Review: ‘Rachel’s Secret’ by Shelly Sanders

I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘Rachel’s Secret’ by Shelly SandersRachel's Secret by Shelly Sanders
Series: The Rachel Trilogy #1
Published by Second Story Press on April 1st, 2012
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Pages: 241
Format: Paperback
Source: requested from publisher
Rachel, a Jew, and Sergei, a Christian, find their worlds torn apart by violence in pre-revolutionary Russia...

Rachel is a Jew living in Kishinev, Russia. At fourteen, Rachel knows that she wants more from life than the traditional role of wife and mother. She has dreams of being a writer. But everything is put on hold when a young Christian man is murdered and Rachel is forced to keep the murderer’s identity a secret. Tensions mount as the Christians’ distrust of the Jews is fueled by prejudice and rumour.

While Rachel keeps the truth to herself, she watches as lies and anti-Jewish propaganda leap off the pages of the local newspaper, inciting Christians to riot against the Jews. Violence breaks out on Easter Sunday, 1903, and when it finally ends, Rachel finds that the person she loves most is dead and that her home has been destroyed. As she struggles to survive the aftermath of the riots – or pogroms – support comes from someone totally unexpected, when a young Christian named Sergei turns against his father, a police officer complicit in the riots, to help Rachel.

With everything against them, the two young people find comfort in the bond that is growing between them, one of the few signs of goodness and hope in a time of chaos and violence.

The Book DepositoryChapters/IndigoGood Reads



Rachel, a teenage Jew lives in Russia at the start of the 20th Century. After witnessing her Christian friend’s murder, she decides to keep it a secret to keep her family from harm. After the Jewish community is blamed for her friend’s death, tensions mount and an all out hate war explodes.

What I found the most remarkable about Rachel’s Secret is that this book is based on real-life events. Truth be told, I was a little shaken after reading this. So much anger, so much hate, I couldn’t believe it. Because someone is from a certain religion, they turn to hate and part blame.

Rachel being our main protagonist was a great character. I felt her emotions, and her actions to be clearly justified. Her loss from losing her friend, to all the horrible things that happen in the end. My heart felt for her. Just imagine your entire world and life ripped from you in one day. By people who were your neighbours. It’s sickening and saddening at the same time.

I felt the pacing to definitely be on point. It was very fast and I was never bored. The character arc and development needed a lot of work because l thought the emphasis on their progress was weak. Wonderful glossary in the back because there were a lot of Jewish words I didn’t know. It helped immensely.

A must-read for any historical fiction fan or those who love mysteries, Rachel’s Secret is just for you.


My mother always said, look to how a boy treats his mother to see how he’ll treat you one day. (145)

reading progress





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