The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild #BlogTour #BookReview #ChickLit #20booksofsummer21

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on this blog tour.
When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything. Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild is a dual timeline story that will warm your heart as you think about relatives who lived during WWII and wonder about their stories that they never told.

I particularly enjoyed the WWII timeline in the novel. It instantly drew me in and kept me wanting to know what happened next as the story broke away to the future and then back again. I kept thinking about my grandparents, who lived during that time and were young married couples when both of my grandfathers were drafted and deployed, and what they must have gone through but never talked about. War stories are almost always a good reminder about what is essential in life and not to take things or people for granted.

I also enjoyed the diary format of the 1940’s timeline. I gained so much insight into Molly’s heart and mind in just a few entries which was enough to relate to her and take her story into my heart. She is my favorite character in the novel as I enjoyed her strength of character and her willingness to grab on to all that is good in life and never let go.

Unfortunately, the contemporary story with Izzie and Justin did not have the same kind of pull for me as the historical one. However, I did enjoy how the two stories intertwined and brought Molly to life in ways just a single timeline could never have done. Izzie is Molly’s granddaughter, and she lived with her grandparents during her teen years, so her reflections about her grandmother and their time together added dimension to the story in ways Izzie and Justin’s romance could not.

If you are looking for an engaging and beautifully written tale about love and loss and, of course, secrets, The Secret Notebook has it and more!

Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication.

Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.

After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle.

Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.

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Twitter: @juliawildauthor

Instagram: juliawildauthor


14 Replies to “The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild #BlogTour #BookReview #ChickLit #20booksofsummer21”

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this one for the most part, Tessa. I too wonder about what stories we never learned from our grandparents. Both my grandfather and grandmother on my moms side were in WWII and I don’t even completely understand what my grandmother’s role was.

    This is one I’m going to plan on reading. It’s too bad the modern timeline wasn’t as captivating. That’s happened to me before too. Excellent review! 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The current timeline does have some great twists, which I enjoyed. It just felt like I was thrown into it rather than have it develop as the story unfolded.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy dual timeline stories. I’ve read this kind of format before (diaries) and quickly became all wrapped up in the story. Sorry the present timeline didn’t hold your interest as much.

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    1. I think it is a great style, too. There’s just something special about getting to read the innermost thoughts of a character.

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  3. This sounds so interesting. Both my parents served in England during WWII, and my father never talked about his time served in the Royal Marines, and my mother kind of sugar-coated her time in the service. So, this would be an interesting book for me. I’ve had my eye on it and your review is making me want to read it even more.

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    1. The only story that was ever told in my family was that my grandfather got to meet Gypsy Rose Lee when she visited the shop he was stationed on. And that is it. It makes a person want to know more about that time. ❤️

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  4. Oooh, I love dual timelines! I have found that in most cases, I’m usually enamored of one (past or present) over the other, but I love when an author weaves them together for a seamless ending. I really need to read some books set during WWII.
    Great review, Tessa!

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