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The Things We Never Said

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  480 ratings  ·  79 reviews
In 1964 Maggie wakes to find herself in a psychiatric ward, not knowing who she is or why she has been committed. She slowly begins to have memories of a storm and of a man called Jack and slowly the pieces of the past begin to come together...In 2008 Jonathan is struggling to put his differences with his parents aside to tell them he and his wife are expecting a baby, whe ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by Simon and Schuster
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Community Reviews

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Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
3.5 stars, it would have been an easy 4 stars except I felt the first half of the book was just a touch slow, the second half was a much more interesting read.

The book flits between Maggie's life, a woman who wakes up in a mental asylum in 1964 and can't remember why she's there, and Jonathan's life in the present day.

It takes a while before the two timelines start to intertwine and makes sense but the book is filled with wonderfully honest images of the good, the bad and the ugly of marriage,
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Unfolding through dual narratives, The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot Wright, alternates between the past and present.

In 1964, it takes Maggie weeks to remember the events that led to her being committed to a psychiatric hospital. Random flashes of memory, the wild winds of a hurricane...Jack...snow... cold..a crying baby...gradually resolve into a tragic history she would rather forget.

In 2008, Jonathon's comfortable life is slowly falling apart. When his father passes away unexpectedly,
Monique Mulligan
Two tales interweave to form a whole in Susan Elliot Wright's debut novel, The Things We Never Said . It took a little while for me to warm to the book, but once I did, I found myself engrossed as the dual narratives unfolded and then intersected, revealing secrets, lies and a tragedy that changed the lives of the main characters forever. I like the cover; a tired, perhaps confused, woman watches waves break onto the shore - it makes me wonder what she is thinking. Does she see escape in those w ...more
B the BookAddict

What a captivating book from this new author. An enthralling read, this debut novel set in England, deals with many issues relevant in our lives today; parenting, marriage, mental health, pregnancy, families and teaching. Ms Elliot Wright manages two threads, forty years apart, exceptionally well. Maggie and Jonathan both struggle with the issue of their identity. Well researched in the mental health practices of the 1960s; shocking to read (no pun intended) and in the sometimes unjust rules of
Brilliant! Connected with the story in so many ways as a mum, wife,and from having family members who have experienced Ill mental health. The best bits apart from the very engaging and believable story lines are the writing style of two stories integrated one started in 1962 coming forward and the other in 2008 going backwards, the suspense, level of detail and description on places in London I know well! And how the author does a very good job of making you feel you were there in 1962 during Ma ...more
Marguerite Kaye
One of those books that I liked, I read quickly, I enjoyed, but don't have much more to say. It was a good story, it was well written, it kept me turning the pages, it had a satisfactory ending. It made me want to find out a lot more about the treatment of women for mental illness in the 1960s.
Lynda Kelly
I enjoyed this and would certainly read her again but it lost a star for me due to a few niggling mistakes and the oft-repeated descriptions of fires and fireplaces which grew tiresome for me !!
Weirdly the gorgeous cover doesn't copy across to either my Kindle or tablet, only on the tablet's carousel. That's a shame. The girl on the cover made me picture Lady Mary from Downton Abbey !!
She spelt discernible as discernable which I've seen done every time I've spotted it written in an e-book. Not s
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
I struggled with to say about this novel, because I honestly don't know how I feel about it even though it has been circulating within my brain since this morning. I was intrigued by the premise: In 1964, a young woman named Maggie wakes up one morning in hospital not knowing really who she is or why she is there. She knows that she is physically fine, but her mind is shattered, She knows enough to put her best face forward, because if the nurses believe she is too happy, wary, or sad she'll be ...more
A lesson in pace and planning. At no point did I want to put this down and have a rest from it and, even if I had, there isn't really a suitable point in the novel to do so. I really didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. It was a book my wife chose for a book club. I recognised the author's name from my uni so picked it up and started reading. I read it in one sitting. I was completely drawn in by the plight of Maggie and Jonathan. And, although I could often guess what was coming, I fel ...more
Yvann S
If it’s not an unfaithful partner, it’s a fraught pregnancy. Why, oh why, are we as readers condemned to these miserable renditions? Why can there not be a happy marriage? A simple pregnancy? Children who are well-behaved and intelligent? I suppose none of that makes for much drama, but still. These recurring slow personal tragedies exhaust me.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Maggie awakes in what is undeniably a mental health facility in the 1960s, back in the day when mental health facility wa
Cleo Bannister
This great debut novel tells a poignant story which deals with serious issues sensitively and without being melodramatic about it. Split between the early 60's narrated by Maggie, a young woman who leaves home to follow her dream to make props for a theatre company, and 2008 - 2009 by Jonathan a teacher at a secondary school. Both tales are well written and successfully authentic.

