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The Secrets We Left Behind

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How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldie How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are shot dead by the advancing Germans. Beneath the pile of bodies two men survive, crawling to the safety of a nearby farmhouse, where sisters Elise and Adelaide risk their lives to take them in. When Cate, too, arrives at their door with her injured soldier, the pressure mounts. The sisters are risking everything to keep their visitors safe. But with the Nazis coming ever closer and relationships in the farmhouse intensifying, they must all question the sacrifices they are willing to make for the lives of others. How far will they go for family, friendship, and love?


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How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldie How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are shot dead by the advancing Germans. Beneath the pile of bodies two men survive, crawling to the safety of a nearby farmhouse, where sisters Elise and Adelaide risk their lives to take them in. When Cate, too, arrives at their door with her injured soldier, the pressure mounts. The sisters are risking everything to keep their visitors safe. But with the Nazis coming ever closer and relationships in the farmhouse intensifying, they must all question the sacrifices they are willing to make for the lives of others. How far will they go for family, friendship, and love?

30 review for The Secrets We Left Behind

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    A powerful, and very emotional story of survival during World War II This is my first book by this author and I was blown away by her writing! She wrote this novel during Covid19 lockdown in New Zealand. Wow, something wonderful that has come out of lockdown! This is basically the story of three very strong women. One is a British nurse who together with a wounded soldier are left behind in Dunkirk and must find their way to freedom. The other is a French woman who lives with her younger sister in A powerful, and very emotional story of survival during World War II This is my first book by this author and I was blown away by her writing! She wrote this novel during Covid19 lockdown in New Zealand. Wow, something wonderful that has come out of lockdown! This is basically the story of three very strong women. One is a British nurse who together with a wounded soldier are left behind in Dunkirk and must find their way to freedom. The other is a French woman who lives with her younger sister in a small village in France. They witness a massacre of British soldiers right in front of their house. They risk their lives helping two surviving soldiers. The stories of these three women come together. I could not stop turning the pages fast enough. I was that captivated with the story. This is hands down my favourite (so far) Historical Fiction book that I've read this year. A moving and compelling story that made me cry. I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK, and Lake Union Publishing for kindly granting me access to this Advance Reader Copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I was able to read The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya M. Lane on kindle unlimited with audible narration by Elizabeth Knowelden. This was the first book I have read by Soraya M. Lane and I have to say that I was very impressed with both her writing and her research. Author Soraya M. Lane found her inspiration for writing her newest novel, The Secrets We Left Behind, from the movie Dunkirk. She became curious about the roles women played during the evacuation of Dunkirk. Not a lot had been writ I was able to read The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya M. Lane on kindle unlimited with audible narration by Elizabeth Knowelden. This was the first book I have read by Soraya M. Lane and I have to say that I was very impressed with both her writing and her research. Author Soraya M. Lane found her inspiration for writing her newest novel, The Secrets We Left Behind, from the movie Dunkirk. She became curious about the roles women played during the evacuation of Dunkirk. Not a lot had been written about women during this historic event. She also used the massacre at Le Paradis where 97 English soldiers of The Royal Norfolk Regiment were horrifically murdered as the soldiers attempted to surrender. There were two soldiers who actually survived the massacre by some miracle. These two soldiers had hidden beneath the bodies of their dead fellow soldiers and then found their way to a farmhouse where they found safety. These historic occurrences proved to be the catalyst for Soraya M. Lane’s heart wrenching yet uplifting novel, The Secrets We Left Behind. Cate and her best friend Lilly found themselves in occupied France in 1940 as trained nurses. The evacuation of Dunkirk was already underway. The German army and the Nazis were approaching quicker than anyone had anticipated. The British were evacuating most of their doctors, orderlies and some nurses from their field hospitals. Some nurses were required to remain. They would be needed to care for the patients that could not be moved for evacuation and for the new patients that would surely arrive after sustaining injuries from the on going battles. Lilly was chosen as one of the nurses to evacuate. She would head towards the beach at Dunkirk and hopefully get on one of the boats that would transport them back to England. Cate had chosen a short straw and therefore was one of the nurses that would remain behind to care for the injured. Recently, Cate had learned that her fiancé, Lilly’s brother, was missing in action. Without any planned intentions, Cate had taken a liking to Jack, one of her patients. There was something about him that drew her to him. It was not surprising then that Cate and Jack decided to escape together and flee from the hospital before the Nazis arrived. They knew their journey to find safety would be dangerous and hard. The alternative of being taken as a prisoner of war by the Nazis seemed worse. More than fifty miles away, the soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment knew that they were no match for the Germans so they raised their white flags with intentions of surrendering. In a farmhouse close by, French sisters, Elise and Adelaide, witnessed the entire horrific scene from their window. Both sisters could not believe that they had just witnessed a massacre. They had seen the British soldiers raise their white flags. The Germans just killed an entire regiment without hesitation or remorse. 