The Words I Never Wrote: A Novel

The Words I Never Wrote: A Novel

by Jane Thynne

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Overview

A chance discovery inside a vintage typewriter case reveals the gripping story 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, Juno Lambert buys a 1931 Underwood typewriter that once belonged to celebrated journalist Cordelia Capel. Within its case she discovers an unfinished novel, igniting a transatlantic journey to fill the gaps in the story of Cordelia and her sister and the secret that lies between them.

Europe, 1936: Cordelia’s socialite sister Irene marries a German industrialist who whisks her away to Berlin. Cordelia, feistier and more intellectual than Irene, gets a job at a newspaper in Paris, pursuing the journalism career she cherishes. As politics begin to boil in Europe, the sisters exchange letters and Cordelia discovers that Irene’s husband is a Nazi sympathizer. With increasing desperation, Cordelia writes to her beloved sister, but as life in Nazi Germany darkens, Irene no longer dares admit what her existence is truly like. Knowing that their letters cannot tell the whole story, Cordelia decides to fill in the blanks by sitting down with her Underwood and writing the truth.

When Juno reads the unfinished novel, she resolves to uncover the secret that continued to divide the sisters amid the turmoil of love, espionage, and war. In this vivid portrait of Nazi Berlin, from its high society to its devastating fall, Jane Thynne examines the truths we sometimes dare not tell ourselves.

Advance praise for The Words I Never Wrote

“In sumptuous prose, Jane Thynne limns the lives of two sisters ripped apart by the moral choices they made in a time of war. Dramatic, fast-paced, and emotional, The Words I Never Wrote puts the interior details of women’s lives in stark relief against the dramatic backdrop of Europe in World War II, helping readers understand the difficult choices that women made.”—Elizabeth Letts, author of The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
 
“Haunting, taut, and compelling, this portrait of two upper-class British sisters divided by World War II is a kaleidoscopic story of love and betrayal whose characters are never quite what they seem. It will capture your attention immediately and keep you thinking for a long time to come.”—Lynne Olson, author of Madame Fourcade’s Secret War

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524796594
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/21/2020
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 71,046
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.40(d)

About the Author

Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. After graduating from Oxford, she worked for the BBC, The Sunday Times, and The Daily Telegraph. She continues to freelance as a journalist while writing her historical fiction. Her novels, including the Clara Vine series, have been published in French, German, Greek, Turkish, Italian, and Romanian. The widow of Philip Kerr, she has three children and lives in London, where she is working on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

New York City, Summer 2016

Her first impression was of entering a church. Or if not a church, then at least a place of worship, its air scented with old metal and polish, its wooden shelves glimmering with holy relics. Juno Lambert had not much idea what to expect when she stepped out of the elevator and pushed open the door of the New York Typewriter Company three floors above Fifth Avenue, but she’d scarcely imagined this. Row upon row of them, stacked floor to ceiling: antique Olympias, Remingtons, Smith-Coronas, Olivettis, and Royals, their keys jet or smooth ivory, their steel casings gleaming pink, blue, green, and Bible black. It was not so much a shop, as a place of pilgrimage. A shrine.

Nailed on the opposite wall was a rusting tin sign.

TYPEWRITERS: SALE & REPAIR. ALL MODELS 

From the back of the shop, behind a partition, came the sound of someone negotiating on the telephone, murmured interjections and agreement, accompanied by a rapid, atonal symphony of clattering keys.

Otherwise, she was alone.

Inhaling the acid tang of oil and ink, Juno eased the auburn hair from the sticky back of her neck and twisted it up into a ponytail. Her cotton dress clung to her and she longed to fan herself vigorously. Outside, the Flatiron Building loomed over another choking hot day, the Manhattan air fogged with fumes and the city’s arteries clogged with noisy traffic, but inside this store a stillness presided. The only wall space not covered by typewriters was plastered with newspaper clippings and photographs of them. Pictures of collectors’ items. Thank-you notes from grateful purchasers. Articles about how vintage machines were selling for thousands of dollars amid cyber hacking fears. How people suffering from “digital burnout” were seeking a fresh connection to the past.

Juno loved vintage too, but mostly in the form of Chanel jackets or Dior dresses or battered Bottega Veneta bags found from hours of scouring eBay. She had never given typewriters a second thought until she was commissioned to photograph an actress performing in a Tennessee Williams play in a pop-up theater in SoHo and she had the idea to evoke a forties feel with a black-and-white shot of the actress gazing out of a window. Moody lighting, draped silk dress, plume of cigarette smoke. The addition of a typewriter was a last-minute inspiration.

