Secret Messenger- Book Review

Hello all!!!! I am back with another book review–historical fiction Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham

The Secret Messenger: The gripping new historical fiction novel for 2020 from the international bestseller by [Mandy Robotham]

The highly awaited new novel from the internationally bestselling author of The German Midwife (also published as A Woman of War).

Venice, 1943
The world is at war, and Stella Jilani is leading a double life. By day she works in the lion’s den as a typist for the Reich; by night, she risks her life as a messenger for the Italian resistance. Against all odds, Stella must impart Nazi secrets, smuggle essential supplies and produce an underground newspaper on her beloved typewriter.

But when German commander General Breugal becomes suspicious, it seems he will stop at nothing to find the mole, and Stella knows her future could be in jeopardy.

London, 2017
Years later, Luisa Belmont finds a mysterious old typewriter in her attic. Determined to find out who it belonged to, Luisa delves into the past and uncovers a story of fierce love, unimaginable sacrifice and, ultimately, the worst kind of betrayal…

Set between German-occupied 1940s Venice and modern-day London, this is a fascinating tale of the bravery of everyday women in the darkest corners of WWII, for readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

Pages:- 391 pages

Date Published :- December 2019

Genre:- Historical Fiction/Romance


black 4 star png - Clip Art Library
Mandy Robotham


I’ve been dreaming of writing of a book since the age of nine, when I read ‘Harriet the Spy’ and carried my notebook around the school playground trying to look interesting. I was waylaid, however, by journalism and children, which led me into midwifery, and more years away from my keyboard. But I’m immersed again in the world of words, having completed an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. Now I write about birth, death and anything else in between (when I’m not called out to birth with women in the small hours).

‘A Woman of War’ is my first novel, combining a continued passion for birth with a fascination for wartime history and the tenacity of the human soul – survival, regardless of culture or creed. It’s reception among readers worldwide has been beyond my wildest dreams; in the Kindle bestseller lists in the UK & Canada, and in paperback bestseller lists too.

My second novel – ‘The Secret Messenger’ – continues a wartime theme, this time in occupied Venice and charts the contribution of the thousands of courageous women to the Allies hard won victory. Now I’m researching and gathering for the next two novels with Avon Books/Harper Collins. Thanks to book lovers, I’m one happy little scribe.

In any spare time away from writing and babies, I’m a keen gym-goer, a knitter of what my children call ‘strange things’ (placentas included!), and pride myself on being Jack Savoretti’s number one fan.

I haven’t read her first book, German Midwife yet but I read this one, well it’s an audio book. In a nutshell, Louisa Belmont, who is recovering from her mother’s death finds an old typewriter in the attic along with the black and white photographs of her grandmother who lived in Italy during the war time. Louisa was curious to find about her grandmother’s background that she flies to Italy to find clues. Meanwhile, in 1944, during the Nazi occupation in Italy, Stella Jillani finds a job as a translator in the Reich Newspaper during the day, and at night, she is involved in the partisan movement that wants to overthrow the fascist regime.

So I will tell you about my thoughts in point form.

  • The story was fascinating particularly the parts about Stella as we discover that she is living a double life. As a reader, you are worried if Stella will get caught or not by the Nazis soon.
  • The vivid descriptions about Italy and the life during the war gives the reader some glimpses about what the life in Italy was like during the war, particularly when you are working as a partisan. As a reader, I felt like I was Stella living during the 1940’s in Italy.
  • I also like Stella’s relationships with her parents, her brother who is also involved in the resistance movement like her, her best friend Mili and of course a co-worker named Christian De Luca who is a fascist.
  • The ending was interesting, particularly the unexpected twist, though to be honest, I kind of expected that twist.
  • I have never been to Italy, Venice so while reading the book, I felt like I was in Venice.
  • Some parts of the book, particularly the first parts of the book was boring.
  • I think I liked the author’s style of writing in the book that kept the reader intrigued and interested into the story. I am not sure however how much the author has done research about the history.

Overall, this is a good and emotional historical fiction book. For those who are interested in reading World War II era, I recommend this book. Worth four stars!!

Favorite character:- Stella Jillani

Least favorite character:- None in my opinion

Quotes:- None

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