'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 9 April 2021

Review: Heroes of the Secret Underground

This is a fast-paced time-slip adventure. Louie lives with her brothers, Ted and Bert, in the Majestic hotel run by their elegant, elderly grandparents in Sydney in the year 2000.

Louie meets a ghostly girl, Naomi who guides her to an old rose gold locket, seemingly abandoned on the street. 

It's a beautiful piece, decorated with mysterious symbols, and Louie recognises it as precious, but she is accused of stealing it by the anti-Semitic Mrs Tulip.

The locket draws her and the boys to Budapest, 1944, during winter in World War 2.

The children meet Naomi in person, as well as other people whose stories they know from photographs in their grandparents' collection. 

They also meet their own grandparents as children, living in fear of the Nazis who are consolidating their hold on the hapless Jewish population.

The locket links the two time streams.

The children witness the locket getting snatched from their child-grandmother's neck by a Nazi lieutenant who has taken a fancy to it. Louie decides to risk her life by tracking the locket down and reclaiming this valuable family heirloom. 

Louie, Bert and Teddy, with the help of Naomi, face dangers and become separated in the war-torn city. But they also meet brave people who risk their lives to save those of others.

The children need to dig deep into their resourcefulness and courage in order to right one wrong, and learn about the courage and resourcefulness of those who came before them.

A child of refugees herself, the author Susanne Gervay was inspired by family history in wartime Budapest to bring this story to life. A poignant and vibrant story.

Title: Heroes of the Secret Underground
Author: Susanne Gervay
Publisher: Harper Collins, $16.99
Publication Date: 7th April, 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781460758335
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction