Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret Orphan” as Want to Read:
The Secret Orphan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret Orphan

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  13,146 ratings  ·  909 reviews
Keep her secret

Keep her safe

On the 14th November 1940, Hitler’s bombs rain down on Coventry. From the rubble of a bombed-out family home, a young girl is saved … but at what cost?

This is a stunning and memorable page-turner of love, loss and resilience for fans of Orphan Train and The Secret Wife

As the Nazis’ relentless bombs fall during the Blitz of Coventry, six-year-ol
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 18th 2018 by One More Chapter (first published November 9th 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secret Orphan, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Maggie Here on the West Coast, (USA) many Japanese were sent to camps, because they were considered "enemy" even though many were American born. In England, …moreHere on the West Coast, (USA) many Japanese were sent to camps, because they were considered "enemy" even though many were American born. In England, any Germans would have been treated with suspicion & hostility. That is War.(less)
Joseph November 27, 2020: You can buy this for your Kindle for $0.99.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,146 ratings  ·  909 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Secret Orphan
Shirley Revill
The night of 14th of November 1940 was one the people of Coventry will never forget. 515 German bombers targeted the city a bombers moon their guiding light. The city was devastated with a great loss of life,this however did not daunt the brave people of Coventry. They remained determined that Britain would be forever free.

The story starts with the air raid on Coventry in 1940. Rose was only six years old at the time now she is celebrating her 85th birthday. Rose is sat at the piano and her moth
Feb 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
I don't understand all the glowing reviews of this book. Did I read a first draft, or something?

There seemed to be some good plot points there, but the whole story was just put together really strangely. It lurched along from one idea to the next, none of them being fully rendered. I kept scrolling back, thinking I'd missed the resolution or explanation of something that was hinted at, only to realize that no, there really was no more information.

In addition to a developmental editor, the book a
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gripping? Hardly. A very mediocre book. Just when you expected something to happen it was resolved without any conflict whatsoever. I couldn't wait for the book to end and only finished it because I paid good money for it. ...more
Jean St.Amand
May 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Ok, I'm just going to be blunt. This book was stupid. The characters were not the slightest bit believable. Elenor had been treated like crap by her father and brothers her entire life, and yet somehow when she went to live with her Aunt instead of still being the beaten down person she always had been, she became very assertive when dealing with George, who was basically Chuckie the potential wife beater...yet, whenever Elenor, who he neither liked nor respected, bossed him around, he listened ...more
Ok... so I have to commend anyone who can sit down and write a novel. It takes time and effort. That being said, how the actual fuck did this get published as is?

No seriously, how? And how are the reviews so positive? The writing is bad, the pace is choppy, I actually thought a couple of times that I had a book that was missing pages and the plot itself is just flat!

This book was like reading a first draft. It seemed as though no one had bothered to edit or review it prior to sending it to print
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed about 3/4 of the book. It had interesting characters, and Elenor's story was very engrossing. However, the dialogue bothered me since it did not strike me as authentic for the times and used terms like "being proactive." When the book got to the "secret" part, the story really fell apart and if you gave it any thought, just didn't make sense. It was poorly formulated with many elements underdeveloped and poorly explained. Seriously, what was everyone so panicked about? Who would ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Flat characters, flat writing, and all the exciting parts are totally skimmed over. It seemed like it was leading to a big finale, but just sort of petered out. The ending was stupid. Over half of the book was described in the book description provided by the publisher, leaving little for the reader to actually discover. The editing was terrible.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I did NOT want the story to end. I was so invested in this story. I was so caught up until the last paragraph. I even exclaimed NO! I want more. I want to know more when they moved.
This is truly one of the best historical novels I've read. I actually felt like I was there. I was rooting for the young heroine. I love how she grew up quickly. I love how she took on the orpan and made her own. I love how she fought for her.
The story starts right before the WWII and into the WWII. The author drew me
May 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not good

Inconsistencies, made little sense & not worth your time. I kept thinking the book would get better but it didn't.
Darlene Schnatz
England during the blitz.

