Book Review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
Pop up Thursday post!!
This historical movie centers around Nazi occupied Poland. I love love love myself a historical fiction novel, This one is a love story that follows the main character throughout the past to the present. If your into tear jerks this one ‘s for you!! It gives great insight to how the war tore families apart and the long lasting sacrifices the generation had to make. Kelly Rimmer has also wrote The Secret Daughter, Me Without You and Before I Let you go. This is the first novel I have read by this author but from the titles of her other books it seems like she writes soul touching story.
This story follows Alicia in present day. Her babcia is sick in the hospital. She has a daughter Pascale and a son Eddie, who has autism. Considering how forefront the Autism awareness is right now I think it was a great addition to a modern day family. The novel outlines the struggles of just going to the grocery store and then the hospital with an Autistic family member.
There are 2 timelines in the story. The second is a flash back to 1938 where a couple Alina and Tomasz are in Poland. Ah young love! Tomasz is going off to med school and he romantically promises Alina he will always love her, no matter the time or distance.
Flash forward to the present where babcia is trying to tell Alicia something after her stroke. She utilizes the ipad communication system Eddie uses and tells Alicia to find Tomasz, but her grandfather died 12 months earlier. So off Alicia goes to Poland because it is the dying wish of her babcia.
Sept 1939 a bomb hits Alina’s home town and thus enters the first glimpses of the war. The Nazis then start invading towns, killing their leaders. In this case Tomasz’s father thus instilling fear into the town’s people. We find out that Alina’s mother was a rebel. She was preserving extra food and hiding it from the Nazis for her family to survive. Alinia has not seen Tomasz for so long. She goes to town and tries to find word of him. He comes to her window that night and she learns that he has been hiding in the woods. A Jewish family helped him escape and he is helping them hide in a local’s house. This could get them all killed.
Any WW2 novel brings to light the hardships and sacrifices people who lived through the war went through. I could not even imagine not seeing my husband for years on end. Always wondering if he was alive or dead. I don’t know what would be worse, wondering what has happened to him or knowing where he was which was being in constant danger and starvation.
The reader learns that Alina lives close to Birkenau, she sees the pillars of smoke not knowing the reason behind them. The Nazis end up taking her parents and Alina and Tomasz try and escape. They strike a deal with Henry, an American photographer smuggling people out of Poland. The Jewish family Tomasz is hiding gets found out and the Nazis kill the wife and baby daughter, leaving Saul the husband alive.
In order to get Alina out of Poland she needs new papers and a new name, hence the name Hanna- we find out that babcia is Alina and Tomasz is her lost love. But who at this point is Alicia’s father
Jump back to present day. Alicia find Tomasz’s sister still alive. She tells Alicia of the true Tomasz, who did not leave in the truck with Saul and Hanna/Alina but stayed behind and gave himself up in order for Alina to get away. He was shot in town square- start the water works. At this point I was bauling. Alicia then realize the man she thought was Tomasz her father was Saul.
The trip to Poland for Alicia was more than finding out about her heritage. It was also to find herself again. Alicia was so dedicated to her family and maintaining a normal schedule for Eddie she lost who she was. She did not believe that her husband would ever be able to follow Eddie’s strict routine. It turns out that yes Wade (husband) did struggle and realise what Alcia did for Eddie but Wade also pushed Eddie out of his boundaries and Eddie learned to do new things.
By the end of the book I probably went through a whole box of tissues. When Alicia went back and told her babcia what she found I lost it. Haha What a great novel about family ties and sacrifices. Have any of you read this book or any others by this author? I love it when you all leave comments about your thoughts and feelings so please feel free to leave a comment below!