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The Words I Never Wrote

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  837 ratings  ·  228 reviews
A chance discovery inside a vintage typewriter case reveals the gripping story—and heartbreaking secrets—of two sisters on opposite sides of World War II in this captivating novel for readers of Lilac Girls and The Women in the Castle.

New York, present day: On a whim, photographer Juno Lambert buys the 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to celebrated journalist C
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Ballantine Books
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Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two sisters, Irene and Cordelia, find themselves on different political sides of WWII. Irene, married to a high ranking Nazi official, resides in Berlin while Cordelia moves to Paris to work for a journalist reporting on the Nazi's. Throughout the book, the two sisters periodically communicate through letters.

It starts out in 2016 with Juno perusing in a typewriter shop for a piece to use in her next photograph session. She finds Cordelia's typewriter from when she was a journalist and purchase
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this day and age of computers, iPads and smart phones, it's hard to believe that it wasn't that long ago that typewriters were the vessels that brought our minds stories to life, some fictional accounts and others all too real.
Modern day photographer, Juno Lambert, buys a 1931 Underwood typewriter and discovers an unpublished novel by celebrated author, Cordelia Capel in Jane Thynne's book, The Words I Never Wrote.
Cordelia's story is the harrowing account of two sisters, Cordelia and Irene. T
Susan Johnson
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley

My vow this year was to read less WWII books but here I start with one. Luckily for me it was excellent. I often have wondered what it was like to live in Germany during Hitler. Was there food? Was there deprivation? Was there fun and pride?

This is the story of two sisters and one marries a rich German industrialist before WWII and one moves to Paris to report on fashion. The sister in Germany, Irene, loves Berlin at first. There is a whirlwind of parties and life is great when you are rich
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
The Words I Never Wrote wasn't the novel I was expecting—in fact, it turned out to be much better than that. Yes, it had the hunt for a lost manuscript that I'd anticipated, but it also had relationships between characters and ethical conundrums that took it beyond a simple "fun read."

As one other reviewer noted, The Words I Never Wrote continue to surprise until the very end. At points, I'd think I'd gotten the basic shape of the novel—then my assumptions would be overturned by something unexpe
Karen R
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The storyline takes two paths, one present, one past. I loved the past thread in which two intelligent sisters find themselves on opposite sides during World War II. It captivated me. The contrast of Cordelia and Irene’s paths during the brutality of Hitler’s rise in power is vividly imagined by the author and fascinating. The heavy burdens of having to stay silent, hide allegiances, feeling alone and having to keep secrets for the sake of survival touched my heart.

The sisters are fictional, bu
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2
Ambitious, successful story from a feminine viewpoint of life in Paris/Berlin in 1930's leading up to Spanish Civil War and Hitler's hold over Germany leading to WWII. There are two main characters, sisters who had been brought up gently in England, allowing for one to be married off to a German industrialist and one to learn journalism in Paris.

This division of sisters results in a global look from all sides and viewpoints as their lives and experiences are revealed in a found manuscript in a
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I won this in a goodreads giveaway. It’s a wonderful and insightful book that I recommend to everyone
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
The one thing I really liked about this book was how everything intertwined well. All the questions were answered and the result is a well-written, well-plotted satisfying story with strong and clear characters. I liked all the characters and I found myself rooting for them all, well except, I was happy when the Nazis didn't win the war which I already knew they would! :) I don't read a lot of historical books situated during WWII for the simple fact that the market is saturated, and yes, it's a ...more
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-tbr
The Words I Never Wrote

This book takes place during WWII. It is the story of two sisters separated by war and by their decisions. Irene meets Ernst Weissmuller, a German industrialist, at her art exhibit. Ernst purchased one of her paintings and she fell in love with him. They married and she moved to Germany to start her new life. But at the dawn of WWII, Irene soon discovers that her decision to marry Ernst will cost her much. Cordelia, her sister, does not understand Irene’s decision to remain in Germany and suppor
RoseMary Achey
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
It took me reading over 60% of this novel until I was truly hooked. A current day journalist buys a vintage Underwood typewriter with a half finished manuscript. The story is of two sisters starting in the early 1930’s. One sister marries a German Industrialist and moves to Berlin. The other is a reporter in France.