Interesting story. I think the character development could have been done better. I found the writing stilted and some things went totally without explanation.
There was a mention by Jackson that he had received a picture of a plane from Rose asking about the plane he flew. Rose said she did not send that. The matter was dropped there rather than used as a hint that Rose's father had ulterior motives.
Elenor left servants she did not like nor trust in charge of her home an
Susan A. Boe
Long and boring with a terrible ending . I can only believe all

the good reviews were fakes. I kept thinking it would get better but it never improved. Very disappointing. I would not recommend this book
booklover BEV
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

November 1940 Coventry England. Rose after her mummy Victoria dies in a bomb blast in stephenson road is only seven year's old. Her adoptive parents elenor and Jackson move to Cornwall then canada. On roses eighty fifth birthday she goes back in time to tell her family the story, that hold a secret elenor has kept for many years.I loved this book full of love family secrets that you won't expect to happen from start to finish
Hannah Nagle
The is one of the worst historical fiction novels I have ever read with the most miserable characters.

I truly could not have cared less about who lived or died.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous story that pulls you in and a lovely mix of charactors.Elenor goes to stay with her Aunt Maude and becomes entranced with Rose the daughter of her aunts housekeeper.To say there is a gripping plot is an understatement.I would recommend you read this book it is worthy of the 5* and more i loved it.
Megan Marie
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was terrible. The story was 100% predictable in every way. The love stories were unbelievable and not good. The writing was DISMAL and honestly I couldn’t get past it... even if the story hadn’t sucked, and even if there had been any attempt at character development, or even if there had been an ending that wasn’t just 5 pages of “look everything is fixed for literally no reason”, the writing would have killed this book for me.

I wish someone would “raise” this book to the ground. I kn
Sharon Huether
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Coventry, England 1940, a bomb leveled the home were six year old Rose, lived. Her parents were killed.
The only person Rose knew was Elenor Cardew, who had lived in the same house as Rose, with her elderly Aunt.
Elenor is at her farm in the Cornish area. Elenor has to protect Rose from the Nazis as well as a secret from her past.
Elenor's beau; a Canadian pilot Jackson St John find a way to protect Rose and each other.

Loved the story.
I hope to read more of this author's books.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book as a whole, but was expecting more after reading the blurb and the high rating. I thought it ended quite abruptly (notwithstanding the prologue). More could have been made of the ins and outs of Rose’s parents’ involvement in a spy ring. There are just too many unanswered vagaries to make the book truly memorable.
Tim Robinson
Book died before it ended

Did the author leave the arena? What a dud One chapter is supposed to wrap up the entire story? Yuck
Tina Woodbury
Elenor Cardew lives on the family farm in Cornwall, England with her twin brothers, Walter and James. Her aunt sends her a one-way ticket and requests that she come live with her in London. Initially she is hesitant, but the thought of getting away from her brothers, who treat her horribly, is quite appealing.

Elenor is a self-proclaimed country bumpkin and is now being thrust into life in the big city. Pair that with moving in with an aunt she hardly knows made for an interesting and somewhat hu
Anne OK
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
The cover art caught my eye immediately. I've had this WWII historical novel on my Kindle for quite some time, and though it takes place a few years before the actual D-Day battle, I decided to read it on the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy. The plot includes a light romance, a mysterious secret surrounding an eight-year old girl named Rose, and of course, wartime life during the bombing blitz on England. Suspicions surround the Sherbournes, Rose's parents keepi ...more
*Some spoilers. Mostly some questions.*

The premise of this book makes it sound like an interesting read but I can only give it 3 stars for several reasons - from the writing, to the plot, to the many, many pieces that made no sense. The writing in this book, both in the telling of the story and in the dialogue is so basic it feels as though the novel were written for a much younger audience. I honestly don’t really mind that as long as the story itself is good but if that style of writing bother
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

During the Blitz, when German bombs rained on parts of England, little six-year-old Rose Sherbourne finds herself orphaned. She becomes the ward of Elenor Cardew, who is determined to protect Rose at any cost - especially when Elenor discovers a devastating secret about Rose.

