Publisher: One More Chapter [Harper Collins UK]
Release date: 12 January 2024
Back cover blurb: Sisters. Traitors. Spies. When a British RAF Whitley plane comes under fire over the French coast and is forced to drop their cargo, a spy messenger pigeon finds its way into unlikely hands… The occupation has taken much from the Cotillard sisters, and as the Germans increase their forces in the seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Gabriella, Martine and Simone can’t escape the feeling that the walls are closing in. Yet, just as they should be trying to stay under the radar, Martine’s discovery of a British messenger pigeon leads them down a new and dangerous path. Gaby would do anything to protect her sisters but when the pianist is forced to teach the step-daughter of a German Commandant, and the town accuses the Cotillards of becoming ‘Bad French’ and in allegiance with the enemy, she realizes they have to take the opportunity to fight back that has been handed to them. Now, as the sisters’ secrets wing their way to an unknown contact in London, Gaby, Martine and Simone have to wonder – have they opened a lifeline, or sealed their fate?
The Secret Pianist is another brilliant historical fiction novel by Andie Newton. Loosely based on real life events around the use of homing pigeons by the British Security Services during WW2.
I had a vague understanding of pigeon usage by the British during WW2 but had no idea of the extent or real purpose of the operation.
When an RAF Whitley plane is forced to ditch its cargo of pigeons over the seaside town of Boulogne-Sur-Mer rather than the intended drop zone it sets into motion a series of events that have unexpected consequences and not just for the British.
When Martine Cotillard finds the pigeon, her sisters think she is mad for wanting to use it, they know that she has been involved with the resistance, but think it is too dangerous to get involved to a much deeper level.
But Martine isn't one to take no for an answer, and so Gaby and Simone reluctantly agree to send a message. They are scared of the Germans that have invaded their lives so brutally, and are determined to do anything that they can to fight back.
At the receiving end of their message is Guy, the intelligence officer in charge of the pigeon operation who sometimes has a hard time convincing his superiors of the usefulness of the birds. He is delighted to receive the message containing important information that could help the Brits and help him validate his operation.
And so begins a whirlwind adventure with three sisters at the heart trying to save the country that they love from permanent invasion. But will they succeed, and why is the novel called the secret pianist.. well that's a secret of course, you'll need to read for yourself to find out, and you will definitely enjoy doing so!
The Secret Pianist is available to pre-order now via Amazon online and all good book shops.
Thank you to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.