This book was amazing.
This genre has been filled with novels relating to Nazi occupation and the war, so I was not too convinced this book would stand out. However, I was so very wrong.
I could not put this book down. We follow two stories in different timelines; Alina’s (occurring during the war) and Alice’s (occurring in the modern day).
Alina’s story is focused around her, her family and her boyfriend as we watch them face the horrors that occurred in Poland for both Polish Catholics and the Polish Jews. We see how they quickly dominate the area, spurring hatred towards Jewish people and demeaning the Catholics. The story is incredibly emotional, and filled with suspense.
Alice’s story follows her life as a mother to a son (Eddie) on the autistic spectrum and a brilliant daughter with a high IQ. Though the focus is much more significant on Eddie and shows the true way in which their life is adapted to help him. The portrayal of Eddie is beautifully done, he is non-verbal but highly empathetic in his own way and rather brilliant at learning rules or using his iPad, despite not being incredibly academic. This is a stark difference to how those on the spectrum are usually depicted (mostly unable to understand empathy, and often having incredibly high IQ’s).
Alice, eventually becomes the key too untangling the stories being told and, though some parts are predictable towards the end- that is only because the story is so well told that you are able to make the links between the past and the future.
The characters in this story are so in-depth and well developed you cannot help but feel for them. I have to admit I was holding back tears at many points during this book, as you soon begin to realize just how horrifying the past was and how there truly was nowhere safe you begin to feel truly horrified and worried. Alina and Tomasz’s bond is truly beautiful and these characters become ones that you care for the most. But, more than that you feel for Alice, Wade, Eddie, Callie (Alice’s family) and for Babcia (Alice’s Grandmother).
The title of the book is extraordinarily clever and applies in so many ways from how Eddie communicates (via an App) to how it affected those in Poland. (I wont say too much more regarding this as I dont want to give away any spoilers). But the true depth of this title is amazing.
The ending of this book was initially unexpected, but as you read through you begin to see it may not end how you think. This is a truly heart-breaking, yet gorgeous ending with so many mixed emotions that you can’t help but keep it in your mind.
I had never read anything by this author before so this was a wonderful start and I shall do so more!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in this genre or who are looking for a story that is filled with love, friendship and honour even in the hardest times.
There is so much more I could say but I wont as it would spoil the book and to do so would take away your chance to read this and truly feel something for the characters, the war and the book itself.
This book was provided to me as an advanced digital copy by #Netgalley In exchange for my honest review. (Headline publishers) @Bookrevieskb #TheThingsWeCannotSay