Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Showcase The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer Grayon House Publishing

Today I'm showcasing USA Today Bestseller Kelly Rimmer's latest women's fiction novel, The Things We Cannot Say. Lovers of WWII literature will inhale this gem.

ISBN-13: 9781525831515
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date: 3-19-2019
Length: 432pp
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible



In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

Read an excerpt:

I’m having a very bad day, but however bad I feel right now, I know my son is feeling worse. We’re at the grocery store a few blocks away from our house in Winter Park, Florida. Eddie is on the floor, his legs flailing as he screams at the top of his lungs. He’s pinching his upper arms compulsively; ugly purple and red bruises are already starting to form. Eddie is also covered in yogurt, because when all of this started twenty minutes ago, he emptied the refrigerator shelves onto the floor and there are now packages of various shapes and sizes on the tiles around him—an increasingly messy landing pad for his limbs as they thrash. The skin on his face has mottled from the exertion, and there are beads of sweat on his forehead.
Eddie’s medication has made him gain a lot of weight in the last few years, and now he weighs sixty-eight pounds—that’s more than half my body weight. I can’t pick him up and carry him out to the car as I would have done in his early years. It didn’t feel easy at the time, but back then, this kind of public breakdown was much simpler because we could just evacuate.
Today’s disaster happened when Eddie reached the yogurt aisle. He has a relatively broad palate for yogurt compared to his peers at the special school he attends—Eddie will at least eat strawberry andvanilla Go-Gurt. There can be no substitutions on brand or container—and no point trying to refill old tubes, either, because Eddie sees right through it.
It has to be Go-Gurt. It has to be strawberry or vanilla. It has to be in the tube.
At some point recently, someone at Go-Gurt decided to improve the design of the graphics on the tubes—the logo has shifted and the colors are more vibrant. I’m sure no one at Go-Gurt realized that such a tiny change would one day lead to a seven-year-old boy smashing up a supermarket aisle in a bewildered rage.
To Eddie, Go-Gurt has the old-style label, and this new label only means that Eddie no longer recognizes Go-Gurt as food he can tolerate. He knew we were going to the store to get yogurt, then we came to the store, and Eddie looked at the long yogurt aisle, and he saw a lot of things, all of which he now identifies as “not-yogurt.”
I try to avoid this kind of incident, so we always have a whole shelfful of Go-Gurt in the fridge at home. If not for my grandmother’s recent hospitalization, I’d have done this trip alone yesterday when Eddie was at school, before he ate the last two tubes and “we are running a little low on yogurt and soup” became “holy crap, the only thing we have left in the house that Eddie can eat is a single tin of soup and he won’t eat soup for breakfast.”
I don’t actually know what I’m going to do about that now. All I know is that if Campbell’s ever changes the label of their pumpkin soup tins, I’m going to curl up into a little ball and give up on life.
Maybe I’m more like Eddie than I know, because this one small thing today has me feeling like I might melt down too. Besides Eddie and his sister, Pascale, my grandmother Hanna is the most important person in my world. My husband, Wade, and mother, Julita, would probably take exception to that statement, but I’m frustrated with them both, so right now that’s just how I feel. My grandmother, or Babcia as I’ve always called her, is currently in the hospital, because two days ago she was sitting at the dining table at her retirement home when she had what we now know was a minor stroke. And today, I spent the entire morning rushing—rushing around the house, rushing in the car, rushing to the yogurt aisle—all so Eddie and I could get to Babcia to spend time with her. I don’t even want to acknowledge to myself that maybe I’m rushing even more than usual because I’m trying to make the most of the time we have left with her. In the background to all of this hurriedness, I’m increasingly aware that her time is running out. Eddie has virtually no expressive language—basically he can’t speak. He can hear just fine, but his receptive language skills are weak too, so to warn him that today instead of going to the train station to watch trains as we usually do on a Thursday, I had to come up with a visual symbol he’d understand. I got up at 5:00 a.m. I printed out some photos I took yesterday at the hospital, then trimmed them and I stuck them onto his timetable, right after the symbol for eat and the symbol for Publix and yogurt. I wrote a social script that explained that today we had to go to the hospital and we would see Babcia, but that she would be in bed and she would not be able to talk with us, and that Babcia was okay and Eddie is okay and everything is going to be okay.
