NetGalley Review - The Secret Life of Winnie Cox

The Secret Life of Winnie Cox - Sharon Maas

If I’m completely honest, I was slightly apprehensive about this book. I absolutely love the front cover. One of my favourite covers this year. It evoked so much emotion in me, that I feared the book itself would be a disappointment. I’m really pleased to announce that I also loved the beautifully written story behind the cover.

This is both a sad and beautiful tale of forbidden love. I felt Winnie’s excitement and my heart ached for George in the way I imagined Winnie’s did. The struggles they faced were heart-breaking, and made me realise how lucky we are in modern day Britain to have the freedom to love who we choose, regardless of class and colour.

This book made me cry at times. I read it with a heavy heart, as I was taken deep into a world that must have been awful for the African and Indian people. It is always sad to hear things about conditions like this on the news or in a history lesson, but a novel makes you become a part of that world. You are no longer just a witness to past events, but living and feeling those events each time you pick up that book.

It’s funny how I didn’t enjoy history at school, and chose to do geography instead of history for GCSE, yet I often gravitate towards historical fiction. I’ve probably learnt more about history through historical fiction than school or documentaries. Mind you, I’m not sure what that says about my historical knowledge. I feel this book has opened my eyes and heart to something I knew very little about before.

I had a hunger to know more, and the desire to delve deeper into the story, so would have enjoyed a little more focus on the story being told from the point of view of the workers. Perhaps I’ll discover more in the future books.

I'm probably most like Winnie, and could definitely see my younger sisters in Yoyo, as they’ve always been more outgoing and confident than me. I did sometimes get irritated by Winnie’s reckless behaviour, but I think that just acted as a reminder of her young age and lack of worldly wisdom.

I had mixed feeling about Winnie’s mother. She grew on me as I read more of her diary, but I still have conflicting feelings about her not being there for her daughters.

Although I read this story with a heavy heart, I have been left with a feeling of hope. I thought it was a good ending despite it being the first in a trilogy. I had no idea it was part of a trilogy until the last page, so I was a little surprised, but also relieved, as I felt the story had more to give. I can’t wait to read the second book next year.

I would like to thank the publisher, Bookouture for allowing me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.