If anything I enjoyed Jonathan's story more than Maggie's which is an accolade to the author's ability to bring his s
I dithered over the stars for this one. Two seemed harsh, three seems quite high in comparison with other books I've rated this year. Still, there are some very nice parts to this book (love Maggie's story, particularly in the asylum). It has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in in terms of plot points, like a 60s/noughties Catherine Cooksopn epic, all neatly resolved with a Disney ending. Only dramatic tension it didn't have was a murder. Easy read, if not particularly riveting.
A quote on the front cover promises: 'If you love Maggie O'Farrell, you will love this'. Well, I do love Maggie O'Farrell and I loved this book. Wow! Brilliant! Probably the best novel I've read this year (and I get through one a week, as a rule). I read this book in the space of 24 hours. I couldn't put it down. Heartbreakingly sad, but with an uplifting ending. It shows that we can go through seemingly unbearable difficulties and tragedies in life yet still survive. I loved the characters. I w ...more
Aunty Janet
I enjoyed this book very much as is beautifully written and very thought provoking, however it is quite dark and there are not many lighter moments. Two stories intertwine, coming together at the end following deeply held secrets. Nevertheless I do recommend it even though it is at times quite grim!
''In 1964 Maggie wakes to find herself in a psychiatric ward, not knowing who she is or why she has been committed. She slowly begins to have memories of a storm and of a man called Jack and slowly th
Jacquie Denton
Two stories that eventually come together. A sad story of a young girl who is rapped, tries to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy but is unsuccessful. Then has twins, one of which dies tragically, which sends the poor girl over the edge and is hospitalised and has a mental breakdown. She is then talked in to having the surviving twin adopted. Then there is his story being brought up not knowing he is adopted and having a non existent relationship with his father. He is a teacher and happily marrie ...more
Laura Wilkinson
Wonderful story, great characters and fabulous writing. It says on the cover: 'If you love Maggie O'Farrell you'll love this'. Well, I do love MoF and I loved this. Could hardly put it down. Great.
3.5 stars for this one (good reads you need to start doing half stars!)

I enjoyed this one, especially Maggie's story from the 1960s and exploring the issues for women at that time. The reasons it doesn't quite reach the 4 star mark for me are that the story was a little predictable, although that wasn't helped by the publisher giving away major plot twists on the back cover - why do they do that? I found it hard to identify with Jonathan and his wife and their behaviour as they seemed to deal wi
I didn't really enjoy this book. The plot is good and I read it to the end because I wanted to see what happened. But I never really connected with the characters, and actually found them quite annoying. There was also a disconnect with the story and the time in which it was set. As a story it could have been just as easily set in the 90's as in the 60's. There didn't seem to be any real elaboration about society's morals at the time and how this intersected with the plot. There wasn't anything ...more
I found this book rather irritatingly slow although I enjoyed it, but it was fairly predictable. Soon-to-be-father Jonathan discovers that he is adopted, and there are a few flashbacks of his life 'before'. Interspersed with Jonathan's scenes are those with Maggie, obviously his mother, although that's not made clear until about half way through the book, who has given him up for adoption when he's about 17 months old. I don't think there was anything new on the 'take' but it was well put althou ...more


The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot Wright

Review by Amanda Donovan

The Things We Never Said by the talented Susan Elliot Wright is an emotional roller coaster from the attractive cover to the last page.

