The Words I Never Wrote
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 Cordelia Capel. Within its case she discovers an unpublished novel, igniting a transatlantic journey to fill the gaps in the story of Cordelia and her sister’s loving yet tempestuous relationship.England, 1936: Cordelia’s socialite sister, Irene, marries a German man from a powerful family who whisks her away to Berlin. Cordelia remains in England to pursue the writing career she cherishes, but in the male-dominated world of journalism, she can only get hired as a typist. The sisters exchange letters as politics begin to boil in Europe and tensions come to a head when Cordelia discovers Irene’s husband is a Nazi sympathizer. Does that make Irene one by proxy? With increasing desperation, Cordelia writes to Irene, seeking to understand her loyalties. But the sisters’ letters don’t tell the whole story. So Cordelia decides to fill in the blanks by sitting down with her Underwood and—finally—writing the truth.When Juno discovers the trove of letters the two exchanged, a vivid portrait of Berlin in the devastating years during and after the war comes into focus. In this moving novel, Jane Thynne offers an intimate glimpse into a lesser known side of World War II.

The Words I Never Wrote Details

TitleThe Words I Never Wrote
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 21st, 2020
PublisherBallantine Books
ISBN-139781524796594
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

The Words I Never Wrote Review

  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 purchases it because she also finds a copy of an unpublished novel Cordelia wrote in the typewriter case. Juno goes home and reads Cordelia’s manuscript. Juno's modern day POV does not pick up again until 59% (on a Kindle).The first half of the book revolves around the evolving politics of the Nazi party as seen through the eyes of Irene who attends many parties and political events with her Nazi husband. She struggles to accept her role as a wife according to the National Socialist Guide and feels like she must yield in order to survive. "If you're going to fit in, you'll need to accept the way Germans do things." Meanwhile, her sister, Cordelia, reports on fashion in Paris while working for a journalist and questions her sisters political allegiance and ethical behavior. Will the two sisters be able to reconcile after the war, or will their political views keep them divided? "How could a person be dragged screaming into a police care on the streets of a civilized city and not even turn heads?" Historically : There are lot of prominent historical figures involved in the story such as Martha Dodd, Janet Flanner, Joseph Goebells, Reinhard Heydrich, Sylvia Beach, Arthur Koestler, and Kim Philby. There is dialogue regarding gender inequality; Cordelia has to first work as a secretary because women weren't seen to be fit as journalist working alongside men, while Irene had to follow the Nazi protocol for being a proper wife and running a household. Degenerate artists are also a considerable subject that are detailed through a character seen in the second half, Oskar Blum, a young artist who is a protege of Liebermann. "Jew lackeys like Liebermann have a polluting effect. Our culture is cleaner without their entartete Kunst." Rating explained: The scenes and descriptions are over-extensive and drawn out which made it feel longer than it had to be. It was slow in some places and a little under halfway through I started to feel eager for the story to climb. (It doesn't truly reach climax until around 80% on a Kindle.) I enjoyed that the focus was before the war and what led up to it (1936/1937) and then the end of the war (1945/46) rather than what happened during the war. The ending was great and I really enjoyed it. I also loved the political climate that the author creates, and consider the topic of political influence dividing family relevant today. 3.6 rounded up to 4.(Trigger- rape scene)Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Ballantine for an advanced copy. Opinions are my own. More on this: Watch Kim Philby's speech on becoming a double agent. 3 minutes and 30 seconds. (In The Words I Never Wrote, Kim Philby ends up playing a big role in Cordelia’s life.)Great article about Women in Nazi Germany, recommend reading- https://spartacus-educational.com/GER...Visit author Jane Thynne's website. Read about Martha Dodd and her relationship with the Nazi's. (In this novel, Martha is a close friend to Irene.) Hitler's degenerate art museum where you can see graffiti on the walls and on some of the portraits.