From behind the partition, the voice could still be heard, talking on the phone. Moving over to examine a sleek model in lime green, Juno tentatively brushed the keys. She had never used a typewriter—hardly even touched one, unless you counted the machine in the attic of their old family home, its workings caked with dust and stuck fast—imagine having to crank in a piece of paper every time you wanted to put something in writing! Her instinct had been correct though; merely the sight of a machine like this inspired a host of associations. Dorothy Parker with her Smith-Corona, George Orwell and his Remington. Jack Kerouac used a Hermes. Ian Fleming’s typewriter was gold plated. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed. Whose novelistic tip was that? Ernest Hemingway, wasn’t it?

There was an irony too. The previous day Juno’s laptop had been hacked, and as the virus rampaged through her hard drive, it might as well have swallowed her whole life. Contacts, past writing, years of photography. Friends, recent pictures of her mother taken just before she died. Her brother, Simon, in his London apartment. Everything gone. Yet even as she opened up the computer and discovered its memory dissolving like an aspirin, it had seemed weirdly appropriate.

After all, wasn’t half her life in the process of disappearing?

It was three months since Daniel Ryan, her partner of the past fifteen years, had departed. People change, Juno knew that, it’s the oldest complaint in the world, but the changes in Dan had played out before her eyes as inexorably as time-lapse photography. When they first met—she a twenty-one-year-old photographer fresh out of college, he a fledgling actor—Dan had just won a cameo role in an art house film. He got noticed, and great reviews, and they were both ecstatic. Once they moved in together Dan drifted away from movies to spend time in theater “learning his craft,” and that proved the right decision. His talent was real and he began to turn heads.

For a while Juno enjoyed accompanying Dan on his steady rise to fame. Being consort to celebrity brought distinct advantages. She liked the double takes and the whispers when he was recognized in the street or at parties, the subtle rise in status, the overspill of curiosity as eyes turned to her and tried to puzzle out who she was. The best restaurant tables, the premiere tickets, the weekends in Connecticut and Long Island with producers and directors, the vast ranks of his new best friends.

Then Dan’s success was crowned by the call from Hollywood. He had been cast in a Netflix World War II drama, to be shot in L.A. and on location. Even now Juno could recall the excitement in his eyes as they began the inevitable dispute about priorities. Her job was infinitely portable, Dan coaxed. Her mother—how to be gentle about this?—had been dead for months. For what possible reason could Juno cling to Manhattan? What kind of person wanted to live in the same city all her life? This wasn’t the Juno he knew. Sometimes he didn’t recognize her anymore.

Sometimes she didn’t recognize herself.

Juno thought of her friends, her contacts, her beloved apartment two floors above a bakery, whose aroma was the first thing to greet you as you walked out the door. Then she imagined a new life in L.A. as one of Dan’s entourage. The hangers-on and admirers, the late nights, the times when the only chance of seeing him would be pitching up to his trailer, or in a stupor of sleep before a predawn call.

They argued until they were barely speaking. The apartment was so small it was hard to avoid each other, but Dan managed it, flinching infinitesimally if her hand brushed his, waiting until she had finished in the bathroom rather than barging in as he used to and jokily sharing the basin. Tension hummed like tinnitus in the air. A wall of silence descended between them, cutting off further discussion. Until, eventually, the start of filming arrived. At JFK Dan’s parting words lingered as if written in neon on the air.

You can come with me or you can stay here without me. Up to you.

Up to you.

Three little words, but not the three she really wanted to hear.

Juno was jerked from her thoughts by the approach of a man from behind the partition. He was a bulky figure in thick spectacles and suspenders with a sunburned face, a shock of white hair, and fingers stained with ink the way a smoker’s are yellowed by nicotine. He glanced down at the lime green typewriter.

“The Hermes 3000. You have good taste. Thing about this one, it lasts. It’ll serve you a hundred years. What computer lasts a hundred years?”

Could he tell that her laptop had just been hacked? Or was the question merely rhetorical? He bent closer and started to fiddle with the machinery, as delicately as if it had been a Swiss clock. 

“Here. To unlock the carriage simply move it to the right. You know how to move the marginal stops, right? Adjust the centering scales? Change a ribbon? Takes an Ellwood ribbon.”

Surely it was obvious that she couldn’t change a ribbon or operate the paper-centering scales or a marginal stop release button to save her life. What was more, she didn’t have the faintest intention of learning. Writing had never been her way into the world. Pictures were.

Juno drifted over to another machine and ran her fingers across it. This one was smaller than the Hermes and in every way more perfect. Its sleek black enamel was as shiny as a fountain pen, the casing buffed to a Mercedes gleam.

“That’s the Underwood Portable. It’s Jazz Age, the 1931.”

“How much is it?”

The old man blew out his cheeks and glanced up through his thick lenses. He took a while to consider this proposition, crossing his arms and slapping them against his torso, as if he were cold. Juno sighed. This was supposed to be a store, wasn’t it, that sold things? Yet this guy was acting as though she had requested something outlandish. She might as well have asked him to part with a piece of his soul.