97 soldiers died that day in what would later be named the massacre of Le Paradis. Two soldiers hid beneath the bodies of their dead buddies and when they were sure the Germans were gone, they made their way to the farmhouse to seek medical help and safety. After some back and forth between the sisters Adelaide convinced her sister Elise to allow the two soldiers into their home despite the risk they were putting themselves in. Cate and Jack also found their way to Elise and Adelaide’s farmhouse but not before Cate found herself face to face with a Nazi officer. Forced to think quickly, Cate invented a story about how she was searching for her little dog who had gotten away from her. She forced herself to sound calm and convincing. Hopefully, the prying Nazi officer had been convinced by Cate’s story. He insisted on walking her back home. Luckily for Cate, Adelaide let her into the farmhouse and collaborated her story and claimed Cate as her cousin. Adelaide had a little dog and she was holding him when she came to Cate’s rescue. The Nazi officer was deeply attracted to Adelaide. He became more focused on Adelaide than Cate’s fictitious story. After the Nazi was gone, Cate and Elise went back to where Jack remained hiding to bring him to the farmhouse as well. The two sisters risked a lot to be harboring British soldiers in their home. What resulted was the beginning of several beautiful and meaningful friendships as these strangers found themselves thrown together in the most dire of circumstances. The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya M. Lane was about sisterly love, family, friendships, bravery, trust, hope, perseverance and loyalty. It was told through the voices of three strong, resilient, selfless, intelligent and brave young women whose paths intersected with each other. It was beautifully written and touched all my emotions. I loved the ending. As I previously mentioned, this was the first book I have read by this author but I plan to read some of her prior books and look forward to see what she writes next. This was an excellent historical fiction novel with strong female characters. I highly recommend this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    France, 1940. Planes are flying overhead, they can hear gun fire and the sound of running men and they know Germans are getting closer. The British army are retreating, the French army are trying to hold the Germans off as long as possible and they desperately need to get to Dunkirk. The British medial staff at the field hospital in a French chateau draw straws to decide who stays behind with the patients and who goes with the walking wounded to the beach. Nurse Cate Alexander draws a short stra France, 1940. Planes are flying overhead, they can hear gun fire and the sound of running men and they know Germans are getting closer. The British army are retreating, the French army are trying to hold the Germans off as long as possible and they desperately need to get to Dunkirk. The British medial staff at the field hospital in a French chateau draw straws to decide who stays behind with the patients and who goes with the walking wounded to the beach. Nurse Cate Alexander draws a short straw, she stays behind, and when the Germans arrive Cate climbs out of a window with recovering surgical patient Jack. Le Paradis is fifty miles away from the chateau, a hundred soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are cut off and stranded in a barn. They decide they have no option but to surrender and following the orders of Commander Wolfgang Schmidt and the British soldiers are gunned down. Lying beneath the pile of their fallen comrades are Peter and Harry, wounded they crawl to a nearby farmhouse, sisters Elsie and Adelaide DuPont rescue them. Jack decided he and Cate should try to walk to Le Paradis and by chance they also end up staying at the farm with the sisters. With three injured British soldiers and a nurse staying with them the DuPont sisters are in danger and it gets worse when Commander Schmidt becomes interested in Adelaide and what will they do? Three incredibly brave and strong women all took huge risks, they had to trust in each other, and they became friends and one of them made the ultimate sacrifice. The Secrets We Left Behind is based on true facts about the Royal Norfolk Regiment, the British armies retreat from the beaches of Dunkirk and it’s a cracking story. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, Soraya M. Lane never disappoints, brilliant book and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    A beautifully written story about love and friendship and the strength and courage shown when it is needed in hard times, it is WW11 in France, Dunkirk and Nurse Cate is left behind when the evacuation happens, there is no way she is going to be taken by the Nazis and she runs with a patient, Jack. Le Paradis is fifty miles away and a regiment of British soldiers are doing their best to hold of the Nazis, all but two lose their lives and crawl to a farmhouse and seek help from sisters Elise and A A beautifully written story about love and friendship and the strength and courage shown when it is needed in hard times, it is WW11 in France, Dunkirk and Nurse Cate is left behind when the evacuation happens, there is no way she is going to be taken by the Nazis and she runs with a patient, Jack. Le Paradis is fifty miles away and a regiment of British soldiers are doing their best to hold of the Nazis, all but two lose their lives and crawl to a farmhouse and seek help from sisters Elise and Adelaide. Harry and Peter are both injured and the woman do what they can to help when Cate arrives on their doorstep and her soldier, together the three woman risk their lives to save the men against odds with the Germans taking over France. The struggle is hard especially when Adelaide helps Peter and now has the interest of the local German commander Wolfgang Schmidt, tensions are mounting with danger so close will Elise be able to get Harry, Jack and Cate back to England, how much are they prepared to sacrifice for the lives of people who have come to mean so much to them? I loved this story Soraya Lane has never disappointed me and this one is a fabulous story filled with heart-break, love, resilience, strength and courage, it is an emotional journey and there were tears, lots of them but there was cheering as well, but the ending is just so beautiful and yes more tears but tears of joy. This is a story that I do highly recommend Cate, Elise Adelaide are amazing woman and Harry and Jack amazing men and very worth getting to Know. My thanks to the author and Netgalley for my copy to read and review

