The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
Published October 17th 2019 by Graydon House
This was an amazing story by Kelly Rimmer. Her writing hooked me right from the prologue and did not let go until I finally finished the story. It is told in dual timelines and both stories mesh together nicely. Alina Dziak is fifteen-years-old living in Poland when the Nazi’s invade and occupy the country. She is engaged to her best friend and neighbour, Tomasz, who has moved to Krakow to attend medical school. As the war ramps up and it becomes more and more dangerous, she realizes that if she and Tomasz want to be together they will have to flee to a safer area so they can live the happily married life they had planned. During war, things do not always work out according to plan. The second storyline takes place in modern times, with Alice and her family in the U.S. Alice’s Babcha has had a stroke and is in the hospital. She wants Alice to go to Poland, travel to her village and find some people whose names she gives her. There is a bit of a mystery to solve, but Alice is up to the task.
Kelly Rimmer has done it again. She evokes all the emotions in her reader, breaks your heart and puts it all back together again. This story is a combination of historical fiction, women’s fiction, domestic drama and a love story, all rolled up into one. The main characters are amazing, strong, women. Alice has been living an extremely stressful life. She has a son with autism, a daughter who is gifted and a husband who seems to be a workaholic. When her babcha asks her to travel to Poland, her initial reaction is no, but her husband says a few things that quickly have her changing her mind. Not only is Alice in for an adventure of her life, but her husband, who is staying home with the children, is as well. I loved watching him change and realize all the Alice does to keep the family functioning in the style they have become accustomed to. I really enjoy historical fiction, but both of these storylines are compelling and emotional. The ending of this one threw me for a loop. I had expected some of it, but there were definitely some surprises. I was left heartbroken and an emotional wreck, but I still loved this story. I definitely recommend this one to anyone who loved historical fiction and dual-timelines. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Synopsis: 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.