWI veteran. Dash’s days are filled with fixing engines, dancing with friends, and dreaming of flying airplanes. Almost always at their side is their best friend Gus—until war breaks out and he enlists in the army, deploying to an unknown front.

Determined to do their duty, both girls join the WRENS, Dash as a mechanic and Dot as a typist. Before long, Dot’s fixation on patterns and numbers takes her from HMCS Coverdale , a covert listening and codebreaking station working with Bletchley Park in England, to Camp X, a top-secret spy school. But when personal tragedy strikes the family, Dot’s oath of secrecy causes a rift between the sisters.

Eager to leave her pain behind, Dash jumps at the opportunity to train as a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, where she risks her life to ferry aircraft and troops across the battlefields of Europe. Meanwhile Dot is drawn into the Allies’ preparations for D-Day. But Dot’s loyalties are put to the test once more when someone close to her goes missing in Nazi-occupied territory. With everyone’s eyes on Operation Overlord, Dot must use every skill at her disposal to save those she loves before it’s too late.

Inspired by the real-life stories of women in World War II, The Secret Keeper is an extraordinary novel about the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood and the light of courage during the darkest of nights.

Leave a Reply