“This machine belonged to a special lady. She was quite well known.”

No doubt he was planning to charge a fortune and was stalling to calculate how much.

“Would I have heard of her?”

“Cordelia Capel, her name was.”

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The Words I Never Wrote: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Joycerl 11 days ago
Jane Thynne is one of my favorite authors.This book is one of her best.There are stories set around WWII and then there are stories set around WWII written by Jane Thynne. It is a story of two sisters Irene and Cordelia.Irene gets married to a German Industrialist who is high up in Hitlers top circle.Cordelia becomes a fashion journalist in Paris.This is one of my favorite parts of Thynne’s books.The descriptions of the fashions of that time.Very descriptive. The war changes the relationship between the two sisters. This is a dual story line but it does not detract from the story. Thankyou Net galley and Random House Publishing/Ballantine Books for this ARC
Foxlady99 11 days ago
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 and Ballantine Books in exchange for my honest review.
jasminebookaddict 21 days ago
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.
Kwpat 27 days ago
The Capel sisters Cordelia and Irene are separated after Cordelia marries a German industrialist in 1937 on the English estate of of the girls’ parents. Cordelia, the older sister is an aspiring artist and Irene is a writer. The author of The Words I Never Wrote, Jane Thynne has created a wonderful historical fiction exposing life during pre-war, during the war, and after the war in Berlin. I felt like I was a witness to what Irene experienced as told through letters to her sister before and during part of the war and through a partly written novel by her sister Cordelia which is found in 2016 by a free lance writer, Juno, in New York. Thynne brilliantly captures the fears of living in Germany and the difficult times the sisters have. I also enjoyed Juno’s story as she tries to figure out why Cordelia left an unfinished novel in the ancient typewriter case that she bought. If you like World War II historical fiction, I think you will like this novel as much as I did. I also feel bookclubs will have lots to discuss after reading. Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 27 days ago
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.
Ysolde Butner 28 days ago
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 descriptions All 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.
Leah_E 3 months ago
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.
PanglossMystic 3 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. It's about two British sisters and set prior to and during World War II. One sister becomes a journalist in Paris; the other marries a wealthy German man who becomes a Nazi. The sections of the book about the sister living in Berlin were particularly good. Although many, many novels have told stories of women living during WWII, this one brings a fresh story of someone living among the elite in Nazi Germany. Well written, great storytelling.
SarahELovestoRead 3 months ago
This WWII novel tells the story of two sisters separated not just by war but also by the choices they make. This was one of those books that I couldn’t stop thinking about even when I wasn’t reading it. It has mystery, espionage, romance and family relationships all in one. This was unlike any WWII novel I’ve read and I highly recommend you put this on your to read list for the new year.
Fredreeca2001 3 months ago
Juno buys and old typewriter. Inside she finds a manuscript and some letters. She does some research and finds out the author is a journalist like herself. This leads her on a quest to find out more, more than she bargained for. This story revolves around two sisters, Cordelia in England and Irene in Berlin. Politics and war get in the way of their relationship and causes a huge tear. When the war is over Cordelia travels to Berlin as an interpreter. She finds her sister but it is not easy to repair the fissure in their relationship. I fluctuated between three and four stars on this read. Basically because of the flow. I settled on four stars because of the ending. But, this story had a slow start, picked up, slowed down again, then ended well. It is very well researched and I enjoyed reading about Berlin before and after the war. It just has some flow issues. But it is not enough to make you put the book down. The mystery surrounding this story is intriguing and unique. So give it a go! I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
LlamaJen 3 months ago
Loved it!!! Loved reading about Cordelia and Irene. I liked the book didn't didn't constantly alternate between Juno and the sisters. Juno's part was perfect. She's there to find the manuscript, then we get to read all about Cordelia and Irene, then Juno is there again to discover what happened between them when the manuscript suddenly ended. The book definitely was't what I expected. I enjoyed Juno and Cordelia's stories, but my favorite was probably Irene. Irene's life in Germany with her new husband was not what she expected. Irene risked so much. She did it without anyone knowing what she was doing. She was able to rebel against her husband without him even realizing it. I hated how she was treated when the Russians arrived at her house. There were many twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. Both sisters lived interesting lives. Definitely recommend this book. It stands out among all the WWII historical fiction books. I loved everything about it- the story, characters and writing style. This book would make a wonderful movie. Look forward to reading more books by the author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Thanks to NetGalley for my ARC. Two very close sisters. One stays behind in London and one is married to a steel tycoon. They find themselves on opposite sides of WW2. How does this affect their relationship and their lives? I felt this book took too long for the same story to be told. #thesewordsineverwrote #janethynne #january2020
JeanK 3 months ago
