Happy Tuesday and Happy 2019! Today I have a review of What’s Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone now available from Matador Books! Pause and take a look at all that is that cover! Ahhh! Cover art!
Sasha is mom to teenage son, Zac. Her husband is not around, and she is also responsible for her alcoholic mother, Annie.
Zac has reason to suspect he has a secret sibling, and Sasha is faced with the past she has tried desperately to forget.
Annie is aging and feels like she is being visited late husband Joe. She is reliving some secrets from her past as well, and as she does, she is determined to confront all she has worked hard to bury.
Trauma, secrets, and lies are at the heart of the difficult mother-daughter relationship between Annie and Sasha, but this isn’t just their story; I t’s a story of family across generations beginning in the early 1900s through the present day. Specifically, it addresses how World War II trauma affected a family long after the war was over.
I was completely invested in What’s Left Unsaid. Stories of family dynamics are my favorites, and families evolving across time are especially interesting. This book is deeply affecting with so many topics to think about. The Stein family’s story is vividly realistic; it truly could be any family. Warm and well-written, with forgiveness at its core, I found What’s Left Unsaid engaging and compassionate and a novel well worth reading.
Thank you to the author for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.
Sasha’s mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there’s one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.
As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha’s fractious relationship.
The novel spans several decades, telling the history of the Stein family from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. Speaking of her inspiration for her novel, Deborah says; ‘My own mother was evacuated at the age of five during World War Two and my father was a young man working as an ARP warden. This novel is purely fictitious, but I wanted to explore the traumas that many ordinary people of the war generation suffered, experiences which would be quite unimaginable to many of us today and then to contrast them with the issues we all face in the modern day.’
Deborah Stone read English Literature at Durham University. She lives in North London with her husband, two sons and her dog.
Have you read What’s Left Unsaid, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR