The Perfect Combination of Great Historical Fiction and a Thriller: Review of Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates

The Perfect Combination of Great Historical Fiction and a Thriller: Review of Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates

Gripping. Tense. Mysterious. Inheritance of Secrets links the crimes of the present to the secrets of the past and asks how far would you go to keep a promise?

Eighty-four-year-old Karl Weiss and his wife Grete are found murdered in their home in suburban Adelaide. Granddaughter Juliet is left distraught and at a loss to explain who would do such a thing and why? When police discover the ring Karl always wore is missing – a ring that was given to him by war-time friend Hans Whemar – Juliet suspects there may be a connection.

Soon after, Juliet’s sister Lily resurfaces, she has the ring and has gone into hiding. Lily has had a tumultuous relationship with her grandparents. Could her sister have been involved in this horrific crime? When it becomes clear to Juliet that she is being followed and that someone is determined to make sure the past is forgotten, she takes things into her own hands.

Threaded through Juliet’s story is that of her grandfather Karl Weiss, who Post WW2 fled his home country for a new start. Karl Weiss boarded the Fairsea with Hans to immigrate to Australia where he arrived with a small bag, a very big secret and a promise that he finds hard to keep.

Author Sonya Bates skilfully weaves the history of Europe in the 1950s with a current day mystery in Adelaide, Australia. Written from the perspective of Juliet and Karl, dual timelines allow for a gradual unwinding of this great historical fiction and thriller.

Interestingly the character of Karl was inspired by author Sonya Bates’s own father, a German soldier during World War 2, who was drafted and went to war after his 18th birthday. He went to the front and was in a POW camp, survived the war and then emigrated to America in the 1950s.

Her father didn’t talk about these events in his life but as Sonya got older, she started to think about the impact that they must have had on him and that was the starting point for the fictional Karl.

I thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced thriller aspect of the book but what really makes it shine is the history that underpins the plot. The characters of Karl and Grete are beautifully imagined and their rich history heart-warming to share in. Inheritance of Secrets is also an exploration of loyalty, friendship and family and the challenges of making the right decision.

Sonya Bates is a Canadian writer who has lived in South Australia since 1997 and while this is her debut adult novel, she has written several children’s books. Inheritance of Secrets was shortlisted as an unpublished manuscript in the inaugural Banjo Prize in 2018. Compared to Jane Harper’s The Dry meets Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this book definitely lives up to that praise! I highly recommend.

 

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          Publisher details

          Inheritance of Secrets
          Author
          Sonya Bates
          Publisher
          HarperCollins
          Genres
          Fiction, Thriller
          Released
          20 April, 2020
          ISBN
          9781460757857

          Synopsis

          A brutal murder. A wartime promise. A quest for the truth. Kate Furnivall meets Caroline Overington in a gripping, page-turning mystery.No matter how far you run, the past will always find you.Juliet's elderly grandparents are killed in their Adelaide home. Who would commit such a heinous crime - and why? The only clue is her grandfather Karl's missing signet ring.When Juliet's estranged sister, Lily, returns in fear for her life, Juliet suspects something far more sinister than a simple break-in gone wrong. Before Juliet can get any answers, Lily vanishes once more.Juliet only knew Karl Weiss as a loving grandfather, a German soldier who emigrated to Australia to build a new life. What was he hiding that could have led to his murder? While attempting to find out, Juliet uncovers some disturbing secrets from WWII that will put both her and her sister's lives in danger ...Gripping. Tense. Mysterious. Inheritance of Secrets links the crimes of the present to the secrets of the past and asks how far would you go to keep a promise?
          Sonya Bates
          About the author

          Sonya Bates

          Sonya Bates is a Canadian writer who has made South Australia her home since 1997. She studied linguistics at the University of Victoria before obtaining a masters degree in speech-language pathology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Having worked with children with communication difficulties for over twenty-five years, she now enjoys sharing her knowledge with speech pathology students as a part-time clinical educator. When her two daughters were young, she started writing for children and has published several children's books. Her debut adult novel, Inheritance of Secrets, was shortlisted as an unpublished manuscript in the inaugural Banjo Prize in 2018.

          Books by Sonya Bates

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