I loved this book. I love WW2 narratives, and this one was absolutely great.

Although the synopsis focuses on Rose, the real s
May 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The characters were 2 Dimensional.
Kimberly Mussell
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what historical fiction is all about! We see a bit of current day and then it goes back to the 1940's. During, before and after the Blitz.
Such a sweet little child who goes through so much heartbreak. Elenor is a character that I love reading about, strong and willful!
Nothing but praise for Glynis Peters! I am hoping that she either continues this story or gives us more of her imagination and style in another great novel.
Thank you NetGalley and HarperImpulse for this ARC copy in exchan
Y.I. Lee
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like historical novels and this was really good. The way the story started was riveting.
Poor little Rose caught in the bombing of Coventry. It was a bit like a story of two halves. It begins with Rose and then we meet Elenor. It was clever how the author pulled it all together.
I really enjoyed the story. It's well written with great characterisation. I loved the way it ended.
Leah Wood
Apr 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Poorly written, juvenile story. I’m not sure why I read the whole book - what a disappointment.
Lorrie Zahnen
Aug 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was so terrible. I don’t even want to spend time reviewing it. Avoid it!!!!
Linda Power
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Long and slow moving. Lots of inconsistencies
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The synopsis for THE SECRET ORPHAN had immediately grabbed my attention, and judging by the first chapter, it sounded like a book I would really enjoy. Chapter two – which should have been the epilogue – is dated November 2018; thankfully, from then on, the story follows a linear pattern, going back to 1938. I found the book description somewhat misleading, because the “secret” part really begins only in the last seventy percent of the story. Before that, it’s mostly about Elenor’s life in Coven ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The German Midwife
  • The Orphan Sisters
  • The Poppy Field
  • An Orphan’s War
  • When I Was Yours
  • Where Daffodils Bloom: Based on a True Story of Courage and Commitment During WWII
  • The Star and the Shamrock (The Star and the Shamrock #1)
  • The Hard Way Home (The Star and the Shamrock Book 3)
  • An Orphan’s Wish
  • The Victory Garden
  • Our Last Goodbye
  • The Emerald Horizon (The Star and the Shamrock #2)
  • Sisters of War
  • The Girl from Vichy
  • The Secret Messenger
  • The Child On Platform One: Inspired by the children who escaped the Holocaust
  • My Name is Eva
  • Broken Faces: A story of love, betrayal and hope
See similar books…
I write historical novels set in WWII Britain, and live by the sea in Essex.

One More Chapter / HarperCollins


Newsletter / Giveaway Opportunities

Related Articles

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
44 likes · 27 comments
“Chapter 1 14th November 1940: Coventry, England. Boom. Boom. The ground vibrated with each explosion. Unfamiliar sounds surrounded Rose Sherbourne as her body received blow after blow from displaced items of furniture. She jumped when shattering glass hit falling bricks, and everything around her crashed under their weight. Boom. Another explosion, followed by the sound of metal hitting metal, echoed out around Rose’s ears and her breath came thick and fast. Through the opening of what was once the front room, a sudden blast of hot air blew both her and her mother off their feet. Rose’s body fell against something hard and a searing pain shot through her back. For a few seconds she could not see, and she blinked, only to feel fine dust fall on her cheeks and into her eyes yet again. She wiped it away with the back of her hand and prepared herself to scrabble upright. Boom. A wall fell around her and, unable to move both with fear and because something was pinning down her right leg, Rose took a moment to catch her breath. Above her an intense whistling sound screamed from the sky, followed by an eerie whooshing sound. A continuous whistle followed. Rose held her breath.” 2 likes
“George killed. London. No funeral to attend. Rose coping well. Will write soon. Victoria.” 0 likes
More quotes…