When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt – Review | Books on Tour

A heartbreaking, powerful book.


“Dad, you have to tell me the truth. Are you who they say you are? Because I know you can’t be. I know you can’t possibly have done what they’re saying…”

Libby Trent has worked hard to make a good life for herself. She has a happy, messy home in Virginia, full of family and laughter. And a job she’s enormously proud of at a charity helping the disadvantaged, that suits her strong sense of what’s right and wrong.

But everything changes the day she’s contacted by a government official asking questions about a man named Hans Brenner, a Nazi who escaped Germany after the Second World War. A war criminal guilty of the most heinous deeds.

And the man they suspect is Libby’s own father.

She has always known that her father was born in Germany, but what they’re saying is simply impossible. Her frail, elderly father is the sweetest man she knows. With his kind eyes, his tender care, his passion for social justice, he is the person who taught her every value she has… He can’t possibly be the evil man they are saying he was.

But the official is insistent. He says he knows Libby’s father is Hans Brenner, but he tells her they need more evidence for the trial to go ahead—even if it is just a photograph, a letter, or something her father might have kept from those days. And Libby is the one who could find it for them.

Libby knows terrible acts should never go unpunished. But she refuses to believe her father could be guilty, and so she decides to search for something that can prove his innocence. She knows she simply has to find it, because if she can’t…

Then everything she thought she knew about her father, about herself, and even about history may be changed forever.

A totally heartbreaking and powerful story about a daughter’s impossible dilemma and the darkest of family secrets, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Amanda Prowse, and Diane Chamberlain.

When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt - Review | Books on Tour
When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt – Review | Books on Tour

Rating: 4 out of 5.


When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt is a heartbreaking, moving, and powerful story about a daughter’s dilemma and how dark family secrets can upend innocent lives in moments.

Libby idolizes her father. Her mother left her when she was four. Since then, it’s always been she and her father against the world.

One fine day, a man comes knocking on her door and drops a bombshell on her. Her father is not who she thinks he is. He is not Daniel Weiss, but Hans Brenner, a Nazi who fled Germany after the end of WWII.

Libby cannot believe her ears. Her entire world comes crashing down. Her father had always been a kind, compassionate man. He had always been a rock-solid support for her. How can he be the monster that this man claims?

“I don’t know how I feel,” I answer woodenly. “Numb, I guess.” Although underneath that numbness is a wild surge of emotions, of sorrow and grief and fury and fear.

When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt

A multitude of questions throngs her, none of whose answers she knows.

When We Were Innocent poignantly depicts the harrowing journey that Libby undergoes in pursuit of the truth. Is her father a Nazi? Has her entire life been a lie? Will she ever be able to forgive him? Can she ever love him again?

“I think,” Simon answers, “that it’s not as much about having loved him before, but how you feel now. How you choose to feel. What you have to decide— and I can tell it’s eating you up— is whether you can still love him now.

When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt

It’s a dual timeline story with both timelines well-executed.

The book poses incredibly tough questions. But life is rarely black and white.

This was an emotional and highly gripping book. I finished it in three days straight.

Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, especially, lovers of WWII stories.

When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt - book cover
When We Were Innocent by Kate Hewitt


Genre: Historical fiction || Pages: 409 || Published on September 20th, 2022 by Bookouture


Buy on Amazon

Many thanks to Sarah Hardy @ Bookouture for organizing this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.


Kate Hewitt

Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of many books of both historical and contemporary fiction. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read women’s fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and two Golden Retrievers.

Author Link(s): Website || Twitter

If you liked this post, consider supporting my blog through donations on Ko-fi. You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Author: debjani6ghosh

I started this blog to discuss books that I read and movies that I watch. But the blog may not be purely restricted to that!

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