Today I have a review of Kelly Rimmer’s newest book, The Things We Cannot Say. Rimmer quickly became a favorite author of mine last year when she released Before I Let You Go, an unforgettable, emotional story. If you haven’t read that one, don’t miss it, or this one!
Told in two timelines, we hear from Alina Dziak in 1942 just as she gets married in a Russian refugee camp. Her decision to marry will change her life and bury a lie for decades.
Young Alina Dziak grows up in Poland falling in love early with her best friend, Tomasz. She is engaged at fifteen, around the same time Nazi solders arrive at the border. Tomasz is away at college in Warsaw, and she waits for him to return so they can marry.
Alina’s quiet little town is taken over by Nazis, and the climate becomes divisive and hateful. At the same time, Tomasz completely disappears. She waits and waits to hear from Tomasz as Nazi soldiers patrol her family’s farm.
The second timeline features Alice, in modern times, and the mother of a child with autism. She also cares for her aging Babcia to whom she is very close. Babcia has secrets, and after having a stroke, she wants to talk and make requests at a time when she it’s not easy for her.
Kelly Rimmer knows how to write dual timeline stories. I was hooked on both narrators and their lives. As with all of her books, The Things We Cannot Say is powerful, epic, and so emotional. It’s full of love, loyalty, steadfastness, and hope. It’s about how silence can devastate and takes years or generations from which to heal.
Overall, The Things We Cannot Say is about seeing the good in those around us and believing in the power of redemption. I ate this book up from start to finish, and it’s on my list of favorites this year. It’s huggable, emotional, and beautifully-written. Did I already mention you shouldn’t miss it?!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.
Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.
Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.
Have you read The Things We Cannot Say, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR