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The Secret Years

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  164 ratings  ·  45 reviews
When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather Harry's World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as 'George' and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy's family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.

How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 26th 2015 by Penguin Australia
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Arriving back from deployment overseas Lucy Hunter was surprised to see her mother waiting for her at the airport instead of fiancé Sam. But her concern was mostly for her grandfather, her beloved Harry-pa who was very ill in hospital. Her mother Ro assured her that he was in no danger but Lucy knew her mother and grandfather didn’t often see eye-to-eye. Having been fobbed off at every turn by both her mother and grandfather to any question about her family’s history, Lucy was keen to find out m ...more
Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
4.5 Stars
I have never been a fan of Australian rural settings in novels. I'm not sure why really, when I was younger they never seemed to interest me. I must be mellowing a bit as I grow older, or perhaps I would have always liked them and was just stubborn.. Either way I am glad I read this book, it was wonderful.

Lucy comes back to Townsville from an army posting in Afghanistan and is excited to be reunited with her fiancée. Unfortunately things do not go quite so well with their reunion, and L
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Secret Years is about how young lady found out about her family history and her mothers time in England. Lucy Hunter had come home from six months employment in Afghanistan when her life was not the same as before her deployment to Afghanistan. Lucy's grandfather was dying, her childhood home sold, and her relationship with her fiancee Nick ended. The readers of The Secret Years will follow the twists and turns to find out what happens to Lucy Hunter.

The Secret Years is the first book I have
☼♄Jülie 

This book will hold you captive with an easy flowing pace that is still crammed with activity and intrigue.

When Lucy Hunter returns home on leave from her posting as a soldier in Afghanistan, she is concerned at the news of her beloved grandfather's failing health, but also excited at the prospect of seeing her fiancé Sam waiting for her at the airport.
She has taken leave to come home and plan their wedding instead of taking the planned overseas trip with her best friend.
However when she sees h
Dale Harcombe
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars
Back from a tour in Afghanistan, army logistics officer, Lucy Hunter finds several surprises waiting for her. One is her mother at the airport to meet her instead of her fiancé Sam. Another is tied up with a tin of memorabilia belonging to her grandfather, Harry. It includes letters from a woman and a photo of a young woman known as George. Again this is a story of two times. There is Lucy trying to find out more about her family and understand more of the difficult relation
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it

The Secret Years is Barbara Hannay's 49th book, in which she blends a contemporary and historical narrative to present an engaging novel about family, heroism, heartbreak and love.

Army logistics officer Lucy Hunter is relieved to be home in Townsville after her six month deployment in Afghanistan but she isn't prepared for the changes in store for her. Her mother has exchanged her childhood home for a sterile condo apartment she is sharing with a new man, her grandfather's health is failing, and
The Secret Years is the first of Barbara Hannay's books that I've read, and I can guarantee you, it won't be the last.

The story takes the reader on a multi-time lined journey through ravaged war zones, both past and present, and explores relationships between lovers, family and extended family and friends.

Lucy (our present day protagonist) is the granddaughter to Harry, the male protagonist from the historical time line - but he still plays a part in the present day timeline too. The story wea
Carol Preston
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this multifaceted book covering three generations, with lots of interesting history around war years, two lovely romances, family conflict and reconciliation. The mysteries unfold at a great pace and the move back and forward from one generation to another is very artfully achieved. I'll be looking for other books by Barbara Hannay.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely brilliant epic timeslip romance with stand out characters that left me in tears (in a good way) at the end. Set in tropical North Queensland and Cornwall, I read this while on holiday in TNQ so it had special resonance for me. I've read some of Barbara Hannay's Mills & Boon short romances and they are very good indeed but I loved reading a longer story - the descriptions of Australia and Cornwall were very evocative and the research into the plight of Aussie and British soldier ...more
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
My View:
Barbara Hannay writes beautiful visuals of rural and remote Australia, in particular the thriving military town that is Townsville with its beautiful Strand and bustling city scapes to far north Queensland with its picturesque cattle properties, where “Big mobs of silvery Braham cattle grazed, and telegraph poles tracked the straight line of the Flinders Highway into the shimmering distance till they looked like mere wisps of smoke.”(p.348); such beautiful visuals forever remind me of Qu
Sonya Heaney
Also posted HERE .

This is a hard book to classify, and I think the blurb barely gives you an idea of what to expect. I think the mark of a good book is if you know you’ll remember it down the track (especially so if you read hundreds of books a year!), and I know there are some aspects of this one that will stay with me. It is an emotional read. I never understand readers who claim to cry buckets of tears for every single silly little book they read, but this actually IS a book I can say has th
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Secret Years had me chained to my Kindle and will stay with me for some time to come. The outpouring of emotions throughout this story is real and heartfelt. So much so, the ending had me unsure of whether to smile or cry. It was perfection. A classic ending to what truly is a classic read. Do yourself a favour and go join Harry and George in 'The Secret Years'.

"And I know with absolute certainty that every important thing that I want begins and ends with you."

Full review at:
A very enjoyable read.
I find that I’m fascinated by love story in war time… The preciousness of life, of happiness, are just so keenly felt that finding love is such a bittersweet experience. This is what drew me to The Secret Years… asides from my penchant for rural romance, of course ;)

The novel tells of a love story which spans three generations though the middle one is somewhat neglected. It tells of the glorious once-in-a-lifetime love of Harry and Georgina who found each other in the midst of great uncertainty

4.5 stars

This was my first Barbara Hannay read. What rock have I been living under?? ... I have no idea why Hannay hasn't come to my attention before now but I've been missing out.

The Secret Years is a multi-generational story blending contemporary and historical narratives into an utterly captivating read.

