The Secret Society of Salzburg by Renee Ryan is a brilliant story, loosely based on the true story of two women who took it upon themselves to risk their lives saving people during Hitler’s regime. This riveting plot will have you immediately immersed in the lives the two women, Elsa Mayer-Braun, an up-and-coming European opera singer and Hattie Featherstone, an English civil worker who aspires to become a famous painter. A chance meeting between the two will change both their lives forever as well as some Jewish families who were able to escape Hitler and find freedom because of the two.
When Hattie hears a recording of an opera Elsa sang, she is immediately moved. She also begins to find her painting style changing. Then she and her sister are able to go to a concert together to witness that beautiful voice in person, and a friendship is born.
As their friendship progresses, as does Hitler’s hold. Hattie has an experience on a train in which she sees a Jewish couple humiliated and then dragged away. She will never forgive herself for not trying to do something to help them. Elsa (who herself has a hidden Jewish heritage which only her husband is aware) is having a personal reaction to what is going on. Her aunt who is part Jewish is trapped in a country in which she is not welcomed and in danger. Elsa must figure out how to get her aunt to safety. She does this with Hattie’s help and thus begins their secret society.
What ends up happening is this “secret” becomes very popular and as Elsa and Hattie try to help as many as they can, they need a bit of help. That’s when they meet a British gentleman who owns an art gallery, and their plan is secured.
But unfortunately for Elsa, her husband begins to align himself with Hitler and puts her in the position of having to sing for him. She becomes Hitler’s favorite singer. Hating herself for that and for her husband’s alliance she feels she is at her breaking point.
Suddenly something goes terribly wrong. Elsa’s life is in jeopardy and Hattie must try and save her. But Hattie is in England. With all their success in helping people find the safety and security and freedom they needed, Hattie feels helpless to do the same for Elsa.
In the Secret Society of Salzburg, these two courageous women who are strong willed and selfless, take on a nation and a man filled with hate and endanger their own lives to save people they don’t even know. A wonderfully engrossing story with a powerful message.
About the author: Multi-published, award-winning author Renee Ryan grew up in Florida. She’s written nearly thirty books in several genres, including historical fiction, historical romance and contemporary romance. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and a large cat many have mistaken for a small bear. To learn more about Renee, visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website, www.ReneeRyan.com.
· “This story, told from various points in time during the 1930s and ’40s, will not disappoint lovers of Ryan’s previous novel, The Widows of Champagne (2021). The setting of opera and art houses of a bygone era gives this book a special appeal to classical music and art enthusiasts. The novel also contains a chaste romance and hints of spirituality that will appeal to those looking for a clean, historical love story.” –Booklist
· “…this (story) powerfully blends ruminations on the importance of art with acute depictions of Nazi cruelty. The result is a rousing historical.” –Publishers Weekly
· A Costco pick!
Thank you #NetGalley #Harlequin #ReneeRyan #TheSecretSocietyofSalzburg for the advanced copy. The book comes out today, so get a copy fast!