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The Things We Cannot Say

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  65,872 ratings  ·  6,955 reviews
In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engag
Hardcover, First, 448 pages
Published October 17th 2019 by Graydon House (first published February 26th 2019)
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Linda Wolcott Yes, I listened to it. The audible version was unusual because there were two readers, unusual, but two female readers, very unusual. However, most of…moreYes, I listened to it. The audible version was unusual because there were two readers, unusual, but two female readers, very unusual. However, most of the main characters were women. The readers were excellent, especially the one who read Alina.(less)

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Average rating 4.51  · 
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 ·  65,872 ratings  ·  6,955 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five remarkable, epic, tear jerking stars!
The title gives us a clue that something kept secret in this family. But this poetically written, heartwarming, amazing story is not about the family secrets , it’s about the words we keep inside and it’s about the emotions we hide. It’s about the reconnection of the family by reaching their roots and discovering their ancestors and an epic, unconditional, never ending love story defeats the time, dead and war.

Our two heroines Alice, Alina are coming f
Angela M
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This is a story of war, of family, of loss, of sacrifice, of the goodness of people trying to save others because they saw each other as human beings, not as Jews or Catholics, and at its heart is a beautiful love story. It’s an important story as all Holocaust stories are because it’s focus is on the importance of remembering the things that happened, the importance of sharing those stories. So many novels these days are comprised of dual narratives, one in the past and one in a more modern tim
Muhtasin Oyshik
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
Survival, hardship, and heartbreak. It was deeply emotional, filled with knowledge about the Polish plight during WWII, and captured human relationships beautifully during the war. A compelling and poignant story. This is a story that brings into focus how quickly a society can be changed from one of peace and traditions when another government decides that it is their right to force their own beliefs. Definitely would recommend this book to all my friends
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
5 stars! Kelly Rimmer, you are a writing Queen!

I read “Before I Let You Go” last year which was my first book by Kelly Rimmer. I finished that novel overcome with unshakable emotion and a feeling of being forever changed. That storyline and those characters still haunt me to this day. This novel, although a completely different type of storyline, left me feeling the exact same. I was teary during the first page of the Prologue. I felt an intense emotional connection to the characters in the firs
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Things We Cannot Say had me crying and I usually don't cry when I read books, no matter how sad. But this story just tore the tears from me, in so many ways. Two time periods are linked together by one woman and the truth she couldn't tell, until her very last days.

In 1942, fifteen year old Polish Catholic Alina Dziak is poor, but she has her mother, father, and two doting brothers. The family lives on their small farm and eek out an existence in this place that is home for them. Alina's lov
In The Things We Cannot Say Kelly Rimmer has penned a heartbreakingly powerful and hopeful love story set amidst the backdrop of war, loss and the unimaginable atrocities of WWII. Simply put this is the kind of book that grabs hold of you, envelopes you within it pages and holds on long after you have finished reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way Rimmer told this story via a dual narrative - effortlessly weaving historical fiction with a modern day story. Alina's story is set amidst the harrow
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my 2019 favorites! A can’t miss if you love powerful historical fiction! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Told in two timelines, we hear from Alina Dziak in 1942 just as she gets married in a Russian refugee camp. Her decision to marry will change her life and bury a lie for decades.

Young Alina Dziak grows up in Poland falling in love early with her best friend, Tomasz. She is engaged at fifteen, around the same time Nazi solders arrive at the border. Tomasz is away at college in Warsaw, and she waits for
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

4.5 stars

I am having a hard time coming up with the words to describe the beauty and the heartbreak of this story. When it leaves you practically speechless and continually thinking about the significance of what you just read, that pretty much ‘says’ it all.

There are dual narratives within the storyline. One told in the past and one in the present. One a grandmother, the other her granddaughter.

The past takes you back to WWII and what the grandmother and her fellow countrymen endured during th
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully crafted story weaves together the present and the past seamlessly with threads of heartbreak, sacrifice, and love!

Two strong women, two unique voices, two different times, one stunning tale! Kelly Rimmer has spun a story Full of survival and love that you won’t soon forget! Miss Rimmer has poured her heart, her hope, and her own personal family history into these pages. No matter how many books I read about WWII I am always deeply impacted by the horror of war and the power of
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christine by: Angela M
5 Glorious Stars!!