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  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 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 4.5 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. She becomes friends with the daughter of the American Ambassador, Martha Dodd, and keeps her painting up. Then the couple start meeting higher ranking Nazis and war starts getting closer and life is not as fun. Meanwhile journalist, Cordelia, moves to England and continues reporting but expands her writing to other subjects. She wants her sister to be open about life in Germany but Irene is warned that her mail is being monitored and to be careful on what she says. She writes back that life is wonderful and Hitler is terrific. Cordelia is upset about her sister's "attitude" and Irene is frustrated by being put on the spot and eventually their correspondence ends. In 2016, a young photographer buys an ancient Underwood typewriter and the beginning of a novel about the two sisters written by Cordelia. She is driven to discover what happened to them after the War ends. It's quite a moving story and shows you no one goes through a war unscathed. I appreciated learning more about the lives of every day Germans and what they endured. It's a story that's rarely told. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Sarah-Hope
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 unexpected.At the heart of the book lies the story of two sisters living through World War II. One finds herself in France, then Germany, beginning as a fashion reported and winding up as a translator for the occupying forces at the war's end. The other marries a wealthy German before the start of the war, renounces her British citizenship and moves to Germany, where her life increasingly becomes a round of one social event after another with the Nazi hierarchy, while her husband profits from the increasing German militarization. Thyme gives us characters who are complex. Their choices are unexpected, but not illogical. She takes what could have been simple good sister-bad sister narrative and creates something much more engaging.
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  • Karen Rush
    January 1, 1970
    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, 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, but the author inserts supporting historical characters such as the high spirited Martha Dodd, the daughter of the US ambassador to Germany, who led an unconventional and storied life and Kim Philby who at 22 was recruited into the British Intelligence, becoming one of their most successful double agents. The little touches, the author’s eloquent prose throughout the story including beautifully written letters between Cordelia and her sister Irene were so well done, capturing my attention in the early pages when 96-year old Cordelia reflects on her storied life: "I’m fading like a book left out in sunlight, all words erasing gradually from the page.” Thanks to Random House-Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    I won this in a goodreads giveaway. It’s a wonderful and insightful book that I recommend to everyone
  • Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 support her husband while the Nazis’ atrocities increase every day.Fast forward to 2016, Juno is recovering slowly from her break-up with her long-time life partner and the loss of a baby. In an attempt to reinvent herself, she purchases a 1931 Underwood Portable Typewriter which was once owned by Cordelia. Inside the case, she finds a manuscript written by Cordelia telling her story as well as Irene’s. The manuscript is unfortunately incomplete. Juno embarks on a journey to find out what happened to the two sisters.This is a gorgeous book with many raw moments. It is a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and forgiveness. A wonderful book for all history lovers.🙋🏼‍♀️ Thank you Ballantine Books and Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a final copy of this exhilarating novel. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝗜 𝗡𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲 by Jane Thynne will be available at your favourite bookstore on January 21, 2020.#poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #book #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #bookphotography #thewordsineverwrote #janethynne #bookreview #historicalfiction
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  • Sydney Long
    January 1, 1970
    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 nearer...it is quite apparent that they 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 nearer...it is quite apparent that they are experiencing very different things on very different sides. Irene eventually makes the difficult decision to shut off her emotions in her correspondence with her sister, highlighting on the exciting things not what she’s really seeing and going through. Eventually, after begging her sister to come back home where it’s safe and being told no...their contact stops and they ride out the war extremely differently. Flash forward to 2016, when Juno...whose own life is a bit is at a bit of a crossroads, purchases an old typewriter that once belonged to Cordelia. With it comes a partial manuscript and the insatiable need to learn more about these sisters. She travels to Berlin and piece by piece is able to unearth the truth, lies and secrets that these sisters carried with them until each of their passing.This book starts off a bit slow but as you go on this journey, it’s intensity build. Whether or not the author intentionally meant to do this or not, I felt it only mirrored how the war itself played out...it started out slowly and then became more and more intense as time passed. What I love most about this book is the attention to detail and the descriptive way in which it was written. Ms. Thynne paints a beautiful picture with this story. As I read, I felt as though I had a movie playing in my mind and her use of words allowed me to picture absolutely everything! Highly recommend!
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  • Gina Moltz
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 people. I found myself doing my own research when I finished. Overall, beautifully written.
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  • Chrysta
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    THE WORDS I NEVER WROTE 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 THE WORDS I NEVER WROTE 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 associations with the Nazi party and his work have a profound effect on Irene. Her sister Cordelia moves to Paris to become a fashion journalist. Throughout the war, her involvement becomes much more serious and clandestine. And she falls in love with a resistance fighter.As Juno comes to the end of the manuscript, she realizes it is not complete and her curiosity of what happens with the sisters becomes an obsession. Having the opportunity to travel to Berlin for a photojournalist assignment, Juno tries to discover what happened during the war and after to Irene and Cordelia. I enjoyed this story very much, and I would like to thank NetGalley, Jane Thynne, and Ballantine Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Sue Seligman
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow!
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 what happened to German women and children after the Russians came . I will recommended it to my friends who enjoy historical fiction set in ww2.
