Maria is a book reviewer, editor, and proofreader, as well as a master of public health, master gardener, photographer, artist, and writer.
I was invited by Bethany House and NetGalley to read the advanced readers’ copy of Amy Lynn Green’s debut novel, Things We Didn't Say, in exchange for an honest review. Ms. Green has woven a compelling tale showing how innocent people can be targeted by a vindictive newspaper editor, an uninformed populace, and even a grieving friend. It’s also an example of how we often misjudge the kindest people for silly reasons.
This is a powerful story of a translator at a POW camp in Minnesota that housed German prisoners, and her experiences with prejudices against women and anything perceived as foreign.
I Appreciate an Author Who Does Excellent Research
Clearly, Green has done her research into the history of prisoner of war camps in the United States during World War Two. In doing so, she examines true patriotism, personal ideals, self-doubt, and wavering faith. This powerful work of historical fiction has so many situations and statements in the voices of her characters that are relevant today, I am reminded of how history repeats itself. We should never lose sight of that fact.
A Great Place to Be From
Believing Ironside Lake, Minnesota, to be a great place to be from, Johanna Berglund has escaped the small town of her youth and her overprotective mother to the halls of the University of Minnesota and her beloved library. Eager to complete her studies as a linguist fluent in several languages, then move on to Oxford University, she wants never to return, except maybe for holidays.
Coerced into dropping her studies, she finally agrees to go home to Ironside Lake to serve as a civilian translator at the Ironside Lake Prisoner of War Camp. Her job is to censor the prisoners’ mail and to teach them English when they are not on work duty.
Scholarship Is Threatened
Coerced into dropping her language studies, she finally agrees to go home to Ironside Lake to serve as a civilian translator at the Ironside Lake Prisoner of War Camp. Her job is to censor the prisoners’ mail and to teach them English when they are not on work duty.
A Unique Way of Telling a Tale
The entire story is told through letters, both Johanna’s and various letters to the editor of the local paper, the Ironside Broadside. All of the letters are used to build a case to prove her to be a traitor who helps two prisoners escape. I never would have thought this method of telling a story would work, but in this case, it works perfectly.
You'd Never Guess This Is a Debut Novel
The story is beautifully written, and flows smoothly, even though it fluctuates between her letters and those of others. In fact, it does so in such smoothly flowing way, I never considered that it could be a debut novel.
Maybe Home is Not Such a Bad Place After All
In the end, Johanna reconsiders her impression of her very small home town. In fact, she re-evaluates almost everything.
What made The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy?
- Missing capitalization: psalms vs. Psalms;
- incorrect verb usage: bringing vs. taking, showed vs. shown, coming vs. going, and bring vs. take;
- a lot of missing commas.
© 2021 Maria Logan Montgomery
Your Comments Are Always Welcome
Maria Logan Montgomery (author) from Coastal Alabama, UsA on August 07, 2021:
Hi John, thanks so much for reading my review. I believe you would enjoy the book. Thanks, also for your comment.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 07, 2021:
You review certainly makes me want to read this book by a first-time author, Amy Lynn Green. Thank you for sharing your review of this book, Maria.