The Secret Society of Salzburg
From the author of The Widows of Champagne, and inspired by true events, comes a gripping and heartwrenching story of two very different women united to bring light to the darkest days of World War II.
At first glance, Austrian opera singer Elsa Mayer-Braun has little in common with the young English typist she encounters on tour. Yet she and Hattie Featherstone forge an instant connection—and strike a dangerous alliance. Using their friendship as a cover, they form a secret society with a daring goal: to rescue as many Jews as possible from Nazi persecution.
Though the war’s outbreak threatens Elsa and Hattie’s network, their efforts attract the covert attention of the British government, offering more opportunities to thwart the Germans. But Elsa’s growing fame as Hitler’s favorite opera singer, coupled with her secret Jewish ancestry, make her both a weapon and a target—until her future, too, hangs in the balance.
From the glamorous stages of Covent Garden and Salzburg to the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, two ordinary women swept up by the tide of war discover an extraordinary friendship—and the courage to save countless lives.
In the intense latest from Ryan (Opening His Holiday Heart), two women work to save the lives of Jewish refugees during WWII. In the mid-1930s, Londoner Hattie Featherstone, an aspiring artist, falls in love with opera after a chance encounter with Malvina Kremer-Lehman, a German expert on operatic history and the great-aunt of Elsa Mayer-Braun, a rising star in the music world. Hattie becomes a devoted fan of Elsa's and introduces herself to the singer after spotting her on the street. The two strike up a close friendship as portents of war loom over England. After Elsa realizes the threat the Nazi regime poses to Malvina, who is Jewish, back in Germany, she and Hattie build a network to rescue as many Jewish people as possible. Then, in 1943, Elsa is arrested moments before a performance in Austria, raising suspicion of betrayal—possibly by her husband, a Nazi sympathizer. Hattie and Elsa must rely on their Christian belief that "God was ultimately in control" to make it through the war. Though the early stages of Elsa and Hattie's friendship feel rushed, this powerfully blends ruminations on the importance of art with acute depictions of Nazi cruelty. The result is a rousing historical.