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda Zagon

    Soraya M. Lane, the author of “The Secrets We Left Behind” has written a captivating, intriguing, and intense novel. The genre for this novel is historical fiction. The author has based many true facts in this amazing novel. The timeline for this story is 1940- 1946 and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The location for this story is set in France. The setting is during World War Two in France, as the Germans are advancing, and the British are retreating. The author Soraya M. Lane, the author of “The Secrets We Left Behind” has written a captivating, intriguing, and intense novel. The genre for this novel is historical fiction. The author has based many true facts in this amazing novel. The timeline for this story is 1940- 1946 and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events. The location for this story is set in France. The setting is during World War Two in France, as the Germans are advancing, and the British are retreating. The author describes her dramatic characters as complex and complicated. Some are good and some are evil. Some are brave and courageous. This is a memorable and thought-provoking novel of the tragedies of war, that I would highly recommend to other readers. As the Germans approach the hospital in France, where the British doctors and nurses draw straws to see who will be able to leave and who will be left behind to take care of the wounded and sick soldiers. One nurse stays behind and manages to get a wounded soldier out of the hospital, and hide. Another nurse “borrows” an ambulance to try to help remove the wounded patients. Not far away, many British soldiers that are in a barn lift a white flag to surrender, and as they are leaving the barn in an orderly manner, they are shot to death by the Germans. In a house nearby, two sisters looking out the window look in horror as this happens. The sisters answer the knocks to their door, to find two injured British soldiers, and they take them in. Not long after, the nurse and patient find themselves at the same house. The head Gestapo Commander has an attraction for one of the sisters, and there is constant danger and tension for the hidden English soldiers and nurse. The author discusses the importance of friendship, loyalty, communication, peace, and hope.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    The Secrets We Left Behind is a highly compelling story, one that I could simply not put down once I started reading! I was instantly invested in the characters of this story, brave women and men living in a constant state of fear and uncertainty as the Nazis take control of France in the spring of 1940. Cate is a British nurse who is left behind at an evacuation hospital as the British are being rescued from Dunkirk, escaping the Nazis with a critically wounded soldier. Elise and Adelaide are F The Secrets We Left Behind is a highly compelling story, one that I could simply not put down once I started reading! I was instantly invested in the characters of this story, brave women and men living in a constant state of fear and uncertainty as the Nazis take control of France in the spring of 1940. Cate is a British nurse who is left behind at an evacuation hospital as the British are being rescued from Dunkirk, escaping the Nazis with a critically wounded soldier. Elise and Adelaide are French sisters who suddenly find themselves providing refuge to wounded British soldiers of their own, even as the Nazis are taking over their town, placing themselves in grave danger. It was fascinating to read the story of Dunkirk, not from the point of view of those who were rescued, but by those who were left behind, at the mercy of the Nazis. The author sometimes paints a very graphic picture of the horrors that are encountered at this time, but that is alleviated by the humanity shown by the sisters, by the courage of Cate, and the determination of them all to survive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya Lane is an excellent WWII-era historical fiction that really kept me on the edge of my seat...and was well worth it! I have been a huge fan of Ms. Lane for quite some time and have read ALL of her books. So, of course I had to read her newest addition. I loved this! The wonderful cast of well-developed, complex characters that are brought together through different, but yet similar, circumstances and how this group is thrown into the middle of such dire circum The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya Lane is an excellent WWII-era historical fiction that really kept me on the edge of my seat...and was well worth it! I have been a huge fan of Ms. Lane for quite some time and have read ALL of her books. So, of course I had to read her newest addition. I loved this! The wonderful cast of well-developed, complex characters that are brought together through different, but yet similar, circumstances and how this group is thrown into the middle of such dire circumstances...wow. This takes place around occupied France during WWII, and also involves Dunkirk. It was fascinating to read the stories of Cate and sisters Adelaide and Elise. Adding a strong peripheral cast of characters, these three women exhibit what it means to be brave, strong, intelligent, and selfless in a time of such fear, strife, and unrest. My emotions went through the full gambit: happiness, cheering, suspense, stress, heartbreak, and through it all I just had to go on to the next page to see just how it would end up. A wonderful ending that I truly enjoyed, and just solidifies my admiration for one of my favorite authors. Excellent! 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Lake Union Publishing for this awesome arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I have been a fan of Soraya Lane for over 10 years and each book gets better, this being her best absolutely! I love historical fiction and this is one of the best I’ve read recently. I love multiple pov books and this one is told through the eyes of Cate, Elise, and Adelaide. Strong women who have heartbreaking, romantic and suspenseful stories to tell. I’d recommend picking this one up if you enjoy WWII fiction, it’s out now! Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for my advanced ebook c I have been a fan of Soraya Lane for over 10 years and each book gets better, this being her best absolutely! I love historical fiction and this is one of the best I’ve read recently. I love multiple pov books and this one is told through the eyes of Cate, Elise, and Adelaide. Strong women who have heartbreaking, romantic and suspenseful stories to tell. I’d recommend picking this one up if you enjoy WWII fiction, it’s out now! Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for my advanced ebook copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    Special thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review I don't know if I can find the words to say how much I truly loved this, but I'm going to try. This had a bit of an ensemble cast, but each character was vital to the way the story ended. While I found Addy to be way too naive and Elise to be too wishy washy in the way she dealt with Addy's naive feelings and actions, I loved them just as much as I loved Cate, Jack, and Harry. I found myself really surprised Special thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review I don't know if I can find the words to say how much I truly loved this, but I'm going to try. This had a bit of an ensemble cast, but each character was vital to the way the story ended. While I found Addy to be way too naive and Elise to be too wishy washy in the way she dealt with Addy's naive feelings and actions, I loved them just as much as I loved Cate, Jack, and Harry. I found myself really surprised by Harry's (and Peter, though he only makes a small appearance) introduction to the story. I had never heard of the Le Paradis massacre before, so I though it was just a really believable piece of fiction for how awful the Nazis truly were. And then I thought Lily's story with her encounter with an SS officer was too grand to be true, but that was also a false assumption. The author's note was really informative, and I really appreciate the research that went into this story. I love historical fiction, but I love it even more when it caters to actual true events (not just WWII in general, but specific events such as the massacre and Lily's story). I love a historical fiction novel that can teach me something new about the history I love and give me new things to research and further learn about.

