What Only We Know by Catherine Hokin

I’m so pleased to be part of the book tour today for this wonderful book. Thanks so much to Bookouture for the copy of the book and invitation to be part of the tour.

Book Description:
A door slammed and the unmistakable sound of boots came crashing up the hall. Liese held her little daughter’s hand so tightly, the tiny fingers had turned purple. The SS officer’s hand was at Liese’s throat before she saw him move. ‘I can kill you easily, then I can kill your daughter.’ He relaxed his grip a little. ‘Or perhaps I could kill her first?’

England, forty years later. When Karen Cartwright is unexpectedly called home to nurse her ailing father, she goes with a heavy heart. The house she grew up in feels haunted by the memory of her father’s closely guarded secrets about her beautiful dressmaker mother Elizabeth’s tragic suicide years before.

As she packs up the house, Karen discovers an old photograph and a stranger’s tattered love letter to her mother postmarked from Germany after the war.
During her life, Karen struggled to understand her shy, fearful mother, but now she is realising there was so much more to Elizabeth than she knew. For one thing, her name wasn’t even Elizabeth, and her harrowing story begins long before Karen was born.

It’s 1941 in Berlin, and a young woman called Liese is being forced to wear a yellow star…

A beautiful and gripping wartime story about family secrets and impossible choices in the face of terrible hardship. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones and The Alice Network.

My Review:

I knew this book would be wonderful, having read this author’s previous book, but it exceeded my expectations. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and a very special book.

I really loved the dual timelines. I found Liese’s story so moving and so compelling. Then Karen tries to unravel the story, and it all begins to come together.

A lot of books set in this era focus on the English experience of the war. This is different. Here, we see what it was like for those in Germany who were hated simply because of their religion. Families like Liese’s, who were not even practicing Jews, and who lived a very comfortable life, were labelled, and everything they had was taken from them.

There are some truly sad, and even shocking, moments in this book, made even more poignant by the fact that these are based on reality.

I found the era that Karen is in very interesting too, as great changes are happening in the world, and Germany in particular.

A beautifully written, truly special book, which will stay with me for a long time.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author Bio:
Catherine Hokin is a Glasgow-based author writing both long and short fiction. Her short stories have been placed in competition (including first prize in the 2019 Fiction 500 Short Story Competition) and published by iScot, Writers Forum and Myslexia. She blogs on the 22nd of each month as part of The History Girls collective.
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