The Secrets We Keep

Written by Theresa Howes
Review by Karen Warren

It is 1944, and artist Marguerite Segal is working undercover for British Intelligence in the south of France. Her work brings her into contact with the enigmatic priest Etienne Valade, to whom she is instantly attracted. But is Etienne a Nazi sympathizer? Can she trust him, and can she persuade the local townspeople that she herself is not a collaborator? At the same time Marguerite is guarding secrets of her own, and as her past starts to catch up with her, she comes to realise that no-one is what they seem.

The Secrets We Keep is the story of a town living in fear, a place where suspicion is rife and where people will betray their neighbours to protect themselves and their families. The reader feels a real sense of menace as a small community—half-starved due to a lack of rations and subjected to random punishments by the occupiers—starts to turn in upon itself. The tension is ramped up as the Germans tighten their grip, knowing that they are losing the war. And, as Marguerite’s friends start to disappear, she is left not knowing which way to turn. I found this a page-turning portrayal of the stark realities of living in Occupied France. Recommended for anyone who enjoys wartime novels.