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  • Maggie Boyd
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 have a memento as I sit here in my apartment in the summer of my ninety-sixth year,” she tells us, “I would choose the snow globe from the nursery at Birnham Park.”That snowglobe had been unique. Custom made in London, it depicted Cordelia’s childhood home in England – the aforementioned Birnham Park – in perfect detail, including the two little girls who lived there. Cordelia and her older sister Irene are reproduced perfectly within the glass orb, playing on the lavish lawn of their miniaturized home. Theirs was a happy childhood, with the sisters being boon companions, who grew up to be accomplished, elegant, beautiful young women. All is bliss till 1936, when Irene gets engaged to Ernst Weissmuller, a German industrialist who plans to take her to Germany after the honeymoon. At the wedding, while wondering what to do with her own future, Cordelia impetuously agrees to work for a friend of her father’s as a secretary for the Paris office of his newspaper. As if she had sensed this would be in Cordelia’s future, Irene’s surprise gift to her sister, given as she leaves for her honeymoon, is an Underwood Portable typewriter.In New York City in 2016, Juno Lambert is looking for the perfect prop for the portrait she is doing of an actress in a Tennessee Williams play. She plans to capture a 1940s feel in the picture, and decides to add a vintage typewriter to the paraphernalia she is including in the shot. She purchases an Underwood Portable typewriter that comes with a bonus; a 150 page story about two sisters separated by politics during WWII, written by the elderly owner right before she died.See the rest of my review at http://allaboutromance.com/book-revie...
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  • Bookish Biker
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 travels to Paris, first as a secretary at a newspaper office and then as a fashion journalist, Irene as she settles into her new married life in Germany, hob-knobbing with the upper echelons of the Nazi party and trying to reconcile her glamorous lifestyle with the bitter truth of Hitler's reign and the reality that it could turn against her at any moment, and finally, Juno as she becomes enthralled by the sisters' story and their separation.Jane Thynne mostly skips the war itself, aside from a few relevant details, concentrating instead on Hitler's rise to power and the aftermath. Most of the book covers the sisters, so I was curious more than halfway through to see where Juno was going to fit back in. In that, we see the sweet story of a young woman reclaiming her own life after adversity.The Words I Never Wrote also includes several historical figures - not just the usual Nazi suspects, but the likes of Kim Philby (the Cambridge Five), Martha Dodd and Janet Flanner.What I Loved: Jane Thynne has drawn very real, very nuanced characters and given them an emotional edge that is rare. She covers events we don't usually hear about (the rise of the Nazi party and the reality of life in Germany after the war) with grace, while not shying away from the brutal reality, bringing it all into focus with the alternate lives of the two sisters and the lengths they would go to to protect each other.What I Didn't Love: Some of the time jumps could be a little jarring.Conclusion: A different take on the WWII historical, The Words I Never Wrote is a great addition to an overstuffed genre, filled with heartbreak, sacrifice, and redemption. I am a definite fan!
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  • Maureen Timerman
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 about the owner and that happens to be Cordelia.We get up close and personal into the lives of these woman, their loves and losses, their daily lives, and just the survival during these horrible times.The author puts faces on these people, and we walk in each sister’s shoes with the help of Juno, an aspiring photographer who now has the typewriter and now wants the rest of the story,I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Ballantine Books, and was not required to give a positive review.
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  • Ysolde
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this book. I enjoyed the prose, the pace and the seamless way the story unfolded. It was like peeling off layers one by one, and each one of them was just as interesting and enjoyable as the last. I love WWII stories and this is now one of my favorites, it was also my first Jane Thynne book and I look forwards to reading more.The dual timeline was engaging and the stories were told from each character's perspective, in language that gave you a very real sense of their surroundings I really liked this book. I enjoyed the prose, the pace and the seamless way the story unfolded. It was like peeling off layers one by one, and each one of them was just as interesting and enjoyable as the last. I love WWII stories and this is now one of my favorites, it was also my first Jane Thynne book and I look forwards to reading more.The dual timeline was engaging and the stories were told from each character's perspective, in language that gave you a very real sense of their surroundings without being bogged down by excessive descriptionsAll in all, this book will be appreciated not only by historical fiction fans, but anybody that enjoys a good story.Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for the ARC.
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  • Kim Fox
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 York and ends in present day Berlin, but the roads that are traveled in between are immense and spellbinding. I found myself crying and smiling over Cordelia and Irene's story, and I have no doubt that you will too! I received this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    3.5. Begins in England, Pre WWII Two sisters, incredibly close, follow two very different paths. One marries a German who becomes closely connected to all the Nazi highest officials; one becomes a journalist. Their relationship involves great alienation and reconnections. Interesting but I never felt compelled.
