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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. 4 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. 4 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. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Martin

    The Secrets We Left Behind is a gripping story that brings to life the horrors endured in France during WWII while also highlighting the sacrifice and love of strong women. Soraya M. Lane’s exquisitely told tale of perseverance will hold your heart in this beautifully written and highly captivating read.

  6. 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.

  7. 5 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 4 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 4 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Sacrifice for freedom A breathtaking story of people brought together in the midst of the enemy during WWII. The characters were so true to life and the story kept you in suspense. LIlly and Cate the British nurse's stationed at Dunkirk. Lilly evacuated and Cate stayed behind with the patients. Jack Cate's patient at the hospital who fled with her after the evacuation. Harry and Peter the British soldiers that cheated death at the hands of the Nazi commander the only two to survive the "Le Paradi Sacrifice for freedom A breathtaking story of people brought together in the midst of the enemy during WWII. The characters were so true to life and the story kept you in suspense. LIlly and Cate the British nurse's stationed at Dunkirk. Lilly evacuated and Cate stayed behind with the patients. Jack Cate's patient at the hospital who fled with her after the evacuation. Harry and Peter the British soldiers that cheated death at the hands of the Nazi commander the only two to survive the "Le Paradis Massacre". Adelaide and Elise the farm girls that took in the fleeing British soldiers Peter and Harry as well as Jack and Cate. The story is of these characters in a farmhouse in the middle of Nazi troops. The different opinions, the romances, the disagreements and the plans to escape which went horribly wrong. The ones that escaped, the ones that stayed behind and one that did not survive. Their story of the life in the farmhouse and the escape will keep you in suspense and keep you reading. The courage these young people showed in the face of the enemy is awesome. It is a story that proves the quest for life and freedom is strong enough to sustain and that love and memories live on. So many lost so much in the war and some were true heroes. This was a very good story and based on events at the time. The ending was perfect. I was sad for those lost but very happy for those that survived. I would recommend this book. Thanks to Soraya M. Lane, Amazon Publishing U.K. and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Visceral. When you start off at one of WWII's most infamous defeats (of the Allies) at Dunkirk and go right into one of its lesser known war crimes (the slaughter of nearly 100 British soldiers at Le Paradis), you know this is going to be one *intense* book. And it is. Here, Lane uses a British nurse and two French sisters to tell a tale of survival during the war's early years, when Germany seemingly could not be defeated. The way she tells it reads as some of the most gripping suspense (arguab Visceral. When you start off at one of WWII's most infamous defeats (of the Allies) at Dunkirk and go right into one of its lesser known war crimes (the slaughter of nearly 100 British soldiers at Le Paradis), you know this is going to be one *intense* book. And it is. Here, Lane uses a British nurse and two French sisters to tell a tale of survival during the war's early years, when Germany seemingly could not be defeated. The way she tells it reads as some of the most gripping suspense (arguably even horror, without the supernatural elements often part of that genre) I've yet come across in tales of this era - and indeed, even in most other tales, period. From the opening chapters where the Germans attack through the closing chapters (other than the extended epilogue), Lane never really gives these characters - and thus, the reader - any real sense of calm or safety. The Germans are always *right there*, in mind if not in body, and the threat of capture and execution - or worse - is never far from anyones' thoughts. Releasing just one week before the 81st anniversary of the events it fictionalizes, this is easily one of the best books of Summer 2021, particularly for those looking for dark/ suspense tales. Very much recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Lane is truly my favourite Historical Fiction author. She did not disappoint with this one, from the very first chapter I was hooked and already invested in the characters and plot. Her ability to weave stories and lives together is one of my favourite things about her novels. I cared so deeply for these characters in the couple hundred pages that I knew them and by the end they felt real and tangible. As with almost every one of her books, I was tearing up by the end of it, wishing it wasn’t co Lane is truly my favourite Historical Fiction author. She did not disappoint with this one, from the very first chapter I was hooked and already invested in the characters and plot. Her ability to weave stories and lives together is one of my favourite things about her novels. I cared so deeply for these characters in the couple hundred pages that I knew them and by the end they felt real and tangible. As with almost every one of her books, I was tearing up by the end of it, wishing it wasn’t coming to an end so soon. Another wonderful book that I had a great time reading. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for kindly providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley #TheSecretsWeLeftBehind. All opinions are my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Booklover BEV

