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- The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot Wright
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Its 1964 and Maggie wakes up in a mental hospital with no recollection of why she is there. Her memories are fuzzy and she is desperate to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and get some answers to this mystery. In the present day however, Jonathan and his wife are expecting their first baby. All is not well and Jonathan feels panicked and unsure of the type of father he will become. He has difficulties also in his job as a teacher. His relationship with his own father is fractured and awkward and Jonathan feels he can never be good enough in his father’s eyes. When Jonathan’s father dies, a detective starts asking questions about crimes that happened before Jonathan was born and Maggie and Jonathan’s stories become interweaved as the two mysteries collide and provide answers that turn both their lives around in a way neither could imagine.
I love the way this story was told, with flashbacks to Maggie’s life both before her time in the psychiatric ward and to her struggle with her memory loss. Some things for Maggie are too painful to remember. Jonathan’s story is one of a man who is still trying to find his place in the world and within his family, striving for acceptance. This is a beautifully told story that sees the characters deal with grief, pain and fear. It looks at the stigma around mental illness and the expectation that one should be able to move on from grief without help or support. However, it is essentially a story about love and the bonds that cannot be broken, no matter what life holds. A beautifully written book with wonderful and complex characters who are thrown together by a chain of events that neither has any control over. With a beautiful book cover too, this book is one I'd highly recommend.
I received an ARC of this book to provide an honest and impartial review. My review also appeared on the Lovereading site.