The Last Secret

The Last Secret

Penguin Random House Canada | In bookstores September 24, 2024

A sweeping, dazzling novel centering on two unforgettable women—a Ukrainian resistance fighter in 1944 Ukraine and a reclusive artist on Salt Spring Island in 1972—and their inextricable link to each other decades apart. For readers of Kate Quinn, Heather Marshall and Genevieve Graham.

Ukraine, 1944

As the world around her is ripped apart by war and infiltrated by Nazi soldiers, Savka Ivanets works as a medic for the Ukrainian resistance, stitching wounds by day, stealing supplies by night, and dodging firefights between the SS and Soviet partisans. Her husband Marko has been gone for years, first as a commander of the resistance and now as a reluctant member of the SS, and she lives each day fearing what will become of him and that she—or, worse, their young son Taras—will be taken hostage and tortured or killed.

Then Marko reappears in the darkness of night and after promising her and Taras an escape to safety after the war, gives Savka a coded message that he demands she deliver to an underground bunker. She protests—to leave her, a woman, to such a task is unimaginably dangerous—but, like in many parts of her life, she has no choice.

But Savka’s mission doesn’t go as planned, and Taras is kidnapped by the KGB and she’s shot, left for dead in the trees, and fearing she’ll never see her son again.

Salt Spring Island, 1972

Celebrated landscape artist Jeanie Esterhazy lives a quiet life on a waterfront estate on Salt Spring Island, hidden away from the world that, with its whispers and curious eyes, is too much for her to bear. Ever since the horrific accident on her wedding day years ago that left her scarred, Jeanie feels unlovable and utterly alone. She’s trapped in a battle of wills with her nurse, a tough and cruel woman who threatens to reveal the truth about Jeanie’s shocking part in her accident all those years ago.

Then a mysterious stranger appears at the house, and suddenly Jeanie begins having flashbacks that make her wonder if there’s more to the events of the night of her wedding than she’s been told; flashbacks that make her realize the world around her is not as it seems.

Weaving together Savka and Jeanie’s stories with artful precision, The Last Secret is at once luminous and transporting, a brilliant and impossible-to-forget story of love, hope, and the unwavering resilience of women.


“With The Last Secret, Maia Caron firmly establishes herself as one of the most powerful, truthful and poetic voices in Canadian historical fiction.” 

—Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls

Praise For The Last Secret:

“An extraordinarily powerful novel cinematically weaving one gripping layer into the next. From the frozen hellscape of Eastern Europe during WW2 to the lush green of Salt Spring Island in Canada, The Last Secret delivers a thrilling story of survival and love that held me spellbound throughout. Brava, Ms. Caron! An easy five stars.”

—Genevieve Graham, #1 bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child

“A tense and thrilling ride of a story.”

—Janie Chang, bestselling author of The Porcelain Moon and The Library of Legends

“How delicious to discover sleepy Salt Spring Island, BC, caught up in the icy tendrils of a Cold War thriller. Sweeping from hardship to heartache, The Last Secret is a timely reminder of the improbable bonds forged, broken and recast on World War II’s Eastern Front. Here, revenge is served tundra-cold, but with a dash of sea salt and fire.”

—Shelley Wood

“This haunting and exquisitely written story will stay with me for a long time to come.”

—Gwen Tuinman, author of Unrest

“The Last Secret is a masterfully crafted historical thriller, a riveting tale that sweeps across decades and continents. The intertwined stories of a Ukranian woman ruthlessly pursued by the Russian secret police and a scarred young artist at the mercy of her nurse’s sinister machinations converge in a climactic, heart-stopping showdown on a remote island in the pacific northwest. Maia Caron has irresistibly woven historical drama, mystery and romance in a gripping tribute to women’s resistance and resilience.”

—Lilian Nattel, author of Only Sisters

Canada Ukraine Foundation

In The Last Secret, you will learn about how Ukrainians fought against Soviet partisans and the Red Army in World War II. It’s my hope that it also reminds you to keep the plight of present-day Ukrainians suffering under the Russian invasion in your heart and mind by donating to one of these projects organized by the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

So many eyes are turned to the escalating war in the Middle East, but I urge you to remember that as of April 13, 2024, when I’m writing this, “Russia’s massive assault on an independent Ukraine” has entered its 779th day. I urge you to follow what’s happening in Ukraine as closely as you might follow what’s happening in the Middle East. Both wars threaten global peace and cannot be ignored.

I will continue to donate proceeds from the sale of my book to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, and I hope that you will please consider donating too.

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Maia Caron - All Rights Reserved (2024)