    The moment I picked up this book I was hooked. 1939 Dunkirk France. Cate and Lilly what lies ahead for these two nurses, best friends and nearly sister's in law's Cate misses Charlie her fiancé but both girls are kept so busy tending the soldiers, as the Germans fly overhead and WW2 is declared they only are meant to spend a few months in Dunkirk then be shipped back home to England. Elise and Adelaide French sister's witness so much heartache as they fight to survive. You really must read on, o The moment I picked up this book I was hooked. 1939 Dunkirk France. Cate and Lilly what lies ahead for these two nurses, best friends and nearly sister's in law's Cate misses Charlie her fiancé but both girls are kept so busy tending the soldiers, as the Germans fly overhead and WW2 is declared they only are meant to spend a few months in Dunkirk then be shipped back home to England. Elise and Adelaide French sister's witness so much heartache as they fight to survive. You really must read on, oh gosh harrowing accounts all the way through this book, a unique story that secrets were definitely left behind. I loved it

  19. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. The story is set in occupied France with varied point of views. It started with alternating views of a nurse in a hospital with the wounded soldiers and 2 sisters living in a farmhouse who witness an horrific incident. The story is fast paced and the stories do intertwine. Loved the story it told and will definitely recommend!!!

  20. 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louetta

    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

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda S.

    Soraya M. Lane is an amazing writer of historical fiction and this book does not disappoint. The Secrets We Left Behind tells the story of two French sisters, Adelaide and Elise, and a British nurse, Cate, in WWII Nazi-occupied France. Adelaide and Elise live in the village of La Paradis, where they secretly witness the slaughter of a platoon of British soldiers by the Nazis and risk their lives to take in two of the survivors. Cate is left behind with one of her patients when the hospital is ev Soraya M. Lane is an amazing writer of historical fiction and this book does not disappoint. The Secrets We Left Behind tells the story of two French sisters, Adelaide and Elise, and a British nurse, Cate, in WWII Nazi-occupied France. Adelaide and Elise live in the village of La Paradis, where they secretly witness the slaughter of a platoon of British soldiers by the Nazis and risk their lives to take in two of the survivors. Cate is left behind with one of her patients when the hospital is evacuated and they, too, end up at the door of Adelaide and Elise. It is a story of love, loss, betrayal, friendship, and trust, all told by three very strong women. I couldn't put it down. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    What a wonderful book, from the onset it draws you into the story of incredible bravery, unimaginable cruelty, love, loss and hope The story is set in France just before the Dunkirk evacuation, in the hospitals they were awaiting transport to take them to the beaches and be repatriated to England. There would never be time to take all the staff and injured soldiers as they waited for the onslaught from the advancing German Army. These stories never fail to impress on me how they lived from day t What a wonderful book, from the onset it draws you into the story of incredible bravery, unimaginable cruelty, love, loss and hope The story is set in France just before the Dunkirk evacuation, in the hospitals they were awaiting transport to take them to the beaches and be repatriated to England. There would never be time to take all the staff and injured soldiers as they waited for the onslaught from the advancing German Army. These stories never fail to impress on me how they lived from day to day never knowing what the next few hours would bring and if they would survive.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julia Richardson