  10. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    It’s May 1940 and you are working as a nurse for the Royal Army Medical Corps. The army has set up a clearance hospital in a chateau in Dunkirk. You are aware that the Germans are closing in. but rest in the fact that there’s a huge red silk cross on the front lawn. It’s not until the Captain pulls the staff together to relay the frightful news that you finally realize the situation really is dire. You are being asked to draw straws, yes you read that properly, because somebody has to stay behin It’s May 1940 and you are working as a nurse for the Royal Army Medical Corps. The army has set up a clearance hospital in a chateau in Dunkirk. You are aware that the Germans are closing in. but rest in the fact that there’s a huge red silk cross on the front lawn. It’s not until the Captain pulls the staff together to relay the frightful news that you finally realize the situation really is dire. You are being asked to draw straws, yes you read that properly, because somebody has to stay behind to look after the huge influx of soldier patients who can’t be evacuated. You watch your colleagues pull straws and gasp as you know that the two who draw short straws will most likely be taken prisoners of war by the Nazis and destined to live behind wire until they are liberated. It’s your turn…you pull….it’s a short straw. You are being left behind. Deserted. With men who can’t walk. Can’t help. True story. Author Soraya Lane instantly pulls you into “The Secrets We Left Behind” and you feel like you are part of the action. My heart was pumping and I had no idea which direction the story was going to go. What I love about her writing is that she appeals to all the senses; it enables readers to place themselves in the plot. Quite often with multiple viewpoint stories, there’s one that stands out above the rest. Not so with this one! Cate, Elise, and Adelaide have equally compelling stories. Each girl is hiding a secret and they are relying on each other to keep a shared secret. War has forced them into a different life than they’d imagined. There’s sadness, grief, death, blood and hunger at every corner, yet they each find themselves helping others even when it means risking their life for another. The events in this book are all based on true events. In fact, even Oscar is real! Check out the author’s Facebook page and you will see that her dog has made it into the pages of her latest historical fiction. The pace is even and quick, the characters are believable, and the plot and twists will keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m off to source out Lane’s backlist as she has an impressive list of historical fiction! Soraya Lane, Amazon Publishing UK, and NetGalley gifted me this advance digital copy and I was under no obligation to provide a review. Publishes May 20,2021

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    It's 1940 and Cate, an English nurse, is working at the clearance hospital in Dunkirk. She loves her work and taking care of injured soldiers despite the fact that her fiancé has been declared 'missing, presumed dead'. As the bombing by the German army gets closer, there is a decision to evacuate the troops to England. But some people need to remain at the hospital to help the wounded, so the staff draws straws. Cate gets the short straw and watches her friends and co-workers and many of the inj It's 1940 and Cate, an English nurse, is working at the clearance hospital in Dunkirk. She loves her work and taking care of injured soldiers despite the fact that her fiancé has been declared 'missing, presumed dead'. As the bombing by the German army gets closer, there is a decision to evacuate the troops to England. But some people need to remain at the hospital to help the wounded, so the staff draws straws. Cate gets the short straw and watches her friends and co-workers and many of the injured leave for Dunkirk beach and hopeful evacuation. One of the few patients left is Jack and Cate has been having romantic feeling about him since he arrived. When the Germans arrive to take prisoners, Cate and Jack escape. Their walk to hopefully get to a safe place is filled with fear of capture and I was rapidly turning pages during this part of the book. They finally find a house with two young women living in it and ask for help. Sisters Elise and Adelaide are reluctant at first. Their town has been taken over by the Germans and they are already hiding a wounded English soldier. They all know that if they are discovered, they will all be executed. As each day passes, they lives become more perilous especially when a high level Nazi becomes interested in Adelaide. There are decisions to be made that will possibly put them in more danger. The author had me rapidly turning pages throughout this book. I needed to find out if they were able to escape or be executed. My favorite characters were Cate and Elsie. Both were stronger and more resilient than they knew and it was their bravery that helped the other people in the house. This is a fantastic WWII story about strong women who did their best in extreme situations to help the Allies win the war. It's apparent on every page that the author has done extensive research. Many of the characters and plots were based on real people. This is a book full of suspense, history, love and an overwhelming need to help others. Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Sands

