Love, Sacrifice and Secrets: Read an Extract of Secrets My Father Kept by Rachel Givney

Love, Sacrifice and Secrets: Read an Extract of Secrets My Father Kept by Rachel Givney

As Marie prepared to break into her father’s bedroom, she felt a little pool of guilt well up inside her for betraying him. Her patriarch was a respected man in town who kept to himself, who attended church eight times a week (every morning and twice on Sundays). He possessed no interests besides the rapture of the holy sacrament, and studying the mating habits of bacteria. He did not deserve such disrespect from his only daughter. But, unfortunately, the burning desire to find something – anything – about her mother had reached an irrepressible level for Marie, and that Wednesday afternoon, when the rain made lovely fat spatters on the cobblestones outside, was as good a time as any to betray him.

People only see what they want to see. That’s what Marie’s father always told her. He rarely gave out fatherly advice; this was his one dabble in cliché. If you only acknowledged the narrowest purpose for a person or object, the world was a far smaller and less interesting place.

She wasn’t exactly sure what her father meant or why he liked to say it, but she would make use of this phrase now to break into his bedroom. She retrieved a hairpin from her blonde hair. She had no experience as a cat burglar, but Olaf, a local delinquent who caught the same tram as Marie on the days he chose to attend school, had bragged to her earlier that week that one could unpick a lock with a piece of thin metal. ‘Stick it in and jiggle,’ he’d boasted as he coughed on a cigarillo. Marie held up her strip of brass and smiled. Most people who owned a hair pin saw only an object for holding back their tresses. Now Marie saw different. She saw a key…

Continue reading the extract now…

Publisher details

Secrets My Father Kept
Rachel Givney
Historical Fiction
01 June, 2021


Set in Poland on the eve of the Second World War, Secrets My Father Kept is the gripping story of a young woman determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance and the dark secret from her father's past. Secrets My Father Kept is a captivating novel about love, sacrifice, secrets and resilience, as the clock inexorably ticks down to a devastating world war. It’s February 1939. As the Führer edges towards an invasion of Poland, total war looms in Europe. However in Krakow, seventeen-year-old Marie Karska’s primary concern is the unexplained disappearance of her mother fifteen years ago, and her father Dominik’s unbreakable silence on the matter. Even his wife’s name is a secret he guards closely. Dominik, a well-respected and innovative doctor at the local hospital, has devoted his life to caring for his only daughter. Yet a black fear haunts him - over the questionable act he committed to keep Marie safe. And with German troops now marching to the border, he needs to find her a husband. One who will protect her when he no longer can… But Marie has already met the man she wants to marry: her childhood friend Ben. She’s determined that his Jewish faith won’t stand in the way of their future together. And nor will her father’s refusal to explain the past stop her from unpicking his darkest secret. . .
Rachel Givney
About the author

Rachel Givney

Rachel Givney is a writer and filmmaker originally from Sydney, Australia (currently based in Melbourne). She has worked on Offspring, The Warriors, McLeod's Daughters, Rescue: Special Ops and All Saints. Her films have been official selections at the Sydney Film Festival, Flickerfest, Tropfest and many more.

Books by Rachel Givney


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