Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.
Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.
As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.
What I Loved:
Things We Didn’t Say is of my favorites of the year and already on my reread list. I thought telling it as an epistolary was absolutely brilliant!
Being an epistolary means it’s not a classic narration, but that the entire story is told through letters. I personally love epistolaries, but it’s not always easy for everyone to read. I’ll confess that I did struggle to find my footing in the first few letters. There are just so many characters you’re introduced to so quickly. But once I felt grounded in the story, I didn’t have any more problems. So if you’re new to epistolaries and you find yourself lost at first, just keep reading. Things will level out soon, and you wouldn’t want to miss this wonderful novel.
I was smitten with the characters right away and was in no hurry for this story to end. And I was blown away by some of the twists that Green managed to tuck away in this plot that seemed rather straightforward at first. I was certainly on the edge of my seat toward the end.
I can’t praise this one enough, and I’m looking forward to whatever Green has for us next!
Rating and Recommendations: I’m giving Things We Didn’t Say 5 stars. I highly recommend it to those looking for Christian historical, WWII fiction, or Christian epistolary.
~ I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one.