    Soraya Lane has a talent for bringing stories to us of ordinary women doing extraordinary acts of bravery during WWII. Through her exquisite writing Lane weaves a tale of fear, horror, sorrow, bravery and love without ever losing the reader along the way. Captivating from start to finish, this story of historical fiction could almost be described as a thriller with tremendous suspense and twists. One lone British nurse, Cate, is left behind as the Germans advance and the British retreat in the s Soraya Lane has a talent for bringing stories to us of ordinary women doing extraordinary acts of bravery during WWII. Through her exquisite writing Lane weaves a tale of fear, horror, sorrow, bravery and love without ever losing the reader along the way. Captivating from start to finish, this story of historical fiction could almost be described as a thriller with tremendous suspense and twists. One lone British nurse, Cate, is left behind as the Germans advance and the British retreat in the south of France. Taking along a wounded patient, after a hair-raising journey, she finds safety for them in the home of two French sisters. The story unfolds at this farmhouse as a plan for escape is eventually reached. It will only succeed with courage, trust, and luck. A page-turner to the very end!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donna McEachran

    Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review. Loved it...heartbreaking WW2 book, set in France around the time of the Dunkirk evacuation. Great book with strong female characters.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Louetta Waters

    Well written WWll Historical Fiction, kept me interested throughout the story. Characters were well written and likable. 4 stars Thank You to NetGalley and the Author and publisher for a copy of this book. Opinions expressed are my own

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bee

    ‘The Secrets We Left Behind’ tells of five young people whose lives suddenly collide in a French farmhouse at the height of WWII. The house belongs to sisters Elise and Adelaide, the only members left of their family. As the Germans advance towards their area, they unwittingly witness the Le Paradis massacre, a historical event I was unaware of until reading this novel. They make the dangerous choice to shelter the only two British soldiers to survive this horror. Simultaneously, British nurse C ‘The Secrets We Left Behind’ tells of five young people whose lives suddenly collide in a French farmhouse at the height of WWII. The house belongs to sisters Elise and Adelaide, the only members left of their family. As the Germans advance towards their area, they unwittingly witness the Le Paradis massacre, a historical event I was unaware of until reading this novel. They make the dangerous choice to shelter the only two British soldiers to survive this horror. Simultaneously, British nurse Cate is caught up in the fracas surrounding Dunkirk’s evacuation, but she and a wounded patient, Jack, uncertain what’s happening on the beaches of Dunkirk, make the decision to flee further into France instead. They too find their way to the home of the sisters, where the remaining five play a dangerous game of subterfuge and hiding as the Germans overrun the village. To complicate matters even further, Adelaide has caught the attention of a high-ranking Nazi officer, putting everyone in danger and causing conflict between the sisters as Adelaide struggles to reconcile her attraction for Wolfgang with the reports of his cruelty. Because clearly they can’t hide for an indeterminate amount of time in this farmhouse, the five come up with a plan (thanks to the burgeoning French resistance) to help the British stowaways be smuggled back to England. I really wanted to love this book, but while it was an enjoyable, fast read, I didn’t love it. Without giving too much away, at times it felt like a rather cliche romance within a romance within a romance, and each of the romantic entanglements lacked the depth or plausibility I needed to connect with their characters — not to mention my frustration at foolish reactions or choices. The ending section felt oddly rushed, which unfortunately contributed to me feeling as if I didn’t really know any of the characters very well. So sadly, for me this was good but not great. However, I very much appreciate the publishers and NetGalley giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for my unbiased review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This is a well written, rapid paced, frightening story of a time in our history that so many wish to never, ever repeat. It is told through three strong female characters. Cate is a nurse. Her job is to care for the soldiers in a France makeshift hospital during during World War II. The day comes when she needs to suddenly leave! Where is she going to run too? What will happen to those left behind? What is the right thing to do? Adelaide and Elise are sisters living in a small house in Le Paradis This is a well written, rapid paced, frightening story of a time in our history that so many wish to never, ever repeat. It is told through three strong female characters. Cate is a nurse. Her job is to care for the soldiers in a France makeshift hospital during during World War II. The day comes when she needs to suddenly leave! Where is she going to run too? What will happen to those left behind? What is the right thing to do? Adelaide and Elise are sisters living in a small house in Le Paradis, France. They have been witness to a heinous crime by the German troops. They now have some decisions to make. Can they help any survivors and keep them all safe? This is definitely a story of friendship, trust, love, fear, and horror that had me thrust in the pages of this novel! A fast read for sure!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    4.5 / 5 stars. The Secrets We Left Behind takes the readers on an emotional, beautiful journey amidst the horrors of World War II. We meet the main characters in occupied France, where the war is raging. As the Allied forces are retreating, Cate is left behind to care for the wounded. As the hospital is captures, she flees with a patient into the countryside. On the journey for a safe haven, she meets sisters Elise and Adelaide, sisters who have witnessed the horrors of war in their backyard and 4.5 / 5 stars. The Secrets We Left Behind takes the readers on an emotional, beautiful journey amidst the horrors of World War II. We meet the main characters in occupied France, where the war is raging. As the Allied forces are retreating, Cate is left behind to care for the wounded. As the hospital is captures, she flees with a patient into the countryside. On the journey for a safe haven, she meets sisters Elise and Adelaide, sisters who have witnessed the horrors of war in their backyard and have taken in two wounded soldiers. As these two groups meet and converge at the sisters’ farmhouse, their stories intertwine as they all try to survive. I connected immediately to the characters in this book, especially Cate and Elise. All three of the women are strong, capable, and show bravery and compassion in the face of dangerous circumstances. They risk everything for the soldiers that they’ve taken in, and their journeys are emotional ones that have stuck with me since I finished the book. This compelling story is a perfect read for any fans of historical fiction with hints of romance and suspense. Warning: This book discusses some sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers including war/war violence and traumatic injuries. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Helen Hopwood