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 journalist and is transferred to Paris. At first Irene’s letters to Cordelia are filled with the social occasions she attends with her husband. As the Nazi party grows in power she writes her observations of life in Berlin until she is warned that her letters are being intercepted and monitored and she is being watched. Her letters stopped with the advent of war and Cordelia’s manuscript ended shortly after, leaving Juno curious about Irene’s fate. An assignment brings her to Berlin, where she looks for answers. As the wife of an industrialist, Irene encounters a number of the German hierarchy. She also befriends Martha Dodd, the daughter of the American ambassador. In England Cordelia uses her journalist background for work in the SOE where she encounters Kim Philby. The addition of these encounters bring the story to life. Jane Thynne’s characters grow as they survive a world at war. From the preparations for the Berlin olympics to the destruction of the city as the Russians arrive you experience Irene’s fear as her marriage fails and she opens her eyes to what is happening around her. It is a moving story that will appeal to fans of The Alice Network and The Women in the Castle. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House for allowing me to review this book.
Reader4102 3 months ago
Cordelia Capel owned an Underwood portable typewriter. It is that typewriter that Juno Lambert, purchases ostensibly to add to an arrangement she wants to photograph. The man Juno buys the typewriter from found a manuscript and some newspaper articles in the carrying case, all of which he gives to Juno when she buys the machine. The tale Cordelia tells in her manuscript is the subject of this complex, well-written story. Cordelia is ninety-six years old when the book opens and she begins the manuscript but doesn’t complete it before her death. Juno finds out that the sisters were very close until her sister marries and moves to Berlin with her new husband. Swirling around the sisters is the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. This historical novel while not unique in its setting as the nascent Third Reich begins to form is unique in the quality of the author’s writing (although she overuses analogies, metaphors, and similes), her development of the two main characters, Cordelia and Juno, and the details of the time. The reader quickly will be enthralled by the details, the author provides. It may be that the reader will feel like she is in Berlin and Paris with Irene and Cordelia as the brown shirts begin their reign of terror. If you are a lover of historical fiction, this is the book for you. It should be near or at the top of your to-be-read list. My thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for providing an e-ARC.
GnomeGrrl 3 months ago
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! Thank you to Netgalley and Ballantine books for the opportunity to read The Words I Never Wrote in return for my honest opinion.
Shirleymca 3 months ago
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 very close until Irene married a German man and moved to Germany. Cordelia began to work for a newspaper reporting on fashion and soon was sent to France. The sisters corresponded back and forth a few times and then stopped talking as the Nazi's took over and they decided not to write anymore because they disagreed with each other over politics. The story is about the lives (so very different) of the two sisters both working against the Nazi's each in a different way. They miss each other but do not talk for several years. The book tells about each sister's life Irene with Ernest and then the Nazi officer Hoffman. Her activities in the underground helping the Jewish under her husband's nose. Cordelia with her writing job that turns into a job with the resistance in France and her love for Torin. After the war Cordelia is working as an interpreter she goes to Berlin to interpret for the British during interrogations. One of those interrogated is her sister Irene. It shows that sisters love each other no matter what has happened and that sometimes life has a way of throwing a kink into things so they turn out way different than what we would wish them to be. Sometimes people are not what we think and events happen that we cannot control. The book had a lot of history during the War how the Elite Nazi's lived, how the Jews struggled, betrayal, love , and heartbreak. It was a good book, I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Rachel_Denise01 3 months ago
The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne is a very interesting historical fiction that involves two time periods between present day and WWII. I was mostly interested in the stories of Irene and Cordelia, two sisters that were once close, and like many things during times of war and unrest, are separated by different paths that their lives take, however both unified in their quests to help undermine and fight against the Nazis in their own ways despite initially their opposing political views. The author did a good job in interweaving present day Juno with the stories of Irene and Cordelia. A touching and harrowing story. 4/5 stars
MaureenST 3 months ago
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.
MKF 3 months ago
Wow. I know this starts out with Juno, a photographer at loose ends, finding letters in a typewriter and that she reappears throughout the book but she's not the focus of the story at all. It's the story of Cordelia and Irene, British sisters who are so so close until Irene marries Ernst, a German industrialist on the eve of WWII. Irene finds herself slipping into Ernst's world; she attends parties with senior Nazis and SS officers and so on. She runs her house, she deals with her in-laws, and while she is conscious of the way Germany is going, she doesn't take action for herself or others. Cordelia, by contrast, goes to Paris to work as an assistant for a newspaper and becomes a reporter. She falls in love with Torin and when he disappears in Spain, she goes back to the UK where she works for the SOE (unfortunately for Philby). As the war worsens, so do conditions in Germany and Irene's life becomes more of a challenge and she steps up. No spoilers but this is wonderfully written with characters you will care about. Juno becomes useful at the end to tie this epic up with some twists that surprised me. I went into this thinking it would be yet another women of WWII novel but I finished it with a big sigh. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is one I'm recommending to others.