Heather Marshall’s Latest Novel Champions the Courage of Women in War

Heather Marshall, author of the highly acclaimed (and one of my all-time favourite books) Looking For Jane, is back with a new historical fiction novel, The Secret History of Audrey James.  Marshall takes readers into the lives of two women – first, we meet Kate in 2010, who lives in the UK and is piecing together her upturned life when she takes a job near the Scottish border and meets her new boss, an elderly woman who has secrets of her own.

The other POV is Audrey, a young woman living in pre-WWII Berlin. Audrey’s character is based on the real life of Mona Parsons, a Canadian Nazi resistor, and the only Canadian female civilian victim to be imprisoned by the Nazis and one of the very few women who were tried by Nazi military tribunals after the war.  Through Audrey’s storyline we witness the building of Nazi power and oppression as Hitler gains strength and rumours of death camps become fact. Hitler’s hold on Germany impacts Audrey’s best friend, Ilse, who is forced to hide in her own attic while Nazi officers take over her home.

This is a compelling and poignant story of loss and love, resistance and sacrifice, the courage of women in war and a bit of mystery that will keep readers eagerly turning the page. I encourage you to read the author’s note at the back of the book that is filled with interesting tidbits and where Marshall also leaves a tease about the subject of her next book.

Laurie P.
Library Assistant, Eastside Branch

Laurie loves interacting with her library customers and seeing WPL’s newest branch become a vibrant community hub. As an avid reader, she enjoys giving book recommendations to customers and providing Readers’ Advisory training to WPL staff. She has a large personal library but often brings home an armful of library books by the end of her shifts. She loves reading physical books as well as using the Libby app to read eBooks or listen to digital audiobooks – particularly when she’s on a walk, hitting the gym or trying to make household chores more enjoyable. In her spare time, she is the book blogger behind The Baking Bookworm and reads voraciously in a variety of formats and genres – thrillers, contemporary fiction and CanLit being her favourites. She regularly attends author events, loves promoting public libraries and connecting with people about all things bookish – in English or American Sign Language (ASL).