    The Secrets We Left Behind is a powerful story of love and loss, hope and sacrifice, courage and survival in France, 1940. The author has undertaken thorough research on the historical facts of the Le Paradis massacre and the Dunkirk evacuations, then successfully penned a novel that I would highly recommend without any hesitation. It is the first time I have read any of Soraya Lane’s work and I would happily read other novels of hers. All of the characters are wonderfully depicted, the pace is go The Secrets We Left Behind is a powerful story of love and loss, hope and sacrifice, courage and survival in France, 1940. The author has undertaken thorough research on the historical facts of the Le Paradis massacre and the Dunkirk evacuations, then successfully penned a novel that I would highly recommend without any hesitation. It is the first time I have read any of Soraya Lane’s work and I would happily read other novels of hers. All of the characters are wonderfully depicted, the pace is good and the story flows really well between the different viewpoints. The novel has a wonderful ending which gives the reader a sense of closure on each of the main characters. There are lots of great historical fiction novels published now, but I have never before read about the Le Paradis massacre. Not only does The Secrets We Left Behind bring this horrific event to light, but the author successfully portrays three brave women who fought to save their own lives, and the lives of others. I am grateful to Amazon Publishing UK and Lake Union Publishing, via NetGalley for an advance digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Heslip

    I was fascinated by The Secrets We Left Behind! There are so many stories based on WWII, but this tale excelled at capturing your hope for the women and men that find themselves hiding in Le Paradis, France, not far from Dunkirk. Soraya M. Lane craftily reveals some of the most brave women during the war. They are based on real characters and real events that occurred. The characters came alive as I read, and I couldn't put the book down because I had to know what would happen next! The British N I was fascinated by The Secrets We Left Behind! There are so many stories based on WWII, but this tale excelled at capturing your hope for the women and men that find themselves hiding in Le Paradis, France, not far from Dunkirk. Soraya M. Lane craftily reveals some of the most brave women during the war. They are based on real characters and real events that occurred. The characters came alive as I read, and I couldn't put the book down because I had to know what would happen next! The British Nurses, Cate and Lilly, exhibit courage under fear I could not imagine. French sisters Elise and Addy are headstrong in their own right, but their love for one another allows them to make decisions that go beyond just saving themselves. The bonds of friendship and trust are tested many times, and it is a beautiful story that is revealed when the outcomes are made clear. Though this was a pretty quick read, I highly recommend it. Add to your TBR pile right away! I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opinions expressed are completely my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sharlene

    I really enjoyed this book. Memorable characters, exciting action and a satisfying ending. Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are shot dead by the advancing Germans. Beneath the pil I really enjoyed this book. Memorable characters, exciting action and a satisfying ending. Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are shot dead by the advancing Germans. Beneath the pile of bodies two men survive, crawling to the safety of a nearby farmhouse, where sisters Elise and Adelaide risk their lives to take them in. When Cate, too, arrives at their door with her injured soldier, the pressure mounts. Historical fiction readers especially those that enjoy WII genre books will enjoy this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annie McDonnell