It's a story where the past bleeds into the present, the effect of long held secrets rippling through generations.

Lucy returns home to Australia from a 6 month deployment in Afghanistan. Her
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I picked up The Secret Years at my local mall recently. I'm behind on my challenges so needed to get reading if I want to make my reading targets by the end of the year. I didn't know what to expect, other than it met the criteria for my challenges (I haven't read any other books by Barbara Hannay before).

I felt like the book was a little slow to begin with, but once it got going I was well and truly hooked. The novel is told through multiple viewpoints: Lucy, her mother Rose, and her grandmothe
Talking Books
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay absolutely consumed me. Harry was just a sweetheart from the get go and George was a cut above her peers. Initially, their part in the story was perhaps my favourite to read. However, once the story opened up the whole dynamic of the read just leapt from the pages for this reader. The outpouring of emotions throughout this story left this reader teary throughout the read. The way the author tied three stories and generations together from Harry & George to ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This is the second book of Barbara's that I have listened to and I really loved it. She tells the story of 3 generations going from World War 2 to the present day and set in Australia and England. Lucy is on leave from her army job and looking forward to planning her wedding. She comes home and finds that her fiancee is intimidated by her position in the army and the engagement falls through. She is curious about her ancestry and decides to travel to England to discover more about her Grandfathe ...more
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather Harry's World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as 'George' and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy's family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.
How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love with the Honourable Georgina Lenton o
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story is done very well, beautiful descriptive images and great characters, with the reader taken on a journey though different time periods, both past and present so a good mixture of historical fiction and contemporary. Spanning over three generations, it was so well written I would nearly give it a 5, but am leaning back towards a 4 and I think that was purely because it didn’t consume my thoughts when I wasn’t reading it. I enjoyed it and the characters, but for some reason I didn’t wal ...more
Stacey Houllis
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved Loved !!! It was a beautiful written story by Barbra Hannay it tells the story of Lucy Hunter' s journey to search of her grandfather past in the war and woman he fell in love with during World War two. Her mum won't talk much about her childhood growing up and the family.
Lucy is in the Army on logistics side of it and has returned home to Australia after serving in Afghanistan. She breaks up with her boyfriend Sam he couldn't deal with her job.
Lucy sets of to England to find the ancestor
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
At first slightly confusing, all the different strands of this story began to come together beautifully. Three generations of one family have their own poignant moments, both in England and Australia. It just makes me think how much families need to talk together, so 'secret years' don't stay secret, and people don't have to struggle to piece together the family history. Got a bit weepy on the last couple of pages because I figured out where the story was going to end. And rightly so. Thanks Bar ...more
Lesley Roberts
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
As my daughter has had experience as a returned Afghanistan veteran to Townsville where we have visited her,this book has similarilies to real life for me. In saying that the story was very interesting,although perhaps more of Rose's life in Cornwall could have been included to help the understanding of her character. The new guinea scenes were extremely well handled . Very good read with suitable endings for all the characters.
Barbara Strickland
A beautiful read

Delightfully Australian this was a a wonderfully warm and flowing story encompassing the span of three generations.The author creates some lovely images bringing the landscape alive, no easy feat when she is covering two different countries and two very different wars, and a whole lot of falling in love just to keep us turning those pages.
A most satisfying read.

Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Loved this story from the beginning to the end.
Lorraine Montgomery
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After reading reviews of this book on other sites, I decided it would give me an excellent picture of at least part of the Australian outback as well as a ripping good adventure/romance read. I wasn't disappointed.

The Secret Years looks at relationships and secrets of three generations: George (Georgina) originally from England, and her husband, Harry Kemp (an original outbacker and Aussie army volunteer in WWII), their daughter, Ro (Rose) born in Australia but partly educated in England, and
MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under
In the current day timeline we meet Lucy. Recently returned from Afghanistan she finds that things are not quite the same at home – her beloved grandfather has been ill, her mother Ro has moved in with a new man and then she has a fall-out with her boyfriend. Having taken leave from the army, she suddenly finds herself at a crossroads, trying to decipher exactly what it is that keeps her grandfather so tight-lipped about his time in the army and her mother so reluctant to speak about the past. W ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
4.5 stars

The Secret Years is the fourth book I have read by well established romance author Barbara Hannay. What I love about the Secret Years is how seamlessly it crosses genres. It is a blend of romance, historical fiction and contemporary fiction all rolled in one fabulous read. The Secret Years is an ambitious story, but Hannay definitely manages to pull it off with ease. It links three generations together in one absorbing story. The Secret Years opens with a contemporary story thread, wher
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is such a beautiful story set in two wonderful eras it tells of the struggle during World War 2 and the course of true love that spans many years from Bombings in London to the jungles of New Guinea and then to Australia, Townsville and the Queensland outback, it is the story of families and the secrets that are kept and what happens when they are unearthed.

Lucy Hunter is a beautiful young woman she is in the army and has just returned from Afghanistan ready to marry her fiancé but things a
Jane Irish Nelson
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sandy
Lucy returns home to Australia after serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and is surprised to discover that her mother, Ro, has sold their house, and moved into an apartment with a new gentleman friend. In addition, Lucy's beloved grandfather, Harry's condition is deteriorating. After an unsatisfactory reunion with her fiance, Lucy discovers a box containing Harry's medals from World War II, a photo of her English grandmother, Georgina, and some old letters. These make her realize just how lit ...more
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Multi award winning author, Barbara Hannay, is a city bred girl with a yen for country life. Most of her 50 plus books are set in rural and outback Australia and they've been enjoyed by readers around the world.

Barbara has been nominated five times for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award which she won in 2007 and she has twice won Australia's Romantic Book of the Year award.

In her own version