S.P. Mount's Reviews > Secrets in the Shadows

Secrets in the Shadows by Heige S. Boehm
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read April 10, 2020.

The telling of this coming of age story was a rare and refreshing treat. It depicts, through a unique lens, a side of WWII from the perspective of innocent boys carried away by a false sense of glory at the prospect of serving their country–until reality sets in.

Right off the bat I was transported into the colourful village and everydayness of not just the main characters’ lives, but the storekeepers, the mailman, the farmers…. I felt the rush of excitement, wonder, anticipation and naivety of two boys eager to proudly serve their country as part of the Hitler Youth Organisation while still living in a familial environment and getting up to hijinks… until it all turns sour.

Written in English, nonetheless, one can’t help hearing the myriad of characters as being German; their dialogue authentically delightful, their innocence captured perfectly as we get a true, beautifully descriptive insight into ordinary family life as the onset of the horror of war starts to change everything.

The beauty of the characterisation doesn’t fall short either when, inevitably, the ugly nature of otherwise regular people turned authoritarian emerges to juxtapose the sweet innocence of the story at the beginning of the book–a father, a schoolteacher and other youth whose newfound honour transforms them unrecognisably through a misguided sense of power as the story progresses and turns dreams to nightmares. A time when pride turns to prejudice, innocence to guilt, and a sense of honour, re-evaluated.

One is impressed by the meticulous research, and indeed, an admirable list of acknowledgements indicates just how much. But more, it is evident this story has been told from the personal insight of the author through family connections, and one can just tell, an insight that is very dear to the heart.

A wonderfully uplifting, yet heartbreaking story for young adult and older readers alike.
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Reading Progress

March 7, 2020 – Started Reading
March 14, 2020 – Finished Reading
April 10, 2020 – Started Reading
April 10, 2020 – Shelved
April 10, 2020 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Heige (new)

Heige Boehm S.P. Mount, thank you for a wonderful review. It warms my heart to know that you enjoyed Secrets in the Shadows.

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