Chapters alternate between the present day and the past. In 2008, the story is centred on Jonathan’s family life, his frightening nightmares and his personal problems with his Father which affect his relationship with his pregnant wife, Fiona. His life changes when he discovers a shocki

Its 1964 and Maggie wakes up in a mental hospital with no recollection of why she is there. Her memories are fuzzy and she is desperate to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and get some answers to this mystery. In the present day however, Jonathan and his wife are expecting their first baby. All is not well and Jonathan feels panicked and unsure of the type of father he will become. He has difficulties also in his job as a teacher. His relationship with his own father is fractured and a
Bree T
Jun 11, 2013 Bree T rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
In 1964, Maggie wakes up to find herself in a mental asylum with no idea of who she is or how she came to be there. Maggie learns quickly to temper her behaviour – any emotion, any lashing out and your name goes down for “treatment”. You don’t remember the treatment when you wake up from it, but there are flashes – being strapped down, something to bite on, searing pain.

In the present day, Jonathan’s life is turning inside out. The teacher has been accused of physical assault by one of his diffi
Katie Ward
This is a novel about mental health, memory and how the fabric of families can potentially unravel – all rich subjects for fiction – and Susan Elliot Wright delivers them splendidly.

The Things We Never Said begins with Maggie waking up in a mental hospital in the 1960s unable to remember who she is or how on earth she got there. She gradually acquaints herself with her fellow patients and the staff ‘caring’ for them, having to learn (or is it relearn?) the rules and etiquette as she tries to rec
Rainy Days
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Things We Never Said is a gripping novel set both in past and present, and as two the timelines come together it unravels a slew of secrets that turn the lives of the main characters upside down.

The story starts off in the 1960s with a glimpse into the life of Maggie. One day she finds herself in a psychiatric ward without any recollection of how she ended up there or the knowledge if she even belongs there. Throughout the novel she, and with her the reader, uncovers her past to explain tha
Sharon Chapter One, Page One..
My rating is 3.5 stars to The Things We Never Said but Goodreads doesn't allow half stars :(

It took me a little while to warm to the book, but once I did, I was engrossed and wanted to find out more. Written in alternate narratives with two main characters; Jonathan in the now (well, 2008) and Maggie from 1964, the story seamlessly slips between the past and the present, without any effort on the readers part.

Although the author deals with emotive issues in the book, I unfortunately found it fai
This is an absolutely superb read. It is a story told in two halves with each chapter alternating between the two strands of the story, which then eventually dovetail together.

The first story is that of Maggie, who we first meet as a mental health patient in 1964. Maggie has no recollection of her life before entering the hospital and her story is divulged as she slowly starts to remember when we find out that she has had to make some very brave decisions which will affect her and others for a l
Chrissie H
Following a confusing start for me, I must c say that the book improved immensely. The story of Maggie and the link to Jonathan did pique my interest and kept me up very late tonight to finish it.
The book has a good mix of emotion, annoyance, shock and believability. I would actually recommend this to others as I have ended the book feeling I overall enjoyed it.
The things we never said comes out on the 23rd may 2013. I have read this. It is one of my best books this year that i have read. A gem of a page turner. So much happens. The story magnificently weaves from past to present. With the blanket of snow, biting cold & roaring gale force winds. Crashing of wood falling & roof tops whirling around. Jonathan a school teacher is accused of hiting Ryan in the class room. More in store for poor Jonathan. Fiona, Jonathans wifes is expecting their fi ...more
This was a book group read, and perhaps not one I would have chosen myself, but it was a quick, good read. I liked the story being told by two people, mostly in two different time periods - the early 60s in particular were evoked well. I put some, but not all of the pieces together, and unlike some in the group I liked and had a lot of sympathy for Jonathon - I thought the portrait of a relationship under stress, and how quickly things can escalate / disintegrate was well portrayed. The writing ...more
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I was born at an early age...
I grew up in South East London, left school at 16 and married at 18. At the age of 30 I took my two children, left my unhappy life and started again, reinventing myself with an education and a new surname, which I chose by drawing up a shortlist from the telephone directory and sending off for brochures so I’d receive mail in those names. I settled on Elliot; Susan Ell
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