I mightily attempted to damp down my expectations going into this one, as just look at those overall ratings—4.55 average from over 1600 readers on Goodreads. I needn’t have worried however, as this book delivers all the goods and in a big way. It is one of the two best novels I have read all year, and I have read some outstanding books!

This novel is long, but there is never a spot that drags. It is filled with fear, sacrifice, agony, tragedy, death, strength, loyalty, forgiven
Sheyla ✎
5 moje Wszystko stars!

With fat tears running down my face, I'm writing this review.

It has been almost a year since The Things We Cannot Say came out yet life has made it impossible for me to read it before now. So many friends recommended it and they were not wrong. It's a beautiful devastating story. One that will be impossible to forget.

I went in blind which I'm so happy I did. Kelly Rimmer does a beautiful job at creating Tomasz, Alina, Alice, Eddie, Emilia, Saul, and all others right in fro
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin-Graydon House Books for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Well, this was such a great WWII era dual narrative that I am sure that it is going to be nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award later this year. In the contemporary storyline, you have Alice, a stay at home mother of two, who finds herself disconnected from her husband, criticized by her mother, and every day fighting on behalf of her special needs son. When her ailing grandmother, Han

I’m not sure what I can say about this outstanding book that hasn’t already been said. I like many other readers absolutely LOVED this book and found it extremely hard to put down. This was a dual timeline story and Aussie author Kelly Rimmer has done an exceptionally well job in constructing this part of the book as the story flows so smoothly between the two time periods making it not only an easy story to follow, but also a very enjoyable one.

Things We Cannot Say
Mar 19, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
It's live! The Things We Cannot Say is available NOW. This is a story I dreamed of writing for years, and I'm so excited to finally share it with you 😊 ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This wasn’t bad and I sort of get the high rating it. It’s just bad timing to read this book because I didn’t want to read more WWII books but my hold for the audio was up and had no other audiobooks to listen to.

The story is told in a dual timeline, something very trendy apparently nowadays in WWII books. One during the war in Poland and the other in the present day. And obviously, the two timelines will connect.

While I have to admit the WWII wasn't one I've previously read about, it
Elyse  Walters
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
....voices by Ann Marie Gidean and Nancy Peterson

It’s rare that I ‘listen’ to Historical Fiction/WWII/Holocaust, books.
My thinking is usually I need to visually read the text for this genre - but this was offered up as an Audible daily special - so took a chance - and WOW... the narration read by ‘both’ women, ( Ann and Nancy), is outstanding.

A highly memorable WWII-audiobook-favorite!

...Extremely engaging!!!!!EASY - ADDICTING LISTENING...the type of story that involves readers
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
The Things We Cannot Say is a heartbreaking, heartwarming hopeful story that explores love, loss, hardship, sacrifice and the relationships that bond people together. Through duel timelines, we see the bonds between a family and the things they cannot say and the things that bring them together.

What really stood out for me and what I really loved about this story was the compelling and emotional layered duel timelines and how they connected the story and the family. We see the historical side to
Jun 13, 2019 added it
Shelves: abandoned
No rating. This has me listing as a DNF and putting on my abandoned shelf at page 87. It's Hallmark stereotype hyperbole crisis to switching crisis. Just exactly what I call Chick Lit. Effusive judgment and emotive volcanoes that I just fail to desire to climb. Victim hood stereotyping and the sanctimonious judgments twice as heavy as the stereotyping, coupled with virtue signaling both directions. Others tend to love a good cry?

Regardless, these characters do not have any depth or reality. I'v
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kelly Rimmer has done it again. If you haven’t read anything by this woman, I urge to pick up a book, any book, by her. She has a way of making you feel all the feels and leaves you with a pile of tissues beside you, but she doesn’t just rip your heart out, she sews it up and puts it back in its place.

This story is a little bit of everything; historical fiction, women’s fiction, domestic drama and a love story, all rolled up into one. The story alternates between Alice, in the present day and h
Alice was devastated when her grandmother, her beloved Babcia was hospitalized after a stroke. She and her mother were both aware Babcia was in her nineties and wouldn’t have much longer to live, and since Alice’s Pa had died, Babcia had become much more frail. When Babcia indicated to Alice that she wanted her to go to Poland to unearth the secrets from her past, Alice at first knew she couldn’t possibly make the journey. Her husband Wade was extremely busy with work, their seven-year-old son E ...more
Sally Hepworth
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kelly Rimmer has raised her already high bar with this unforgettable novel. It is that rare author that takes the reader so deeply into a world that you smell the smells, feel the hunger, see the devastation.

