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Tuesday 23 January 2024

The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton

 Graphic showing the blog tour banner for The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton, reviewed at Is This Mutton.com

Dear friends.  I'm thrilled to bring you today's book review and spotlight. I loved The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton, and I'm sure you will too. 

Publisher's Description

When a British RAF Whitley plane comes under fire over the French coast and is forced to drop its cargo, a spy messenger pigeon finds its way into unlikely hands: the Cotillard sisters.

The occupation has taken much from the three 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?

Cover of the book The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton, featured on Is This Mutton.com

My Thoughts

To start with I thought this was going to be a romance, which is not my bag. But I'm so glad I kept going because I loved the book!  

The story is actually based on true events. The writer tells us her inspiration came from the Debaillie family of Lichtervelde, Belgium, who had a pigeon and then had to decide what to do with it. 

Like the Debaillies, the Cotillard sisters had differing ideas about what constituted patriotism. They had to leave Paris in a hurry, we learn, because of the company they were keeping. Backed into a corner by the German Commandant, which leads to them being ostracised as "Bad French," they agree to use their pigeon to send intelligence to the British. 

It seems their intelligence has been well received, but events start to spiral out of control. There's a gripping tension around a music concert. And even more thrills as the sisters run for their lives.

Is This Mutton reads The Secret Pianist on her Kindle on a train in London

There are some very memorable characters in the book. The three sisters are all very different. They're modern and ahead of their time for a quiet town in wartime. 

There's the German captain, who moves into the adjoining apartment much to their distress. The girls are very suspicious of him and imagine he is overhearing their conversations and reporting them. 

Then therere's the mother of 9 year old piano prodigy Lauren. She is usually seen wafting about in a peignoir and is having an affair with the Commandant. She surprises us. As does one of their nosiest neighbours,  whom they suspect of being a collaborator.  

British intelligence agent Guy, who owns the pigeon program, considers the Cotillards his agents.  The method used by the girls to confirm their identity leads the lonely Guy to wonder about Gabriella. 

There are a couple of happy endings but we welcome them after all the girls have been through. 

Uplifting and heart warming. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources, the author and publishers for the advance copy.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon CA 

About the Author

Andie Newton is the USA Today bestselling author of A Child for the Reich, The Girls from the Beach, The Girl from Vichy, and The Girl I Left Behind. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her family. When she’s not writing gritty war stories about women, you can usually find her trail-running in the desert and stopping to pet every Yellow Lab or Golden Retriever that crosses her path. Andie is actively involved with the reading and writing community on social media. You can follow her on X (Twitter) @andienewton and Instagram, or check out her author page on Facebook.

Social Media Links 

Publisher links:

One More Chapter: TwitterX   Instagram

HarperCollinsUK:  Twitter   Instagram

HarperCollins360 US:   TwitterX    Instagram

I hope you enjoyed this book review.  Find more book spotlights and reviews below.


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