I’m aware that much of the reassurance in that script is a lie. I’m not naive—Babcia is ninety-five years old, the chances of her walking out of the hospital this time are slim—she’s probably not okay at all. But that’s what Eddie needed to hear, so that’s what I told him. I sat him down with the schedule and the script and I ran through both until Eddie opened his iPad and the communications program he uses—an Augmentative and Alternative Communication app, AAC for short; it’s a simple but life-changing concept—each screen displays a series of images that represent the words Eddie can’t say. By pressing on those images, Eddie is able to find a voice. This morning, he looked down at the screen for a moment, 
then he pressed on the Yes button, so I knew he understood what he’d read, at least to some degree.
Everything was fine until we arrived here, and the packaging had changed. In the time that’s passed since, concerned staff and shoppers have come and gone.
“Can we help, ma’am?” they asked at first, and I shook my head, explained his autism diagnosis and let them go on their merry way. Then the offers of help became more insistent. “Can we carry him out to your car for you, ma’am?” So then I explained that he doesn’t really like to be touched at the best of times, but if a bunch of strangers touched him, the situation would get worse. I could see from the expression on their faces that they doubted things couldget any worse, but not so much that they dared risk it.
Then a woman came past with an identically dressed set of perfectly behaved, no doubt neurotypical children sitting up high in her cart. As she navigated her cart around my out-of-control son, I heard one of the children ask her what was wrong with him, and she muttered, “He just needs a good spankin’, darlin’.”
Sure, I thought. He just needs a spankin’. That’ll teach him how to deal with sensory overload and learn to speak. Maybe if I spank him, he’ll use the toilet spontaneously and I can ditch the obsessively regimented routine I use to prevent his incontinence. Such an easy solution... Why didn’t I think of spanking him seven years ago? But just as my temper started to simmer she glanced at me, and I met her gaze before she looked away. I caught a hint of pity in her eyes, and there was no mistaking the fear. The woman blushed, averted her gaze and that leisurely journey with her children in the cart became a veritable sprint to the next aisle.
People say things like that because it makes them feel better in what is undoubtedly a very awkward situation. I don’t blame her—I kind of envy her. I wish I could be that self-righteous, but seven years of parenting Edison Michaels has taught me nothing if not humility. I’m doing the best I can, it’s usually not good enough and that’s just the way it is.
The manager came by a few minutes ago.
“Ma’am, we have to do something. He’s done hundreds of dollars’ worth of damage to my stock and now the other shoppers are getting upset.”
“I’m all ears,” I said, and I shrugged. “What do you propose?”
“Can we call the paramedics? It’s a medical crisis, right?”
“What do you think they’re going to do? Sedate him?”
His eyes brightened. “Can they do that?”
I scowled at him, and his face fell again. We sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment, then I sighed as if he’d convinced me.
“You call the paramedics, then,” I said, but the knowing smile I gave him must have scared him just a bit, because he stepped away from me. “Let’s just see how Eddie copes with a paramedic visit. I’m sure the blaring sirens and the uniforms and more strangers can’t make things much worse.” I paused, then I looked at him innocently. “Right?”
The manager walked away muttering to himself, but he must have thought twice about the paramedics because I’ve yet to hear sirens. Instead, there are visibly uncomfortable store assistants standing at either end of the aisle quietly explaining the situation to shoppers and offering to pick out any products they require to save them walking near my noisy, awkward son.
As for me, I’m sitting on the floor beside him now. I want to be stoic and I want to be calm, but I’m sobbing intermittently, because no matter how many times this happens, it’s utterly humiliating. I’ve tried everything I can to defuse this situation and my every attempt has failed. This will only end when Eddie tires himself out.
Really, I should have known better than to risk bringing him into a grocery store today. I don’t think he fully understands what this hospital visit means, but he knows something is off. Not for the first time, I wish he could handle a full-time school placement, instead of the two-day-a-week schedule we’ve had to settle for. If only I could have dropped him off at school today and come here alone, or even if I could have convinced my husband, Wade, to stay home from work with Eddie.
Wade had meetings. He always has meetings, especially when not having meetings would mean he would have to be alone with Edison.
“Excuse me.”