Alina and Tomasz’s story is one of bravery, resilience, and the lengths we will go to for the ones we love. It felt so real to me that last night, when I finished reading, I cried for them. Not for myself, but for Alina and Tomasz. Also for the millions of people who lived this. Honestly, I
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A family’s powerful story told in two timelines. One of the stories is in modern day America told by Alice and the other told by Alina (her beloved grandmother), taking place in America and her past inside occupied Poland during WW11.
Alina’s story was heartbreaking, she and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts.. the night before he leaves for college, he proposes.. shortly after their farming village falls to the Nazis. For quite some time she doesn’t know if he is alive or dead. We actually se
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Things We Cannot Say is told in two timelines, like many historical novels these days. The earlier timeline is set during WWII, and told from Alina’s perspective. Alina is in her late teens, living on a farm in Poland, where she and her family are trying to survive after the Nazi occupation. The second timeline is told from Alice’s perspective. While Alice tries to juggle a complicated family situation, her 95 year old grandmother Hannah asks her to go back to Poland to find Tomasc. This doe ...more
I had to wait a few days after I finished this one to write a review. My feelings were so mixed I wanted to give them time to straighten themselves out and see if they went more towards yay or towards nay. I’m still confused so I’m going to explain why right here. I’ve read so many WW2 related novels, most based on fact or at least somewhat true to what may have happened during that time, so I sometimes feel some writers just rehash overdone storylines or, worse, overlook historical events for t ...more
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

There was nothing to bury, no body to conduct a service over. Instead, we heard that he was gone, and that was that… Nothing had changed, except that nothing was the same anymore, because once I had two brothers, and now I had one… Our oppression was loss without reason, and pain without a purpose.

I didn’t yet understand the horrific depths of the evil of the Nazi agenda— but somehow in the moonlight that night, I felt the loss of humanity, a very pause in the heartbeat of our sh
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a World War II story. I guess you can call it a historical novel. The book grabbed me right from the start and kept me engaged through-out the story.

The book is well written and researched. It switches back and forth from the past to present. The characters are interesting. The past part of the story takes place in 1942 Poland. Alina Dzink is fifteen. She is in love with Tomasz who is away at collage in Warsaw. Then the Nazis come to her village. The present has Alice taking care of her
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
5 outstanding historical fiction stars

This is a sweeping family saga that includes a poor farming community in Poland (very near to Auschwitz), a refugee camp in Soviet Russia, and the United States. There are all my favorite elements in this book: richly drawn and engaging characters, an historical backdrop that adds to the story, relationships that you are invested in and cheer for, and an ending that brought me to tears.

The main characters are Alina, a young woman when WWII breaks out, and Al
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Over a decade ago, Kelly Rimmer, the author of The Things We Cannot Say, started thinking about a novel set in occupied Poland about a young couple, along with a modern day woman grappling with the challenges of everyday family life. After a period of 18 months of continued writing, Kelly Rimmer has published her latest book. The Things We Cannot Say is a double timeline narrative, it is set both in the present day and in WWII Poland. It follows the lives of
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
This novel tells the stories of two women- Alina, a teenager in Poland during WWII, and Alice, a modern-day American thirtysomthing. The character development of Alina is interesting- in the beginning of the book, Alina is a petulant child who can only consider her own suffering and hardships (and she isn't even Jewish!) but by the end of the novel, she has become heroic. The same cannot be said for Alice, however. Alice foists her problems onto everyone else in the world around her, and is supr ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
Life has a way of reminding you that you are at the mercy of chance, and that even well-thought-out plans can turn to chaos in an instant."

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer is easily going to be one of my favorite books of this year, possibly one I’ll keep recommending to people for a very long time. Historical fiction, particularly those centered around and impacted by the atrocities of war are often times desperately tragic and distressing. But it’s the little acts of bravery and kindne
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Kelly Rimmer is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret Daughter and The Things We Cannot Say. She’s sold more than one million books, and her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages. Kelly lives in the Central West of New South Wales with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil.

News & Interviews

Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
49 likes · 7 comments
“Life doesn't work that way, Alina. Hatred spreads - it doesn't burn out with time. Someone needs to stand up and stop it.” 10 likes
“It costs our ancestors too damned much for us to have this life - the best thing we can do to honor them is to live it to its fullest.” 9 likes
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