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The Things We Cannot Say

Written by: Kelly Rimmer
Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (337 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Kelly Rimmer has outdone herself. I thought that Before I Let You Go was one of the best novels I had ever read.... If you only have time to read one book this year The Things We Cannot Say should be that book. Keep tissues handy." (Fresh Fiction)

"Fans of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls will adore The Things We Cannot Say." (Pam Jenoff, New York Times best-selling author) 

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 15 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. 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.

©2019 Kelly Rimmer (P)2019 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about The Things We Cannot Say

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A well written, beautiful story about love, sacrifice and family

A powerful and beautiful story about love and sacrifice during WWII. I must say, I thought this book was good initially (and by ‘good’ I mean ‘average’). A lot of stories have been written about families/couples/survivors of WWII so I was initially skeptical about what would make this book different from the others I’ve read/listened to (please don’t take me as insensitive, I am merely stating a fact). The overlapping stories between the grandma and granddaughter was done well; I did, however, find that the chapters ended abruptly and awkwardly. It’s one thing to leave on a cliffhanger, but I felt at times that some of the chapters ended mid-thought. However, the twist toward the end was not at all expected and was quite shocking! It made sense though, thinking back through the book, the twist made perfect sense. The ending was beautiful and incredibly emotional! I have not cried that much while reading/listening to a book in a long time. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who loves the WWII genre! Well worth it!

5 people found this helpful

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A worthwhile read

Really enjoyed this book. Great narrator who brought the characters to life. Enjoyed the switching between characters.

3 people found this helpful

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3 thumbs down.

I really struggled to finish this one. The authors overuse of the word INCREDULOUSLY was beyond annoying. Sadly, I would not recommend this book to anyone.

2 people found this helpful

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AMAZING!

This is probably going to be the book of the year for me! The story, the writing the performances were all outstanding! I'm so thankful I purchased it and listened to it! Swept me away! So real and poingnant!

2 people found this helpful

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Incredible Story

Triumphant, heart-breaking, tense and a revelation. I cried several times and books seldom make me do that. You will fall in love with the main characters.

1 person found this helpful

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INCREDIBLE!

I laughed, cried and loved every minute of this beautiful story. Highly recommend reading this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Well done!

This book kept me intriguied throughout. It went from present to past and back at a good pace. i may have shed a few tears at the end.

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Eternal Love

It took me a bit to get into this story, and I have to admit I was reluctant to read another WWII novel but I am so grateful I did. Each experience shared from that awful time in history sheds light on the world we live in today. I felt bittersweet for Alina, Saul and Thomas but also shared in the peaceful ending of the full circle of their lives and love. An enjoyable read of lives lead during difficult times - human resilience and the love that fuels their purpose.

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Implausible

I really enjoyed some of this book but I just couldn’t get over two things. First, the narrator had two polish words/expressions to get right in Polish: Babcia, and moje wszytko. The narrator butchered both. I tried to ignore her pronunciation but I just couldn’t. Secondly, the author wants me to believe that a child born immediately after her parents found themselves in the USA couldn’t speak or understand a word of Polish? That’s ridiculous. I am the child of Polish immigrants. The language in our home was alive and well after 7 children.

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Gripping story of love, and hardships during war.

I became invested in the character's lives. I felt for them, understood their emotions and struggles. Understood what made them continue to move forward. Enjoyed the juxtaposition of present day struggles to the struggles of war time Poland.

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  • Mary Smiroldo
  • 2019-08-06

Don’t Miss This One!

It is extremely rare that I give a book a five star rating. I am very particular about what constitutes this A+ grade in historical fiction, including the research, character development, and strong story line. Just as important, perhaps even more so, is the narration. The tone and pitch of the voice, the believability of gender difference between reader and character, accents and fluency in other languages, and overall pleasing sound of the voice, must all work together to qualify for an exceptional rating. In this case, “The Things We Cannot Say,” by Kelly Rimmer, proved that all of this is possible! I was skeptical in the beginning as to how this could all come together to make such a believable, heartwarming, (sometimes heart wrenching) story, but to my delight, it worked beautifully. I have read many, many WWII historical fiction books, but this was one of the very best! I don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner.