    Soraya Lane took yet another hidden tale of female heroism during WWII Nazi-Occupied France and ignited a spark in me that smoldered until the very last page! There weaves an invisible thread of hope, strength & perseverance that ebbs and flows. Love will be tested! Family and loyalties will be tested! Soraya Lane draws a delicate balance between gut-wrenching emotions and elevating my spirit. In “The Secrets We Left Behind” it is obvious that stories elevating female empowerment are something we Soraya Lane took yet another hidden tale of female heroism during WWII Nazi-Occupied France and ignited a spark in me that smoldered until the very last page! There weaves an invisible thread of hope, strength & perseverance that ebbs and flows. Love will be tested! Family and loyalties will be tested! Soraya Lane draws a delicate balance between gut-wrenching emotions and elevating my spirit. In “The Secrets We Left Behind” it is obvious that stories elevating female empowerment are something we can always count on from Soraya Lane!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I continue to be blown away by Ms. Lane's books and her ability to tell a story. The Secrets We Left Behind is yet another example of how she is able to draw her readers into the story and make them feel as if they are there experiencing everything that her characters are. The three women profiled in the book, Cate, Elise, and Adelaide, are relateable and honestly, could be any one of us. They are strong, determined, and ready for whatever life throws at them...and there is plenty getting tossed I continue to be blown away by Ms. Lane's books and her ability to tell a story. The Secrets We Left Behind is yet another example of how she is able to draw her readers into the story and make them feel as if they are there experiencing everything that her characters are. The three women profiled in the book, Cate, Elise, and Adelaide, are relateable and honestly, could be any one of us. They are strong, determined, and ready for whatever life throws at them...and there is plenty getting tossed to/at them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

    A great Memorial Day read and tribute to the greatest generation including the heroic women who fought in WW2. I'm always moved by stories of these brave women and men who risked their safety for a greater cause. I often wonder how many of us now would handle the sacrifices that these valiant people faced with courage and determination. I read books like this one to remember that fighting evil and doing what is right isn't easy or comfortable but is worth it in the end. A great Memorial Day read and tribute to the greatest generation including the heroic women who fought in WW2. I'm always moved by stories of these brave women and men who risked their safety for a greater cause. I often wonder how many of us now would handle the sacrifices that these valiant people faced with courage and determination. I read books like this one to remember that fighting evil and doing what is right isn't easy or comfortable but is worth it in the end.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I have read a lot of books about WWII and I'm still surprised when I find a story told that is unique from others that I have read. The Secrets We Left Behind is about 3 extraordinary women, Cate, Elise and Adelaide who are forced to make difficult choices to save the lives of 2 soldiers. Cate is a British nurse working at a field hospital in France when they receive news that the France is on the brink of falling to German forces. As the hospital and its patients are evacuated, some must stay b I have read a lot of books about WWII and I'm still surprised when I find a story told that is unique from others that I have read. The Secrets We Left Behind is about 3 extraordinary women, Cate, Elise and Adelaide who are forced to make difficult choices to save the lives of 2 soldiers. Cate is a British nurse working at a field hospital in France when they receive news that the France is on the brink of falling to German forces. As the hospital and its patients are evacuated, some must stay behind and Cate is unfortunately one of them. In a daring escape, Cate takes one of her patients with her who helps guide her to a small village. Somehow Cate ends up on Elise and Adelaide's doorstep and is graciously taken in, along with her patient. Elise and Adelaide are sisters who witness the brutal massacre of surrendering British forces. They find 2 survivors and take them in. With 4 British refugees hidden in their home, the sisters risk their lives to help them recover and plan an escape, but not all of them will make it out alive. I devoured this novel in 2 days. The inner conflicts that the characters struggled with in the face of danger were heartbreaking to read. Despite these conflicts, these strangers bonded and risked everything for each other. The brutality of the German forces and the bravery of ordinary people are things that I can't imagine experiencing. Thank you @netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book in return for an honest review. You can also find this review on Instagram @maria.needs.to.read

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donna Alward

    Whew! Once France is overrun by the German forces, this story is full of action and high stakes for the lovely characters within. Everything happens so quickly as Allied forces withdraw to the beaches at Dunkirk. Cate and Jack escape and find refuge with Adelaide and Elise, who have already hidden two survivors of a massacre. Everyone must make choices and the consequences are felt by all. I really didn't know how it was all going to play out as I kept turning the pages to get to the end. Highly Whew! Once France is overrun by the German forces, this story is full of action and high stakes for the lovely characters within. Everything happens so quickly as Allied forces withdraw to the beaches at Dunkirk. Cate and Jack escape and find refuge with Adelaide and Elise, who have already hidden two survivors of a massacre. Everyone must make choices and the consequences are felt by all. I really didn't know how it was all going to play out as I kept turning the pages to get to the end. Highly recommend!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    Enjoyable. Two sisters during World War II both completely different but you could identify with both. Learned some things about the war and life then.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    I always enjoy reading books set during WWII and seeing the different perspectives that they come from. This was about the Germans occupying France. It follows several characters who are from different backgrounds and unconnected to each other. Cate is a British nurse. Elise and Adelaide are French sisters. The author weaves the story and characters together beautifully, bringing together the lives of these unrelated characters, as they face the same horrible war. This book will draw you in and I always enjoy reading books set during WWII and seeing the different perspectives that they come from. This was about the Germans occupying France. It follows several characters who are from different backgrounds and unconnected to each other. Cate is a British nurse. Elise and Adelaide are French sisters. The author weaves the story and characters together beautifully, bringing together the lives of these unrelated characters, as they face the same horrible war. This book will draw you in and keep you there until the end. Highly recommend! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy of this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Moore

