Book Review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
The lowdown from Goodreads
Publication Date March 19, 2019
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.
Book Review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
I’m not sure I can put into words how much I love Kelly Rimmer’s The Things We Cannot Say. I will do my best.
What’s That Book I Keep Hearing About?
A while back, I remember hearing about a historical fiction book featuring a character diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Someone I love very dearly is diagnosed with ASD. I’m always on the hunt for books that offer an ASD perspective. As soon as I heard about this book, I put it high on my TBR.Luckily, my friends at Harlequin sent a copy of Kelly Rimmer’s The Things We Cannot Say my way. Reading the synopsis, there’s no mention of a character with ASD. Shoot – I’m mistaken. Within the first few pages, I realize I have my hands on THE book.
A Mother’s Perspective on Autism Spectrum Disorder
Immediately, it’s very clear to me the seven-year-old boy, Eddie is diagnosed with ASD. In the beginning, Kelly Rimmer paints a meltdown with such accuracy the scene brings tears to my eyes. This is where we first meet Eddie’s mother, Alice. Readers also meet the glaring looks from those who do not understand. The store manager who swoops in thinking he can solve the meltdown, but only makes things worse. All the while, Kelly Rimmer makes it clear Eddie is having a hard time. He’s not giving his mom a hard time. To say she nails this scene is the understatement of the year. Alice is dealing with a lot.
Like any mother, she’s doing the best she can for her child. Add in a child with special needs, a daughter who has a mind of her own, a husband busy with work, a demanding mother & an ill Grandmother. Alice is at max capacity. Sharing Alice’s reality of mothering a child with special needs is another place Kelly Rimmer shines. Seamlessly, Rimmer is able to write about Alice’s undying love for Eddie & in conjunction shows the harsh realities day to day life often offers for those of us who love a child with ASD.
Then & Now
Expertly, Kelly Rimmer navigates the dual timelines. Lots of authors do this, but Rimmer works this aspect so well. She lets readers live in WW II Poland as well as present day. We get to meet and know Babcia (Grandmother) & we try to get to find the answers to her questions. Rimmer is careful not to jump back & forth too much. She gives readers plenty of time in both worlds.
The Things We Cannot Say – A Deeper Meaning
Even the title of this book gets me. Throughout the family’s history, there are many things that cannot be said. This is a central theme throughout the narrative. As Babcia ages, she is unable to fully explain what she wishes Alice to do to help her. We already know, Eddie can’t say all the things he wishes to say. Certain things are not said to protect secrets. The more I think about this title, it has a deeper meaning than I can adequately reflect in this review. It’s a perfect choice for this amazing novel.
I am Really Into This book! Yes, The Things We Cannot Say is a beautiful historical fiction novel. For me, it’s more than that. Kelly Rimmer writes a deeply meaningful novel about time, acceptance, understanding & the deeper meaning of unconditional love.
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Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels. Her latest novel, Before I Let You Go, will be released in 2018. Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.