BOOK REVIEW: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

BOOK REVIEW: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly RimmerBOOK REVIEW: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
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In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the 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 fifteen 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.


The Things We Cannot Say was an emotional powerhouse that intertwined the past and the present.  I listened to the audiobook, and it was phenomenally done.  Both narrators made you feel every part of this story, and whisked you away into the lives of these two brave women.  I can’t wait to see what Rimmer releases next!

It costs our ancestors too damned much for us to have this life – the best thing we can do to honor them is to live it to its fullest.

Alina Dziak lived in Poland, and her story seeped into my heart so effortlessly.  She saw the world beautifully, and while she could be naïve at times, her rosy colored glasses started to color over as the story unfolded.  As the Nazi soldiers slowly started to occupy her town, life changed.  And what felt like carefree moments started to be filled with moments that would cause terror to pool in my stomach.  We watched as their lives drastically changed.  The conditions they were put in were horrific and gut wrenching.  The consequences they faced were beyond unthinkable.  Life could never be the same, and so many they loved died from the hands of monsters.

“Life doesn’t work that way, Alina. Hatred spreads – it doesn’t burn out with time. Someone needs to stand up and stop it.”

We alternated between Alina and Alice, with Alice being from the present.  She was married with two kids, and her Grandma was in the hospital from a stroke.  She seemed to be drowning in her life at times.  The tension between her and others was acute…..I’m not saying more than that, other than watching her grow from that first page to the last was a journey!  I was so proud of the woman Alice became in those final chapters.  I loved watching her find her place, her happiness, and not being afraid to use her words to convey what she wanted.  I was cheering her on every step of the way!

“We are meant to be together,” he whispered, trailing his finger down the side of my face. “We were made for each other, and everything else in the world will just have to figure itself out because we are going to be together. I love you.”

With the last third of the story, I couldn’t stop crying.  Especially when something clicked, then the sobs were hysterical.  And I kept crying while listening to this book for the next hour, on and off.  There were tears of heartache, tears of healing, and so many more too.  So make sure you have all the tissues next to you, because they are definitely needed.  Alina’s story was powerful, and a must read!  This is one of those books that will stick with you for years to come.  The history will settle itself into your heart, and you’ll feel every emotion and plight these characters felt too. This is a must read if you are a historical fiction lover!

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa+Mandina+(Lisa+Loves+Literature)

    This sounds really good! I don’t read a ton of historical fiction these days, but this one sounds like one I need to read. Great review!

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