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The Words I Never Wrote

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  79 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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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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
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
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
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 ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Review to come... stay tuned.
Kimberly Mussell
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m giving this one 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you know me, you know I love a story with dual time settings. I was wanting a little more with Juno and 2016!
This is a great story of family and beyond! Pleasantly surprised with this one. Thank you NetGalley.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I really liked this book. It's yet another historical fiction novel set during WWII, but the twist of the plot and the excellent writing helped it stand out.
The majority of the story takes place in Paris and Berlin just prior to the war and revolves around two sisters, Cordelia and Irene, who are living two totally different existences in these two cities.
The novel introduces us to them through an unfinished novel found in Cordelia's 1931 Underwood typewriter. The machine is purchased by Juno
Randi Sampson
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Words I Never Wrote started out in 2016 with the purchase of a vintage typewriter once owned by well known journalist Cordelia Capel. Within it's case, Juno (the purchaser) discovers an unfinished novel detailing the story of Cordelia and her sister Irene in the days leading up to, during and following WWII. Ending up on both sides of the conflict, it tells a fascinating tale of what life was like in these days both in Germany and for those outside. It had me captivated early on and kept me ...more
Tristan Munoz
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Words I Never Wrote is about two sisters Irene and Cordelia caught up in the politics of WWII, each doing what they can to fight against the atrocities of the war. As girls growing up in England, they were extremely close. Then, Irene marries a German man and moves to Berlin. Cordelia moves to Paris as an aspiring journalist, writing stories on current fashion. Irene discovers that her husband joined the Nazi Party before their marriage, and married life is nothing like she thought it would ...more
This is an exceptional WWII historical fiction read! I absolutely loved it and recommend it to any and all fans of this genre!

In 2012 in Brooklyn, NY, Cordelia Capel, 96, who has been called "the foremost chronicler of our American life, receives yet another prized journalism award and begins to reminisce about her long and illustrious career.

In 2016, Juno Lambert, 36, a photographer, stops in a typewriter store in NYC to find a prop for an upcoming photo session. She is immediately drawn to a
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, chic-lit
I received a digital copy of this from Netgalley for a fair and honest review.

“The Words I never Wrote” is a haunting story of two English sisters torn apart by the horrors of WWII. Irene, a budding artist, marries into a German industrialist family in the mid-1930’s early in the rise of Fascism and Hitler. Her sister Cordelia meanwhile, goes to Paris in the hopes of starting her career in journalism. Both sisters quickly learn that life is more than games and tea in the garden back home in
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
Cathy Cole
Jane Thynne's The Words I Never Wrote employs a dual timeline that often can work beautifully, but in the case of Juno and the Capel sisters, it doesn't work quite as well.

For me, Juno is the weakest link. Her up-and-coming film star boyfriend's desertion to Hollywood has made her indecisive, and more than compulsion, her decision to go to Germany to uncover the Capel sisters' story seems to be simple avoidance. And speaking of that boyfriend of hers, every move he makes, every word he speaks
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Words I Never Wrote’ by Jane Thynne tells of the experiences of two upper-class British sisters during the years leading up to and during WWII. One sister, Irene, marries a German industrialist in the 1930’s, and her husband becomes very involved in the Nazi party over time. The other sister, Cordelia, who is single, takes a job in Paris with a newspaper, writing about women’s fashion. Each sister is engaged in fighting against the Nazis as Irene works with the Jewish resistance and ...more
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
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful story of the two sisters, Cordelia and Irene torn apart by the madness and horror of World War ll. In 1936 beautiful Irene has fallen in love and married a German Industrialist and has moved from her home in Britain to Berlin. Cordelia follows her heart to become a journalist and has landed a position in Paris. The close sisters correspond with each other via letters.
Irene becomes quickly disillusioned with her marriage as she discovers her husband Ernest is not the man she
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Tale of Two Sisters

The story started a little slow but it soon picked up and by the end of the book I couldn't wait to finish it. I did get distracted a few times between England, France Germany and current day. Had to go back and reread a few pages to find where I was.

Juno buys an antique typewriter from 1939 and finds an unfinished novel in an envelope inside the computer case. Her search for the ending of the story takes her to Berlin. What she finds is the story of two sisters that were
Jean Kolinofsky
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After losing her information to a computer virus, photo-journalist Juno Lambert enters a typewriter store and discovers a 1931 Underwood. Purchased from the estate of journalist Cordelia Capel, its’ case contains an unfinished manuscript for a novel based on the relationship between Cordelia and her sister Irene beginning in the mid 1930s.

Cordelia and her sister were best friends, but when Irene marries a German industrialist she makes her home in Berlin. Cordelia follows her dream of becoming a
This is a beautifully written, tragic yet edifying tale of two English sisters who become estranged during the Second World War.
When an unfinished manuscript is discovered in a vintage Underwood typewriter in present day New York, by a photographer named Juno Lambert she becomes intrigued by what she has discovered and decides to investigate the reasons for the rift between sisters Cordelia and Irene.
As she investigates further Juno uncovers the lives of two indomitable women, one the wife of a
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne is a fascinating and unforgettable story by Janey Thynne. It follows two sisters, Irene and Cordelia, as they find themselves in dramatically different circumstances before, during, and after WWII. Born and raised in England, Irene and Cordelia vow to remain close as Irene is whisked away to Germany with her new husband, a handsome businessman, and rising Nazi officials. As a parting gift, Irene gives Cordelia a typewriter, which inspires her to pursue a ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Words I Never Wrote by author Jane Thynne is one of the most heartbreaking novels I have read! The current day narrator is Juno Lambert, a young photographer who discovers an unfinished novel in the case of a 1931 Underwood typewriter. Juno is at a crossroads in her life and becomes entranced with learning more about the life of the previous owner of the typewriter.
Cordelia and Irene Capel are sisters whose bond changed drastically in 1936 when Irene married a wealthy industrialist and
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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.