Johanna Berglund didn’t want to be a translator for the camp of German POW’s who moved into her hometown. For that matter, she didn’t even want to go home. She wanted to study languages to her heart’s content with the intent of studying at Oxford one day.
But, lo and behold, her anonymous scholarship donor revokes the funds and says they will go to a student that shows evidence of patriotic service. Jo has no option but to take the major’s offer if she ever hopes of salvaging her dreams of Oxford.
But as she returns to Ironside Lake, still haunted by past memories, and settles in at the POW camp, her view of the world and the people in it is challenged. And soon she finds herself walking the fine line between kindness and treason.
The book is written entirely through letters and other documentation, which is a style of novel writing I’d never read before. While a unique format, I was able to piece together the story. It was neat to see everything from so many different perspectives. Sometimes little bits of information were missing, things that I had to infer as the characters did. It gave it a little touch of real life—in real life we don’t always know other people’s motivations, and we don’t always ever find out.
The character voices were so unique and vibrant. Even though sometimes I shook my head and cringed at Jo’s delivery, sometimes I laughed out loud. I related to her social awkwardness and propensity towards sarcasm. Her relationship with Peter through letters--even with no sign of romance in sight--was strong and deep, and an interesting addition.
Despite it being written in letters, I got a feel for the setting. Ironside Lake was an interesting place to visit, one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone’s business, and full of equally quirky and vivid characters.
The touch of romance was nicely added, and I mean just that—a touch. It doesn’t hijack the whole plotline, just compliments it as a nice brush stroke.
I was guessing up until the end—I had no idea what anyone was up to!
I have nothing negative to say about this book. (Except that I want more . . . that ending!)
Things We Didn’t Say is a brilliant addition to the genre of historical fiction. I highly recommend it to anyone. It’s a thought-provoking read, full of smiles and all the things that make up real life—our lives today. It may be called Things We Didn’t Say—but don’t let it be Things We Didn’t Read.
Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!