A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green {Book Review}

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

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.

Amy Lynn Green is a publicist by day and a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family magazines, and other faith-based publications over the past 10 years. This is her first novel. Learn more at www.amygreenbooks.com.

When I was young one of my favorite books was one in which two best friends corresponded via letters. No other writing, the full story completely told in these letters back and forth. It's not a style that I see often, and so when I heard about this debut novel from Amy Lynn Green written as such, I could not wait to check it out. I must admit however, it didn't immediately live up to my expectations. The letters making up this book were written primarily between Johanna and various others. As such, there were many characters to keep track of and at the beginning, I did find it a bit hard to keep everything straight. If I were to be entirely honest, I almost stopped reading several times throughout. Still, we learn very early on that some of these correspondences are evidence in a trial for treason and so I must admit that that knowledge kept me reading to find out exactly how that came about. I was so glad that I'd not given up, as I found that the further into the story I went, the more I enjoyed it. 

I read a lot of books taking place during and around the time of WWII, but this one was completely unique from any others I'd read... and not just because of the style. In this story, we meet Johanna as she has taken an assignment as a translator at a camp for German POWs here in the US. This is not a topic that I have ever heard much about, and found it truly fascinating to learn more about. It made for a truly intriguing story. I can't say much without giving too much away, but it certainly offered a unique perspective on the war on the Homefront.  I also felt like there were themes within this story that are still quite timely for today. Overall, this was a great read and one that fans of WWII fiction are certainly going to want to check out! 


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