cover image The Secret Society of Salzburg

The Secret Society of Salzburg

Renee Ryan. Love Inspired, $16.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-369-72221-8

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. (Dec.)