Book Review: The Words I Never Wrote

Writing about other people’s lives, putting to pen other people’s passions and pains, is simple compared to sharing your soul and exposing your secrets on the page.

Trust me when I say, I would much rather tell you about the liars and the cheats and the shysters and the scoundrels in our families’ trees than share excerpts of my everyday existence. I guess that is why I identified with the novel, The Words I Never Wrote, by Jane Thynne.

It is the story of two sisters, whom we “meet” by chance when an unfinished manuscript is found tucked inside a 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to the world-renowned journalist, Cordelia Capel.

Intrigued by both the antique and the pages, Juno Lambert purchases the typewriter and begins reading the manuscript which documents the tale of two women on opposite sides of the war: Cordelia and her sister Irene.

Their story starts in the year 1936. Cordelia and Irene are the daughters of a well-to-do, well-connected English couple whose social circle is diverse and immense.

At one of their parents’ garden parties, Irene meets a handsome businessman from Germany whose charm catches her heart. The two soon marry and relocate to his home in Berlin. Meanwhile, Cordelia, who lives to write, begins working at a Paris newspaper office.

Despite the distance, the sisters remain devoted to one another and correspond regularly. But, as time passes, Cordelia reads between the lines of her sister’s letters; Irene’s husband is a Nazi sympathizer.

Although Cordelia tries to convince her sister to leave, life in the Third Reich has become oppressive and overbearing. Irene can no longer confide in her sister without fear of repercussions; instead, she must choose her words carefully, never spelling out the truth of her life to her sister… or herself.

Exceptionally emotive and well-wrought, The Words I Never Wrote kept me guessing and kept me turning. As a lover of World  World War II fiction, The Words I Never Wrote is by far one of my favorites. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves history or enjoys a great story.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ballantine Books, courtesy of a NetGalley giveaway. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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