What I liked about this novel was the focus on German life pre WWII. The build up to war and the in depth analysis of the customs and beliefs of the German people during that period.
Sydney Long
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
Wow! A story of two sisters on opposing sides during WWII. Cordelia and Irene were the best of friends growing up in England. When Irene falls for a German businessman, distance and a world on the verge of war separate them not only physically but emotionally. Cordelia finds herself writing fashion notes in Paris and Irene, having married the German becomes somewhat of a stepford wife in Berlin.

At first the sisters correspond frequently but as war draws is quite apparent that they a
Lesley Knight
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The meticulous research Jane Thynne must undertake for her novels remains modestly in the background of this absorbing read. Brava!
Gina Moltz
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Words I Never Wrote was an excellent historical fiction read! I actually finished it at 5am. And I love sleep! I am always interested to know how every day people live through a war. Cordelia and Irene may have chosen different paths but they were equally intriguing. They were never perfect but simply human. Juno added a great touch- explaining the rest of the story as well as showing us Berlin in the current day. It was interesting to find out some of the characters were based on real peopl ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly a beautiful novel seamlessly combining a modern time with the past. Intriguing from the very start! I was so invested in this whole story that I didn’t want it to come to a close! From the twist to the mixing with the modern times this historical fiction was beautiful. My heart was racing at times for the WWII characters Irene and Cordelia, other times my heart broke for them. One of my favorite WWII books lately! Definitely a must read for historical fiction fans!
The Words I Never Wrote is a good example of strong historical fiction. It is atmospheric with memorable characters. It uses two time periods, one during WWII and one in present day. The plot resonates around two sisters caught on opposite sides of the war as one pleads with the other to escape the surmounting totalitarian regime in Germany. In present day a young woman comes upon their story. Determined to discover its ending, she travels to Germany seeking its conclusion. Although the main cha ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it

This is a very nice, well written, and enjoyable book. In dual timelines, current day photographer Juno Lambert purchases an old Underwood Portable typewriter and finds within it a manuscript, or half of a manuscript. It tells the story of two British sisters, Irene and Cordelia, and their separate paths during WWII.

Before the beginning of the war, Irene marries a German industrialist and moves from England to Germany to become his wife. As war breaks out, her husband’s
Maureen Grigsby
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable novel about 2 sisters from 1936 -1945 as Europe was leading up to war. One sister had just married a German industrialist and moved to Berlin, and the other one is a journalist who gets sent to Paris. A very interesting WWII novel.
Sue Seligman
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review to follow!
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book and I loved it! First of all, I'm just a sucker for vintage typewriters so any story that starts with a typewriter is good for me! But this is a fascinating and beautifully written story about two sisters who paths diverge due to the choices they make during wartime. Deeply felt and written with nuance and great emotional depth, it's one of the best stories I've read about women's lives and the choices they made during wartime. ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an advanced copy of Jane Thynne’s newest book. I loved all the books in the Clara Vine books. Surprisingly, the earlier books in the series were not in the library so I bought them all. This is a stand alone book - not a new Clara Vine novel but it is has similarities - set in WW2, features a nazi housewife, and has spies. I read this book in one weekend while down with a cold and it kept me interested with its twists and turns. I also learned more about ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Warning: rape

Jane Thynne brings us an epistolary novel set in London and Berlin in the late 1930s in the runup to WWII.

In the present, Juno Lambert, a photographer working her way through divorce, comes across an ancient Underwood typewriter. The typewriter shop owner tells her it was once the property of Cordelia Capel, a journalist who covered fashion in Paris and then the aftermath of WWII. In the case for the typewriter is a partially-finished manuscript written by Cordelia. Juno purchases t
Maggie Boyd
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set during the tumultuous era encompassing WWII, The Words I Never Wrote is an interesting take on how easily we can misunderstand those we love.

