Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Things We Didn't Say By Amy Lynn Green

Things We Didn't Say
by Amy Lynn Green
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764237164

Well, as soon as I learned that Amy Lynn Green had written a book I was incredibly excited! Having "known" her for years through Bethany House, I couldn't wait to read Things We Didn't Say. I was able to read the book through NetGalley!


Ironside Lake, Minnesota 
January 1944

Headstrong and determined, linguistics student Johanna Berglund has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind. But when the only way to her intended future is through undertaking a translator position at a nearby camp for German POWs, she reluctantly accepts.

Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy Minnesota town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they're not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her close friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.

As Johanna interacts with the prisoners and censors their letters home, she begins to see them in a more sympathetic light, but advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred--and she must decide where her heart truly lies.

My Review:

From Mimi to Amy
Delivered via Bethany House & Woven by Words

November 9, 2020
Dear Amy,

All is well here in Maryland. Missing Minnesota as most of my social media posts might allude to. I was so glad to be home for the first snowfall of the year though. It'll carry me through until I can get back in January. I have to admit, I'm glad that the weather stays in the 70s here in Maryland during November. I get to wear shorts and t-shirts here longer than I ever did in MN.

I have to tell you, I just finished "Things We Didn't Say" and was blown away! Are you sure this was your first novel? it certainly didn't feel like it. Have I ever mentioned I've never read an epistolary novel before. I have watched the movie "The Potato Peel Society of Guernsey" but I haven't read a book created by all letters!

Having not read a book that was based on written letters, I wasn't sure if it would appeal to me or if it would keep my interest. Well, I was hooked the moment I started reading! I was so nervous for Joanna Berglund right from the get-go. Can I tell you that I had no idea we had POW camps in Minnesota?! I didn't grow up there so maybe my kids learned about it since they did.

I really enjoyed the getting a feel for the relationship Jo has with the people in her life through her letters. Of course, being the romantic that I am, I enjoyed Peter's letter exchanges the most. Interesting that I say that now because I think in the 40s I probably wouldn't have had the same response.1  

Jo going back to Ironside Lake when her dreams lay far away at Oxford really made me feel compelled to be angry for her... basically being coerced into going home. I would imagine tensions were high, especially in such a small town. We know how those small towns are and Ironside Lake definitely lived up to the reputation.

I love Jo's spirited exchanges with Peter and Olive. She's witty and abrupt, something I ADORE in characters. Not everyone appreciates those parts that make up Joanna. Good thing she's resolved not to care in the least. HA!

The work she did with the POWs was wonderful and kudos for people who do that in real life as well. I'm sure she represents a unique group of people. It was "easy" to see them through her eyes. Too bad others didn't follow suit.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot I can say to the rest of the story because I don't want to give too much away. Hopefully I haven't already. If so, please be sure to let me know so I can make amends! I hope this isn't the last we hear from you and that we'll have many books to look forward to! I'll be reading them to be sure.

PS The anonymous donor really surprised me!
1It's always hard to know how one would respond in a different time. I've often thought of this when I read books that are set during the Civil War or Regency era.

About the Author:

Amy Lynn Green (www.amygreenbooks.com) is a publicist by day and a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family magazines, and other faith-based publications over the past 10 years. This is her first novel.


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