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  • KTC
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come... stay tuned.
  • Kimberly Mussell
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 in modern day NYC from a typewriter store, and it's her detective work that pulls us through their story.Interesting and enjoyable novel.
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  • Randi Sampson
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 waiting anxiously to know just what would come of these two sisters in the end. I must admit at first I wasn't sure how I liked the back and forth between past and present. At one point, I found myself thinking that I didn't quite see the point in this present story line and could have frankly done without it. At first. Closer to the end, I found that this format allowed for a gradual reveal that actual really gave us a full scope of the story and what became of the sisters not just immediately following the war but throughout their lives as well. Though I still certainly enjoyed the past parts of this novel more regardless. The Words I Never Wrote did not sugarcoat anything in the realities of life in Germany during this time frame. It was not pretty and at times it was VERY hard to read. It should be noted that there is talk of rape that could be triggering for some, but again a sad reality in the given time. It is certainly eye opening in many ways to some of the details that perhaps our history books have glossed over a bit. Because I typically review Christian novels (or otherwise clean reads), it is important to note that this is not that. There are scenes with sex (in addition to the talk of rape) and a few curse words throughout. The language was very minimal--- a handful of uses of the d-word and the romance scenes were not overly graphic, nor were they are an overwhelming part of the story. Personally, it was minimal enough that while I certainly could have done without it, it didn't take away from the otherwise great story. Some more conservative readers should be aware of this before reading. Overall, it was a truly heartbreaking story of love and loss that was beautifully written and I'm glad to have read. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.
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  • Tristan Munoz
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 be. The sisters write frequent letters to each other until one day, Cordelia gives Irene an ultimatum. Cordelia assumes that she knows what Irene's choice means and doesn't discover Irene's true motives until the war has ended. During the war, Cordelia joins The Special Operations Executive, a spy network. Irene stays with her husband, but secretly works with the underground networks to help the Jewish people and later becomes a nurse. Neither sister is aware of what the other is doing. After the war, Cordelia works as a interpreter for interviews with the Germans convicted of war crimes. During her first interview, she walks in the room and discovers Irene. This is the first time the sisters have spoken since the war began. The rest of their time together is just as mysterious and emotionally charged as the time they spent apart. Parts of the story occur in 2016, when Juno, a photographer, purchases an old typewriter that once belonged to Cordelia. In the typewriters case is a partial manuscript written by Cordelia. Juno develops an insatiable need to learn the rest of Cordelia and Irene's story. She travels to Berlin where she eventually discovers the secrets that the sisters carried with them until each of their passing.There were some parts of Juno's story that didn't seem necessary and were drawn out, but I really enjoyed her enthusiasm for finding the missing story. Jane Thynne's attention to detail is extremely impressive and I really appreciated the descriptive nature of the book. It was easy to picture this story as a movie while I read it. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of historical fiction. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • AC
    January 1, 1970
    Warning: rapeJane 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 Warning: rapeJane 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 the typewriter. Her editor has asked her to go on assignment to Berlin, and she accepts with a double purpose in mind: to perform this assignment, and find out all she can about the Capels to complete the story the manuscript began.In the 1930s, as the decade comes to an end, the Capel sisters Irene and Cordelia are about to head their separate ways. Close for their entire lives, this brings along a bit of angst, especially as Irene is marrying a German industrialist, who has also joined the Nazi party in order to expand his business. Cordelia, a bit later, heads to Paris to act as the secretary to the news bureau chief there, and eventually begins writing columns about her coverage of fashion there.At first, the sisters write one another often, detailing the happenings around them - there are many historical people named in the novel, from fashion designers, writers, painters, and assorted other cultural icons in France on Cordelia's side to Nazi leaders in Germany on Irene's.As the storms of war ramp up, Cordelia begs Irene to leave Germany and head home to London with her. Irene refuses, and after being warned by Mary Dodd (daughter of the US Ambassador) as well as a handsome Nazi officer (Abel Hoffman) to watch what she says and writes, and knowing that she will never be able to leave without her passport (now locked in a safe to which she does not know the combination), decides to restrict her letter to Cordelia to only the social goings-on she is party to as the wife of a wealthy and influential industrialist. She tells herself, however, to memorize the things she is seeing and hearing.Cordelia, exasperated with Irene, tells her that the letter she is writing now will be her last, since Irene has apparently chosen