    Wow! This was an action-packed novel full of romance and danger! The Secrets We Left Behind brings a British nurse, 2 soldiers, and 2 French sisters together in quite an adventure in German-occupied France. I could not put this book down, and ended up finishing it in one day!!! This is my favorite Soraya Lane book yet!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I've been conflicted on this book. While I found it difficult to put down, there was an element I strongly disliked and places where I wanted more. For the most part, this World War II story follows three women - Cate, Elise and Adelaide (Addy) - in France after the evacuation at Dunkirk. There are also two men who figure in it, Jack and Harry, though the story isn't told from their POVs. Cate was, for me, the strongest character. A British nurse, she is left behind when the British evacuate Dunki I've been conflicted on this book. While I found it difficult to put down, there was an element I strongly disliked and places where I wanted more. For the most part, this World War II story follows three women - Cate, Elise and Adelaide (Addy) - in France after the evacuation at Dunkirk. There are also two men who figure in it, Jack and Harry, though the story isn't told from their POVs. Cate was, for me, the strongest character. A British nurse, she is left behind when the British evacuate Dunkirk. I thought she was really well written. I could feel her internal struggle, her conflicted emotions about her fiance, her role as a nurse, the struggle to find some place safe, trying to stay strong during extraordinary times. Everything about Cate worked for me and I was cheering for her the entire time. Elise is a young French woman, one of two sisters who live in a small village outside of Dunkirk. They witness Nazi atrocities and then find themselves acting as a safe haven for others hiding from the Nazis. As the oldest of the two, her emotions are understandable. They've lost their parents and brother, Elise feels responsible for her sister and every reaction begins and ends with this concern and fear. However, i would have liked to see Elise open up just a little to "I wish I could just be young, too!" and not always with such a heavy mantle of responsibility weighing on her. Her strength carries through the last 1/3 of the book, and heartbreaking times. Addy is the second sister. She is portrayed as always seeing the best, the positive, blindly optimistic in times of war even after she's seen horrifying acts. This character was gratingly unsuccessful for me. I probably could have believed in her more if she was younger (she's 20 here) and if so much bad had not actually happened around them. Rumors could have given her plausible deniability, instead of head in the sand behavior over things actually witnessed and experienced. I can chalk that up to my own cynicism, I supposed, and others may not find her sunshine personality so jarring. It didn't work for me, though it ends up being a major plot point ultimately. Jack and Harry are both British soldiers, wounded and desperate for escape back to England. Their characterizations felt authentic to me. There are a couple of other small side characters who similarly feel authentic, helping successfully bring this world to life. Another prominent character is a Nazi officer. He is fully evil and the author is not trying to set him up as anything but evil. Addy, however, cannot see that, and I spent a lot of time cringing about the storyline involving the two of them, afraid that the author was in fact trying to make him a hero. Lane is not. He is pure evil, and readers can be assured of that. Outside of the Addy character, I enjoyed this book a lot, and knowing how the Addy storyline resolved, I might not find her as grating on a reread. Like I said at the beginning, I did have a hard time putting this down, and that says a lot. Yes, this is another WWII historical, but there are hundreds of stories involving this war and I think Lane does a good job bringing us yet another perspective with things to think about and heroes to remember. There are always intriguing stories in the author notes and more I want to learn about. Ultimately this was a 4 stars book for me on my first read, and I expect I will reread it after publication. I read an e-ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    I have a great love for hidden gems and Soraya M Lane and her novels are true treasures.  However, after reading The Secrets We Left Behind I know that soon she and her novels will be anything, but a secret.  With The Secrets We Left Behind,  there is an evident shift in the author's writing.   She has moved from being in her head, to allowing the story to flow through her.  I absolutely loved The Last Correspondent,  but this novel is on a whole new level.  Also Ms. Lane has somehow made her ch I have a great love for hidden gems and Soraya M Lane and her novels are true treasures.  However, after reading The Secrets We Left Behind I know that soon she and her novels will be anything, but a secret.  With The Secrets We Left Behind,  there is an evident shift in the author's writing.   She has moved from being in her head, to allowing the story to flow through her.  I absolutely loved The Last Correspondent,  but this novel is on a whole new level.  Also Ms. Lane has somehow made her characters and plot, even more engaging and believable than her previous work. I genuinely couldn't pick between the three female protagonists.  Each character possesses something truly special and beautiful, yet are flawed and very human.  Cate is absolutely lovely.  I loved how she remains true to herself and never wavers from her nursing instincts.  Similarly, I simply loved the sisters, Elise and Adelaide. One sister is initially fearful and hesitant, while the other has a willingness to believe in the good in others.  Both sisters are written brilliantly.  Elise shows so much grace and fortitude in the face of suddenly becoming head of the family and caregiver to her younger sister.  Adelaide is a very trusting soul with a good heart, but unwise. Elise's response to her sister's choices says a lot about her and this is where the author shows how skillful she is with showing, instead of telling us who the characters are. Similarly, the author has created an incredible plot with a sense of urgency and there were so many moments when my heart was in my throat, all of which made the novel engaging and gave it great pacing.  I didn't want to put it down, because I was so engrossed and I needed to know what was going to happen next as the author has created a high pressure environment where at any minute anything could happen.  My mind was blown imagining being surrounded by Nazis and living in a house with British allies knowing that any moment the enemy could come in the door.  All of the various dangers and conflicts creates wonderful pacing and an irresistible need to turn the pages.  I didn't want the book to end, but every page turned is rewarded with perfection and is worth the wait. Thank you to Soraya M Lane and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review The Secrets We Left Behind. This was an unpaid review, so my thoughts and opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lorrie