397 people found this helpful

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  • Jasper Van Wyk
  • 2019-06-09

Outstanding

It’s been awhile since a book made me cry. This did. Outstanding. Ten stars are not enough l! The story and narrative are perfect.

162 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-05

Could not put this book down

I am on the road a lot so Audible has been fantastic. The Things We Cannot Say was so engrossing that I found myself sitting in parking lots not wanting to get out of my car because I needed to stay with the characters and the story. This book was so well written and so vivid we’re the descriptions that I felt it took me back in time. I loved every minute of this book!

153 people found this helpful

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  • KBS
  • 2019-07-05

Sweet love story

Story was good but the Alice narrator sounded like she was mad at the world in her very sharp/staccato voice even when she was being nice she sounded like a whining spoiled brat all the time....I was always relieved when it switched back to Aleena.

59 people found this helpful

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  • Mimi in McKinney
  • 2019-09-28

Well... not my favorite

I wanted to like this book but darn that Alice character was hard to listen to. Too much whining and saying the same things over and over again. But Aleene was so much better and saved the entire book. Sorry I know lots of people liked it a lot but it grew very tedious with Alice’s voice and whining and self-righteousness.

85 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2019-11-04

Formulaic and Romanticized

I think that I have officially read too many WWII historical fiction books. It seems that they are becoming formulaic...dual narratives, untold secrets, front cover artwork containing one or multiple people standing with their backs towards the camera (or reader's point of view). This is really sad because that part of our history is vitally important. I just don't feel it needs to be romanticized. There are enough true stories to write multitudes of novels based on that time period. This story revolves around Alice, a modern day wife and mother. Her special challenges include having a son on the Autism Spectrum, a husband that is becoming distant, a daughter she doesn't connect with and an elderly grandmother who has lost the ability to speak due to a series of strokes. This is the time that the grandmother reveal to tell the big family secret (even though she's had more than 70 years to do so), thus the title of the book. The actual secret was an interesting one, but the book took so painfully long in slowly unraveling it, that I became impatient towards the last few chapters and just wanted it to end. Clearly this book appeals to many, many readers, based on the high ratings. I do feel the author had the best of intentions. It was just not for me.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Vera Cowart
  • 2019-05-31

Emotional

I can hardly write a review for “The Things We Cannot Say”. It was so gut wrenching at times I could hardly listen for crying. Sometimes I wondered why I was crying so hard. Then I remembered a sentence from the last book I listened to, “The greatest tribute you can give someone is to cry with them.” Or for them?

139 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-09

if you think you have it tough...

This book was so good I listened in bed until I could barely hold my ears open. If you ever think you have a tough life this story is a quick check in to love and loss, past meets current life situation.

111 people found this helpful

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  • Jean
  • 2019-10-05

Gripping

This is a World War II story. I guess you can call it a historical novel. The book grabbed me right from the start and kept me engaged through-out the story. The book is well written and researched. It switches back and forth from the past to present. The characters are interesting. The past part of the story takes place in 1942 Poland. Alina Dzink is fifteen. She is in love with Tomasz who is away at collage in Warsaw. Then the Nazis come to her village. The present has Alice taking care of her grandmother, Alina, who has had a stroke. Alina wants Alice to return to her village in Poland. The book shows how war effects people even long after it is over. I had no difficulty keeping track when the story switched back and forth between past and present. The two narrators made it very easy with their different style of narration. The book is thirteen hours and forty-two minutes. Ann Marie Gideon and Nancy Peterson do a good job narrating the book. This is my first experience with both the author and the narrators.

132 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle Tiller
  • 2019-07-11

Best book this summer!

I’ve listened to many books this summer but this book was by far the best yet! The storyline was captivating and kept me engaged the entire time. It’s one of those books you wish you hadn’t read so you could re read it again. Trust me you will NOT be disappointed. And the narrator was amazing!

75 people found this helpful