the Germans over her family. Cordelia falls in love with her station chief, who decides to go to Spain, where a civil war is underway. She pleads with him not to go, but eventually she returns to London, alone. There, she works with British intelligence to prepare people to act as spies. She works with Kim Philby, the notorious double agent who penetrated the intelligence service.Back in Germany, Irene makes a fateful decision to work with resistance fighters. Not in the field, but by bringing them materials they can use to fake papers, work orders, and so forth. Eventually, she also begins working in a hospital, to treat Germans injured in the war.Thynne does a wonderful job of describing the environments in which the two sisters lived, but not to the point of it affecting the story negatively. The bustling of both Paris and Berlin prior to the war is depicted, as is the effect of war on the Germans as WWII grinds down on the country with the advances of both US and Russian troops.The story is strongest when it is focused on Cordelia and Irene and the milieus in which they find themselves. Juno is certainly the weakest link, and when the book reached the last quarter, it was all Juno and what she had been able to discover, with her egocentric ex making an unwelcome appearance - an unneeded push to the story, as he served no purpose other than to reinforce to Juno that she was doing the right thing. I won't go into the very end so as not to spoil it. I will say this is one of the best books I've read this year so far, and very well written. It is dramatic without being melodramatic, romantic without being cliche, and descriptive without being flowery.4 out of 5 stars.Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the advance copy.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 black enamel Underwood Portable from 1931. The shop owner is reluctant to part with it, saying that it belonged to a very important lady, Cordelia Capel, who recently died at age 99. Juno is insistent, and he agrees to sell it, showing her that inside the case is an unfinished manuscript of a novel Cordelia was writing. Juno reads the manuscript which begins in the year 1936 with the marriage of Cordelia's older sister Irene and tells the story of their relationship. Born into a wealthy family and raised in London, the girls were very close throughout their childhood, but things begin to change when Irene, at 22, marries a German law professor Ernst Weissmuller, 35, and moves to Berlin. Cordelia always wanted to be a journalist, but her gender works against her. She accepts an offer of a job in the Paris news office as a secretary, and begins honing her journalism skills on the side. The sisters exchange letters, but Irene discovers that her husband is a Nazi sympathizer and finds that she must hide her true thoughts about what is occurring in Germany. Everyone is being watched; no one escapes scrutiny. Cordelia, frustrated that Irene doesn't express her dismay and distain for what is happening in Germany in her letters, assumes that Irene, too has become a Nazi sympathizer.Juno, enthralled by the sisters' story, undertakes a quest to find additional information as to what happened to each of the women, to see how their story ends.Ms. Thynne does an excellent job of creating deep, complex, characters and describing the era and political happenings from multiple viewpoints. She draws the reader in quickly and holds them tightly throughout the book. It was very interesting to read what was happening inside Germany from a non-German viewpoint, and I must say, though I often read books of this genre and time period, I learned a lot from this book. This is one of my favorite reads of this genre. I will definitely be looking at Jane Thynne's prior offerings and no doubt will be adding several of them to my TBR pile!My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 Surrey as they witness first hand the horrors of the era, and each sister, trying to survive in their own world, begins to judge the other and make assumptions, causing a painful rift between them. The hook in this novel is that the sisters story is discovered in an unfinished manuscript in an old typewriter purchased in the present day in NYC by a budding photojournalist originally for a photo shoot. Learning the backstory of the typewriter, and having heard of Cordelia Capel who became a famous journalist. She reads the manuscript which is written as a series of letters between the sisters from the time of Irene’s marriage until the end of the war. The letters start off very open and forthright, full of opinions about the goings on around them. As the wife of an important industrialist in Nazi Germany, Irene quickly became a part of the party scene and was soon dining with the top party leaders. Her sister warned her to leave a Germany, which was difficult considering upon marriage back then a wife renounced her citizenship and became a citizen of her husband’s country and her husband had locked her passport up. An acquaintance advised her that her correspondence was being monitored as was everything she said and everywhere she went. Soon her letters became bland, talking about clothes, gardens, and the weather-making Cordelia decide her sister had become a Nazi sympathizer. Meanwhile, a friend had convinced Cordelia that she should stay and do what she could to help-that is what her sister would judge her on. And that’s just Cordelia’s story, there is Irene’s as well, but I’m going to let you read that for yourself. I’m not going to spoil it. It’s an amazing story. I thought the inserting if the present day story was going to be unnecessary, but it comes together at the end. This is a unique perspective on life inside the Reich during WWII and an English woman living there. The author’s writing transported me, and I felt like I was sitting in the garden having tea and reading these letters. Masterful. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing for the ARC.
