A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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The Words I Never Wrote {A Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

A chance discovery inside a vintage typewriter case reveals the gripping story of two sisters on opposite sides of World War II in this captivating novel for readers of Lilac Girls and The Women in the Castle.

New York, present day: On a whim, Juno Lambert buys a 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to celebrated journalist Cordelia Capel. Within its case she discovers an unfinished novel, igniting a transatlantic journey to fill the gaps in the story of Cordelia and her sister and the secret that lies between them.

Europe, 1936: Cordelia’s socialite sister Irene marries a German industrialist who whisks her away to Berlin. Cordelia, feistier and more intellectual than Irene, gets a job at a newspaper in Paris, pursuing the journalism career she cherishes. As politics begin to boil in Europe, the sisters exchange letters and Cordelia discovers that Irene’s husband is a Nazi sympathizer. With increasing desperation, Cordelia writes to her beloved sister, but as life in Nazi Germany darkens, Irene no longer dares admit what her existence is truly like. Knowing that their letters cannot tell the whole story, Cordelia decides to fill in the blanks by sitting down with her Underwood and writing the truth.

When Juno reads the unfinished novel, she resolves to uncover the secret that continued to divide the sisters amid the turmoil of love, espionage, and war. In this vivid portrait of Nazi Berlin, from its high society to its devastating fall, Jane Thynne examines the truths we sometimes dare not tell ourselves.

Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. After graduating from Oxford, she worked for the BBC, The Sunday Times, and The Daily Telegraph. She continues to freelance as a journalist while working on her historical fiction. Her novels, including the Clara Vine series, have been published in French, German, Greek, Turkish, Italian, and Romanian. The widow of Philip Kerr, she lives in London with her three children, where she is working on her next novel.

The Words I Never Wrote started out in 2016 with the purchase of a vintage typewriter once owned by well known journalist Cordelia Capel. Within it's case, Juno (the purchaser) discovers an unfinished novel detailing the story of Cordelia and her sister Irene in the days leading up to, during and following WWII. Ending up on both sides of the conflict, it tells a fascinating tale of what life was like in these days both in Germany and for those outside. It had me captivated early on and kept me waiting anxiously to know just what would come of these two sisters in the end.

I must admit at first I wasn't sure how I liked the back and forth between past and present. At one point, I found myself thinking that I didn't quite see the point in this present story line and could have frankly done without it. At first. Closer to the end, I found that this format allowed for a gradual reveal that actual really gave us a full scope of the story and what became of the sisters not just immediately following the war but throughout their lives as well. Though I still certainly enjoyed the past parts of this novel more regardless.

The Words I Never Wrote did not sugarcoat anything in the realities of life in Germany during this time frame. It was not pretty and at times it was VERY hard to read. It should be noted that there is talk of rape that could be triggering for some, but again a sad reality in the given time. It is certainly eye opening in many ways to some of the details that perhaps our history books have glossed over a bit.

Because I typically review Christian novels (or otherwise clean reads), it is important to note that this is not that. There are scenes with sex (in addition to the talk of rape) and a few curse words throughout. The language was very minimal--- a handful of uses of the d-word and the romance scenes were not overly graphic, nor were they are an overwhelming part of the story. Personally, it was minimal enough that while I certainly could have done without it, it didn't take away from the otherwise great story. Some more conservative readers should be aware of this before reading.

Overall, it was a truly heartbreaking story of love and loss that was beautifully written and I'm glad to have read.

The Words I Never Wrote will be available to purchase on January 21. You can preorder your copy today.


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