    World War II France: Cate is a British nurse working in France when the Germans bear down and start taking over the country mile by mile. She is engaged but her eyes keep drifting to Jack, an injured British soldier who she is helping take care of. When word comes that most of the staff will be evacuated, Cate is left behind. In a flash of gunfire, she tells Jack that they need to escape regardless of his injuries. After trapping across the countryside, slowed by the depth of Jack’s wounds, Cate World War II France: Cate is a British nurse working in France when the Germans bear down and start taking over the country mile by mile. She is engaged but her eyes keep drifting to Jack, an injured British soldier who she is helping take care of. When word comes that most of the staff will be evacuated, Cate is left behind. In a flash of gunfire, she tells Jack that they need to escape regardless of his injuries. After trapping across the countryside, slowed by the depth of Jack’s wounds, Cate comes across sisters Addy and Elise. Adelaide and Elise have lost their family. Their parents have died and their brother was killed soon after he left to fight the war. One day, they witness what will be known as Le Paradis massacre and find two survivors on their doorstep. With Nazis encamped nearby, they take a chance to hide them in their house. When Cate arrives in their doorstep, they take her in as their “cousin.” With France about to fall into Hitler’s hands, how will the refugees ever get out and back to England? This book is an escape back to a time that history will never forget. I actually completed this book in a day. It was easy to read and you fall in love with the characters. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of historical fiction. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #netgalley #thesecretsweleftbehind

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    NetGalley Member Review Cover Image: The Secrets We Left Behind The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya M. Lane Pub Date: 20 May 2021 Review by jeanie m, Reviewer Last updated on 8 Apr 2021 My Recommendation With thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion I would like thank publishers and soraya lane for a beautifully poignant read as always excellent characters who play there parts so well, I can highly recommend this book. Don't forget! Come back to your Review on the pub date, 20 NetGalley Member Review Cover Image: The Secrets We Left Behind The Secrets We Left Behind by Soraya M. Lane Pub Date: 20 May 2021 Review by jeanie m, Reviewer Last updated on 8 Apr 2021 My Recommendation With thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion I would like thank publishers and soraya lane for a beautifully poignant read as always excellent characters who play there parts so well, I can highly recommend this book. Don't forget! Come back to your Review on the pub date, 20 May 2021, to post to these retailers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Noor

    The author has written about a bunch of 📚 books. ⚘This is my 2nd interface with the author's work. As with all her books, much of this story is based on fact. ⚘315 pages, 26 Chapters. Do you feel, empathy & the desire to help others selflessly, has gone for a toss in today's world? Do you like covers with real life models? ⚘Lake Union Publishing, Soraya M Lane. ⚘Release Date: 20th May 2021, Happy Pub Day!🎉 ⚘Historical/ Contemporary Fiction ⚘How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? __________ The author has written about a bunch of 📚 books. ⚘This is my 2nd interface with the author's work. As with all her books, much of this story is based on fact. ⚘315 pages, 26 Chapters. Do you feel, empathy & the desire to help others selflessly, has gone for a toss in today's world? Do you like covers with real life models? ⚘Lake Union Publishing, Soraya M Lane. ⚘Release Date: 20th May 2021, Happy Pub Day!🎉 ⚘Historical/ Contemporary Fiction ⚘How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? ___________ Occupied France, 1940. When the staff at a field hospital draw straws to find out who will join the evacuation from Dunkirk, Nurse Cate is left behind. But when the Nazis arrive to claim prisoners of war, she takes her chance and flees into the night, taking one patient with her. Fifty miles away, the surrendering soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment are shot dead by the advancing Germans. Beneath the pile of bodies two men survive, crawling to the safety of a nearby farmhouse, where sisters Elise and Adelaide risk their lives to take them in. When Cate, too, arrives at their door with her injured soldier, the pressure mounts. 🔥The sisters are risking everything to keep their visitors safe. But with the Nazis coming ever closer and relationships in the farmhouse intensifying, they must all question the sacrifices they are willing to make for the lives of others. How far will they go for family, friendship, and love? ____________ ⚘Taking few facts from history & imagining the state, feelings & emotions of the people, way back..almost more than half a century & building a picturesque, believable fictional world..is so commendable. Beautiful articulation of words with a powerful narrative, in tandem to ensure a lasting impact. You'll finish the read with a heavy but satiated heart, one which is calm & at peace. #noorthebookwormreviews #thesecretsweleftbehind

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