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  • Cathy Cole
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 is utterly predictable. It would have been better if he wasn't in the book at all, leaving Juno to follow her passion more naturally. (Or this timeline could have been left out entirely, leaving more time for the intriguing Capel sisters.)The story of Cordelia and her sister Irene is very strong. Cordelia's career in journalism begins in 1936 Paris with fashion columns in the newspaper. But she's very politically motivated, so she doesn't describe fabrics and hemlines for long. Cordelia's older sister Irene takes a much more glamorous route. Irene marries a German industrialist and finds herself in a lakeside mansion in Berlin. The sisters are close and exchange letters, but when Cordelia learns that Irene's husband is a Nazi sympathizer, she insists that Irene takes a stand against Nazism and leave Berlin. Irene chooses to stay, and Cordelia breaks off communication.Thynne paints a vivid portrait of Nazi Berlin before, during, and after the war that I found fascinating. How the two sisters spent the war years also kept me turning the pages, as I wondered how long it would take the younger, idealistic Cordelia to learn that there is more than one way to take a stand for what you believe in. The only other thing in The Words I Never Wrote that bothered me-- besides Juno the present-day narrator-- was the feeling that, no matter how much I learned about Cordelia and Irene, I still wasn't being let in. These two characters were still standing back and not sharing their lives fully-- and I wanted them to. I wanted to tell them that the Gestapo wasn't sitting in the room with me. I wanted to feel as though I were sharing their lives, and I wasn't being allowed to. It's this aloofness and Juno that make me like Thynne's story... but with serious reservations. Your mileage could certainly vary.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    “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 “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 Cordelia works for the British SOE. As neither sister can talk of her activities, neither is aware of the other’s actions which leads to a long-term estrangement. While the story was mainly told in alternating viewpoints of the two sisters, some chapters were devoted to the actions of a few minor characters which I found to be a beneficial addition to the overall story. The pacing was just fast enough to keep my attention and not weigh me down with too many details, but not so slow that I skimmed some pages. I also learned of an actual hospital that was created to treat Jewish patients, even during the last days of the war which allowed several hundred Jewish patients to survive the war. I was intrigued enough to do some more research and have added few books to my “to read” list as a result…which makes “The Words I Never Wrote” a great historical fiction read. The story started with the purchase of an old typewriter in modern-day America by a journalist. When the journalist, Juno, finds a half-finished manuscript that was started by Cordelia hidden in the lining of the typewriter case, Juno is determined to research the sisters’ lives and find out the rest of the story. However, I did remove one star from my rating as I thought Juno’s story detracted greatly from the overall book. There was not enough detail given about Juno that I cared about her, and she found the answers way too quickly with minimal effort. To me, it was just not a very effective mechanism to introduce and keep the story moving forward. Overall, a great read, and I will look for other books by this author.
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  • Peppy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 thought he was and is an avid Nazi supporter as well. However, she keeps up the facade of the loyal German wife while secretly planning to make a difference. Meanwhile, Cordelia is horrified that her sister seems to be leading a happy-go-lucky life, partying and hobnobbing with high ranking Nazi officials. She is unaware that all the mail in Berlin is under Nazi surveillance and Irene cannot reveal her true feelings and intentions in her letters. Cordelia implores her sister to leave Berlin. When Irene remains, Cordelia severs ties with her sister, not knowing the truth about her sister's situation. Through the ensuing years of the war both sisters have their share of love and heartbreak. Unknown to each other, they both in their own ways work towards the same goals during the war.In 2012 photographer Juno Lambert buys an old 1931 Underwood typewriter to use as a prop, that once belonged to Cordelia, who became a renowned journalist in the U.S. after the war. Within the typewriter case, are pages of an unpublished manuscript detailing the letters between the sisters. Juno is mesmerized by the story. She is disappointed to find the story is incomplete. Juno decides to journey to Europe in hopes of finding out how if the sisters'ever reconciled.The author has painted a vivid description of life in Berlin under National Socialist dictatorship highlighting the indoctrination, terror, violence and extreme surveillance the populace was subjected to. The description of the treatment of the Jewish population is heartbreakingIt's rare that a book brings me to tears. As I read the closing sentence, I was overcome with emotion and my eyes welled up.I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I would like to express my thanks to the author and Ballantine books for the opportunity to read one of the best novels I have read this year.
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