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The Things We Never Said

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  142 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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B the BookAddict
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction

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
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,
Jo (The Book Geek)
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written and I loved the characters. It is rather poignant in parts and I simply couldn't put the book down. A wonderful read, thank you Susan Elliot Wright!
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Things We Never Said is a story told in two voices and during the prologue the reader finds themselves in 2009 on a cold, wet and windy day. This is a gentle introduction, with flash backs to the past that really sets the pace for the story that follows.

The first voice of the story is Jonathan; a teacher, a father-to-be. Jonathan is a complex and worried character, his memories of childhood are not happy, he is struggling to know how to tell his ageing and controlling father that he is to be
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,
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Told during two different times, we follow the main characters, Maggie from 1964 and Jonathan from 2008. The prologue drew me in immediately with enough unanswered questions to keep me intrigued.

Maggie’s story is really moving. The reader first meets her in 1964 when she is a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Susan has written these parts of the book wonderfully, horrifying yet with glimpses of humour, it has the perfect balance. I really liked Maggie, she has an inner strength and courage that
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Amber Myott
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The time it took me to read this book was not a reflection of its merit but more my lack of time to devote to it ! This was beautifully written and the time shifts were easy to follow unlike other novels attempts that jump all over the place ! Excellent research went into this story in relation to the treatment of mental health in the 50's . This would be a great holiday read
Monique Mulligan
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Judy Collins
THE THINGS WE NEVER SAID, a captivating debut by Susan Elliot Wright, and narrated by Kate Lee, of mental health issues of the sixties and highly charged topics of pregnancy, marriage, and family secrets.

Set in England, we learn of Maggie of events forty years apart. In 1964, Maggie wakens to find herself in a psychiatric ward and has no relocation of her name or why she is here. There is a man named Jack a storm, a crying baby, and a job in a theatre; however, it is blurred.

Jonathan, a young co
Katy Howard dane
Really perceptive

This book captured the modern day and the 60s beautifully. It captured everything perfectly. I don't remember many authors names, I will remember Susan Elliot Wright.
Marguerite Kaye
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Yvann S
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 read novels
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
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
Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Laura Wilkinson
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jane Butterworth
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Was so captivated by Maggie. Can't wait for her next novel
Wendy Janes
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maggie wakes up in a mental hospital in the 1960s, unable to recall how she got there, or even who she is. In the present day, Jonathan is a teacher whose wife is expecting their first child. Why is it so difficult for him to tell his parents that they are about to become grandparents? What could be the link between any of these characters?

Post-war Britain is depicted as a grim, prejudiced place, with cruelty and sadness both within and beyond the walls of the mental hospital. The course of Magg
Bree T
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Samantha Turner
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's easy to forget how far we have come in access to birth control, adoption, unwanted pregnancies, sex education, sexual consent, mental health amongst many other taboos in my lifetime.

The Things We Never Said is a captivating story reminding us of the freedom & control we can potentially choose in our lives & hopefully judge less in others. Strongly recommended.
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Although I did enjoy this book, I found myself asking "What am I reading?". That is because the book is told in two different time periods, and you know the stories do connect, however it does take over 3/4 of the book. Until the story connects, you are reading 2 very different stories.
Roanna Wong
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book got me captivated. Could not put the book down. I love how the writer has intertwined the past and present together in the story. It was a lil confusing in the beginning but as the story unfolds, it starts to grip you.
Towards the end of the story, I could not hold my tears...
Barbara Ann Woolsey
Captivating. I will definitely read this author again! Love the way she builds her characters and the stories intertwine.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Multiple plots and transitions from the present to the past make this a little difficult to follow at first, but overall the story is good and the characters interesting. 3.25/5 stars.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Sep 20, 2015 01:29PM  
  • The End of Law: A Novel of Hitler's Germany
  • After the Fall
  • Bay of Secrets
  • In Her Shadow
  • Forgive Me
  • Lost and Found
  • Monsoon Summer
  • What Have I Done? (No Greater Love #2)
  • Someone to Watch Over Me
  • Up the Junction
  • Set in Stone
  • The Blue Door
  • Tennison (Tennison, #1)
  • Summer of '76
  • The Butterfly Summer
  • The Cry
  • The Night Rainbow
  • Always You
Susan Elliot Wright grew up in Lewisham in south-east London. Before becoming a full-time writer, she did a number of different jobs, including civil servant, cleaner, dishwasher, journalist, and chef. She has an MA in writing from Sheffield Hallam University, where she is now an associate lecturer, and she lives in Sheffield with her husband and a big black dog called Henry. She is currently at w ...more
More about Susan Elliot Wright...