This post contains affiliate links. I’ve read a lot of books about World War II, both fiction and non-fiction. This year, I’ve been lucky to find several such as The Nightingale that I’ve really enjoyed. Easily, one of my new favorites for the year is The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer.
About The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
The story shifts back and forth between the years in World War II (told from Alina’s perspective) and modern times (told from Alice’s perspective).
Alina is the youngest of four children. When the story begins, she is a 15 year old Catholic living in Poland engaged to her childhood sweetheart. Her fiance, Tomasz, who is 18, goes to Warsaw to study to be a doctor, and Alina waits eagerly at home for his return. However, the Nazis invade Poland, and life as Alina knows it is over. Neighbors turn against neighbors. Food becomes scarce. Months go by with no word of Tomasz.
Meanwhile, in modern times, Alice struggles to not lose herself in her role of mother to two special needs kids–one with autism, and the other gifted and emotionally fragile. Her marriage to Wade is on the rocks. They still love one another, but stress is taking its toll on their marriage. To make matters worse, Alice’s grandmother, Hanna, is 95 and hospitalized due to having a mini stroke. Her grandmother can’t communicate except through Alice’s son’s iPad talking device. Using this, Hanna makes it clear that she wants Alice to go back to Poland to find those she loved during the war who she’s been unable to contact for the past 75 years.
Alice sets out against all odds to visit Poland. There, she discovers amazing things about her grandmother and her life before and during the war, but Alice also learns a great deal about herself.
My Thoughts on the Book
This historical fiction is so engaging that I read it in two days, which isn’t easy for a homeschool mom. I neglected quite a few of my responsibilities to read The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer because it was THAT GOOD!
Rimmer is a fantastic writer and creates a beautiful story. Alina and Tomasz lived through extraordinarily difficult times. They made decisions during the war that would change the course of their own personal histories, as well as their families’, forever. I always read these books and wonder if I could be as heroic as the characters. However, I don’t believe I could.
I would give The Things We Cannot Say 8 stars if I could, but instead, I’ll give it 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.