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Book clubs  •  21 May 2021


Secrets My Father Kept book club notes

A captivating novel about love, sacrifice, secrets and resilience that's perfect for book club.

Set in Poland on the eve of the Second World War, Secrets My Father Kept is the gripping story of a young woman determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance and the dark secret from her father's past. Use the questions below to get the conversation started at your next book club meeting.

Discussion points and questions:

  • Rachel Givney has described Secrets My Father Kept as a feminist fairytale. What do you think she means by this? And what fairytale elements are there in the story?
  • Why is Marie so determined to find her mother? What is she really searching for?
  • When you first read that Marie wanted to convert to Judaism, what were your thoughts? Did she understand the risk she was taking? Was she being romantic or reckless?
  • ‘People only see what they want to see.’ How true do you think this is, both in life and in the context of the story?
  • Was Dominik right to keep the secret(s) he did? And was what he calls his ‘questionable deed’ worth it?
  • What did you think about Dominik and Johnny’s friendship? Do you think Johnny guessed the secret by the end?
  • What response did you have to the opposition Marie faces to her dream of becoming a doctor?
  • Why do you think the author chose to end the novel on the day World War II begins?
  • At the end of the story, war is at their doorstep and everything is changing. What do you think Dominik does next?
  • Compare what Ben says about being unable to change his religion with the decision Helena has to make.
  • What are the similarities and differences between Dominik and Marie?

Secrets My Father Kept Rachel Givney

Set in Poland on the eve of the Second World War, Secrets My Father Kept is the gripping story of a young woman determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance and the dark secret from her father's past.

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