July 4 2021
Heroes of the secret underground, by Susanne Gervay
Title: Heroes of the secret underground
Author: Susanne Gervay
Genre/ issues: Middle grade. Historical fiction. WW2. Timeslip.
Historical fiction isn’t usually my genre, but when a dear friend writes a novel inspired by the experiences of her family, I’ll make an exception. Heroes of the Secret Underground by Susanne Gervay is a time slip novel in which Louie, Bert and Teddy find themselves transported from the grand old hotel they live in with their grandparents in Sydney, back to a world at war – Budapest, 1944. As Louie attempts to unravel the secrets of the rose-gold locket that acted as their portal to the past, she also uncovers other secrets that her grandparents never speak of – painful memories of a painful past that Louie and her brothers find themselves trapped in.
It’s often hard to effectively convey the pain and trauma of events such as war in narratives for younger readers, but this book does that really well. Susanne’s personal connection with this story – inspired by her own family’s escape from Budapest during the war – shines through, and there’s a real sense of love and heart in this novel. The enduring message of learning from the mistakes of the past is evident, and I love the emphasis on the power of each individual’s story to make a difference.