Our story begins with an elderly journalist receiving yet another award. Cordelia Capel already has a Pulitzer, has previously been honored with the White House Correspondents Association Award and this latest trophy will be just one more piece of memorabilia gathering dust on her overcrowded shelves. It is not the keepsake Cordelia wants. “If I have to
Bookish Biker
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 2016, Juno Lambert, recovering from a break-up and the loss of a pregnancy, purchases an antique Underwood typewriter, which contains an unreleased manuscript by a famous journalist. In it, she discovers the story of two women - Cordelia Capel, a young woman trying to find her way through a very man-centric world, and her sister Irene, who marries a German industrialist just as Hitler is coming to power.

Told in two timelines and in three voices, The Words I Never Wrote follows Cordelia as she
Judi Easley
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers of WWII dramas
Recommended to Judi by: blog/library new books rack
The Words I Never Wrote
Jane Thynne
Ballantine Books, Jan 2020
380 pages
Historical Fiction, WWII
Borrowed from Derry Public Library

The cover is interesting with the misty background of a city then the woman in a tailored suit looking pensive. In front of that is the old typewriter with the title typed on the paper and there is an overlay of old water-stained paper. You know you’re going to be looking into the past. I had seen this book written up on one of my feeds several days before I was at
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read so many books that took place during WWII, it was a pleasure to read "The Words I Never Wrote" by Jane Thynne as the novel takes place and tells the reader a story of the years prior to the great war.

During a hot summer day, Juno Lambert, a photographer, and occasional writer, finds herself in an antique shop where she comes across an old 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to a journalist Cordelia Capel. To her amusement, the old typewriter came with a bonus, a manuscript/bio
Maureen Timerman
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
As the book begins we are at the wedding of the older sister Irene’s, as her life is about to begin with her new husband, she is marrying a rather well to do man who is from Germany and we are in the 1930’s.
The author also gives us a younger sister Cordelia, and we follow her as she goes about her life to become a journalist.
What put the story together, well, we are given a young woman who happens to buy a beautiful vintage typewriter, how I would love one! With the typewriter is a partial novel
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Thank you, NetGalley and Random House, for a complimentary copy of this book! This review reflects my personal opinion!

Oh my, oh my, where to begin with this review! The author did a fantastic job writing this one with dual timeline and multiple POVs. I was able to experience the feelings and thoughts of the main characters. Another thing that really stood out was that Jane Thynne made me feel like I was reading a nonfiction book in narrative format. She included names that were familiar--both o
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
An intriguing, suspenseful book about two sisters that end up on different sides before and during World War II. Cordelia, an ambitious journalist, works in England and France after her sister, Irene, marries a wealthy Nazi and moves to Berlin. I don't want to say much else about this book, that started off slowly, setting the scene and letting the reader really get to know the characters, but then became very suspenseful.

This book is a perfect complement to Erik Larsen' IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS.
DONNA Edwards
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favorite genre is WW2 novels. I keep wondering how many books can be written about that period. Is there anything new to say? But yes. Another book from that era and another new plot. This book centers around the lives of two sisters who were always close growing up in England.

As with many novels today, we are taken back and forth through several time periods. It starts with a female, American photographer in 2016 who buys a vintage typewriter. Then the author transports us through the ‘30’s
Kim Fox
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think I have found another favorite author!! Last night I finished The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne. What a wonderful book! After you have read as many historical fiction books based during WWII ,as I have, you don't think you can be surprised. You have a feeling how the story will be told, but this one surprised me, all the way until the end. It is a story of family, sacrifices, pain, heartbreak, redemption, and that doesn't even cover half the book. The story starts in present day New ...more
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Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English and joined the BBC as a journalist. She has also worked at The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, as well as for numerous British magazines. She appears as a broadcaster on Radio 4 and Sky TV. Jane has three children and lives in London.

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