From London to Tobruk to Australia to New Britain to Cornwall to Australia and then back to Cornwall and back to Australia again, The Secret Years follows a difficult yet heart-warming journey that spans years and continents.
After an intriguing prologue we are introduced to Lucy, a soldier on a return flight from Afghanistan heading home to Townsville. She hopes to start planning her wedding but after arriving her fiancé changes her mind; he can’t handle her job with the army while he has – for all intents and purposes – a desk job. That’s not the end of it as her mother, who has jumped from one rocky relationship to the next her entire life, has moved in with a man who this time around seems perfect; and that makes her all the more nervous about messing it up.
Lucy’s mother’s uncomfortable (to say the least) relationship with her own father has overshadowed her entire life, with secrets left untold.
Lucy finds an old letter with a photograph of a stunning young woman who turns out to be Lucy’s grandmother, affectionately called George. The letter could help uncover the secrets from the past and from her Mother’s reaction to the letter, Lucy discovers it won’t be easy playing detective. So Lucy sets off to England where it all started; during WWII her Grandfather fell head-over-heels in love with George, a beautiful aristocratic English woman who in turn loved him immeasurably.
While there Lucy finds out things that help set the record straight. We find out why her grandfather sent her own mother back there when she was a child after George had died. Why she was taken from the family’s home in outback Queensland?
Sorry, I have to stop typing out the entire plot; it was just such an awesome read.
The whole story brought tears to my eyes, particularly towards the end of the book.
I loved how she portrayed her female characters. Lucy, her mother and grandmother are strong women who love fiercely.
Barbara Hannay’s descriptions of the surrounding landscapes are also stunning. You feel the heat of Queensland and the bitterly yet magical cold weather of Cornwall.
But what I think I loved most about this story was how easy it was to relate to, how universal the themes are. Everyone experiences heartbreak and regret, and forgiveness is truly a powerful wake-up call…
by Barbara Hannay
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When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather Harry’s World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as ‘George’ and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy’s family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.
How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love with the Honourable Georgina Lenton of London and persuade her to move to his isolated outback property? And why are the effects of this encounter still reverberating in the lives of Lucy and her mother, Rose, now? As the passions of the past trickle more…