    I've read several books from this author and could not wait for this release. So much so that when an opportunity arose to get an ARC, I jumped on it. I love historical romance and never tire of the WWII stories and this author never disappoints. If you haven't read her other work, I would highly recommend: "The Last Correspondent" and "Hearts of Resistance". Two stories that I'll carry in my memory for a long time to come just as this story will. From the very beginning, each page-turn takes you I've read several books from this author and could not wait for this release. So much so that when an opportunity arose to get an ARC, I jumped on it. I love historical romance and never tire of the WWII stories and this author never disappoints. If you haven't read her other work, I would highly recommend: "The Last Correspondent" and "Hearts of Resistance". Two stories that I'll carry in my memory for a long time to come just as this story will. From the very beginning, each page-turn takes you back to 1940 when the Germans were occupying France. The British got involved and were driven back by the Germans leaving nurses and doctors drawing straws to see who would stay behind to care for the non-walking patients while everyone else evacuated. That in itself, I found heart-wrenching but the story was only getting started. I never give spoilers so I won't go into any details, just know that each character will win a place in your heart and maybe one....not so much. Anytime I was reading about Wolfgang, I pictured the blonde in "Sound of Music" that met the 16 year old in the gazebo. This author gives you an up-close and personal view of what a war-torn French town was like during its occupation. I can't count how many times my heart was thumping against my chest. The horror of having so little food, so little hope, and trying to survive one day at a time. I think my daughter described it best when she was lucky enough to read this book first. Just as she finished it, she came out in the living room and flopped down on the loveseat. Her eyes were glassed over from hours of reading and she says, "You know it's a really good book when you look up and have to blink yourself back to reality." I think that describes it better than I could. Buy the book, you won't be disappointed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lori Sinsel Harris

    WWII historical fiction has become my specialty. I did not intend for it to be, but after reading my first novel about the most horrifying period in our history I was hooked and have read and reviewed every possible book I could get my hands on. I love all the different perspectives this war is written from. It seems to me there is always a story to be told and always a different point of view to be shared. To me reading about the heroes of WWII is never dull, boring or repetitive, and this stor WWII historical fiction has become my specialty. I did not intend for it to be, but after reading my first novel about the most horrifying period in our history I was hooked and have read and reviewed every possible book I could get my hands on. I love all the different perspectives this war is written from. It seems to me there is always a story to be told and always a different point of view to be shared. To me reading about the heroes of WWII is never dull, boring or repetitive, and this story is no exception. Cate is a British nurse, left behind at a clearance hospital in France, when the British soldiers begin evacuating from Dunkirk, France, with the Germans closing in on them. Cate, seeing that if they remain in the hospital capture is inevitable, she rouses Jack a patient whom she has grown fond of, but who is not ready to leave the hospital telling him they must go. With Jack leading the way they venture in the opposite direction than that of the soldiers, hoping the Germans have already been through and left. This is not the case. When Cate leaves a stricken Jack to go find help she encounters German soldiers and faking living in a nearby house lucks out when the young woman who answers the door goes along with her story, claiming Cate as her cousin. In Le Paradis France, Elise and her sister Adelaide witness the massacre of nearly 100 hundred British soldiers from behind the living room curtains. So when there is a knock on the door Elise is reluctant to answer and even more reluctant to offer help, wanting to protect the only family she has left, her younger sister. Realizing she must help she allows them in, along with two British soldiers that survived the massacre. This book brings the characters to life as we read of Elise's reluctance, and then her and Addy's heroic sacrifices to help others. We read of the lengths people go to to survive, and the bonds that are formed in the facing the common enemy together. The ties that are formed when one person risks everything to help another simply because it is the right thing to do. This story is partly based on truth, the evacuation of British troops at Dunkirk did occur, and the Le Paradis Massacre is a true event, making this story all the more real and heart-wrenching. This is a must read for all historical fiction fans, along the lines of Pam Jenoff, Karen Robards, and Ellen Marie Wiseman. I give 5 stars, and say thank you to the publishers at Amazon publishing and Net Galley for the free ARC copy of the e-book version of this novel, I am leaving my honest review in return. #NetGalley #TheSecretsWeLeftBehind

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