The Secret Sister, a review by Kristin

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The Secret Sister
By: Liz Trenow

Publication Date: April 3, 2023
Published By: Bookouture
300 pages

Find It On: Amazon | Goodreads

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Lizzie tried to put herself into her brother’s shoes, imagining how she might feel facing those same dangers he’d witnessed. Scared as anything, she thought. But if that was what was needed to win the war, she’d do it. As she looked at herself in the mirror, wearing her brother’s coat, she knew in that moment what she must do to protect him.

England, 1944: As Lizzie looks around her twin brother’s room, she’s in a state of shock. In the middle of the night Ed vanished, leaving no forwarding address. Lizzie knows that he was tormented daily by what he witnessed at Dunkirk four years before, helping his father steer their tiny boat to rescue thousands of injured soldiers. He was never the same after that.

Then, Ed’s call-up letter arrives. Instead of being assigned to one of the forces, he’s been told to report for work at a coal mine – one of fifty thousand ‘Bevin boys’ chosen to help produce the fuel to power the nation through the war. If he fails to turn up he will be arrested and tried as a deserter. Staring at his abandoned clothes and knowing how alike they are, Lizzie realises there is a way to save him.

Arriving for training, she meets a fellow Bevin boy named Peter and is instantly drawn to his quiet, thoughtful nature, so unlike the other men who share her dormitory. And as the two start to adapt to their new lives underground, they develop a strong bond.

Lizzie knows the risks she is taking to save her brother. If she grows too close to Peter her secret will almost certainly be revealed, and they will both be imprisoned. But with the war raging and her beloved country at risk, how much is Lizzie prepared to sacrifice to save those she loves the most?

A completely gripping and heart-breaking story of love, courage and a sister’s sacrifice which shines a light on the forgotten heroes of World War Two. Perfect for fans of The Alice Network, The Nightingale and anything by Rhys Bowen.


What a fantastic book! The first thing I thought after reading this book is that this absolutely needs to be made into a movie. While this book does take place during WWII, it doesn’t focus on the fighting aspect; it focuses on the aspect of what it was like in Great Britain when someone was being called up to fight in the war. It is always interesting to learn something new about the war, and I learned something new with this book. I did not know about the Bevin Boys and the coalmining efforts that were used to help during the war. The author did such a great job with telling this fictional story around that historic aspect. It was nice to see the bond between Lizzie and her twin brother, Ed. The fact that she would do anything for him to keep him out of trouble was a strong testament to their relationship. The whole story was beautiful, and I really enjoyed reading it. This is the perfect book for anyone who likes historical fiction.




Liz Trenow is a former journalist who spent fifteen years working for regional and national newspapers and BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to writing historical fiction. The Secret Sister is her tenth novel. Previous titles have reached the USA Today and NY Times best seller lists, and been nominated for national awards. They are published all over the world, translated into many languages. Liz lives in East Anglia with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughters and three beautiful grandchildren. Find out more at or join her on Facebook or Twitter @liztrenow.


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