I look up wearily, expecting to find another staff member has come to offer “assistance.” Instead, it is an elderly woman—a frail woman, with kind gray eyes and a startling blue hue to her hair. Blue rinse aside, she looks a lot like my Babcia—short and skinny, but purposefully styled. This woman is carrying a flashy handbag and she’s dressed from head to toe in explosive floral prints, all the way down to her fabric Mary Janes, which are patterned with gerberas. Babcia would wear those shoes too. Even now, well into her nineties, Babcia is still generally dressed in clothes featuring crazy flowers or outlandish lace. I have a feeling if the two women met, they’d be instant friends. I feel a pinch in my chest at the recognition, and impatience sweeps over me.
Hurry up, Eddie. We have to hurry. Babcia is sick and we need to get to the hospital.
The woman offers me a gentle smile and opens her handbag conspiratorially.
“Do you think something in here could help?” She withdraws from her bag a collection of little trinkets—a red balloon, a blue lollipop, a tiny wooden doll and a small wooden dreidel. The woman crouches beside me, then drops them all onto the floor.
I’ve already tried distraction so I know this isn’t going to work, but the kindness in the woman’s gaze almost brings me to tears anyway. When I look into her eyes, I see empathy and understanding—but not a hint of pity. It’s a beautiful and unfortunately rare thing to have someone understand my situation instead of judging it.
I murmur false appreciation and I glance between the woman and Edison while I try to figure out if this is going to make the situation worse. He has at least turned the volume down a little, and out of his puffy, tear-filled eyes, he’s watching the woman warily. He does so love Babcia. Perhaps he sees the likeness too.
I nod toward the woman, and she lifts the balloon. Eddie doesn’t react. She lifts the doll, and again, his expression remains pinched. Then the lollipop, with the same result. I’ve completely lost hope when she picks up the dreidel, so I’m surprised when Eddie’s wailing falters just a little.
Colorful Hebrew characters are etched into each side, and the woman runs her finger over one of them, then sets the dreidel onto the floor and gives an elegant flick of her wrist. As the dreidel spins, the colors hypnotically blend into a brilliant blur. “My grandson is on the spectrum too,” she tells me quietly. “I have at least an inkling of how difficult your situation is. The dreidels are Braden’s favorite too...”
Eddie is staring intently at the dreidel as it spins. His wailing has stopped. All that’s left behind now are soft, shuddering sobs.
“Do you know what the Hebrew means?” the woman asks me quietly. I shake my head, and she reads softly, “It’s an acronym—it stands for a great miracle happened there.”
I want to tell the woman that I don’t believe in miracles anymore, but I’m not sure that’s true, because one seems to be unfolding right before me. Eddie is now almost silent but for the occasional sniffle or echoed sob. The dreidel’s spin fades until it wobbles, then it topples onto its side. I hear the sharp intake of his breath.
“Darling boy, do you know what this is?” the woman asks quietly.
“He doesn’t speak,” I try to explain, but Eddie chooses that exact moment to dig deep into his bag of embarrassing autism tricks as he turns his gaze to me and says hoarsely, “I love you, Eddie.”
The woman glances at me, and I try to explain,
“That’s just...it’s called echolalia...he can say words, but there’s no meaning behind them. He’s just parroting what he hears me say to him—he doesn’t know what it means. It’s kind his way of saying Mommy.”
The woman offers me another gentle smile now and she sets the dreidel down right near Eddie, starts it spinning again and waits. He stares in silent wonder, and by the time the dreidel falls onto its side for a second time, he’s completely calm. I fumble for his iPad, load the AAC, then hit the finish and the car buttons before I turn the screen toward Eddie. He sits up, drags himself to his feet and looks at me expectantly.
“That’s it, sweetheart,” the woman says softly. She bends and picks up the dreidel, and she passes it to Eddie as she murmurs, “What a clever boy, calming yourself down like that. Your mommy must be so proud of you.”
“Thank you,” I say to the woman.
She nods, and she touches my forearm briefly as she murmurs, “You’re doing a good job, Momma. Don’t you ever forget that.”
Her words feel like platitudes at first. I lead Edison from the store, empty-handed but for the unexpected treasure from the stranger. I clip him into his special-order car seat, a necessity despite his size because he won’t sit still enough for a regular seat belt. I slide into my own seat, and I glance at him in the rearview mirror. He’s staring at the dreidel, calm and still, but he’s a million miles away like he always is, and I’m tired. I’m always tired.
You’re doing a good job, Momma. Don’t you ever forget that.

I don’t cry much over Eddie. I love him. I care for him. I don’t ever let myself feel self-pity. I’m like an alcoholic who won’t take even a drop of drink. I know once I open the floodgates to feeling sorry for myself, I’ll get a taste for it and it will destroy me.
But today my grandmother is in the hospital, and the kind woman with the gerbera shoes felt like an angel visiting me in my hour of need, and what if Babcia sent her, and what if this is my grandmother’s last gift to me because she’s about to slip away?
It’s my turn for a meltdown. Eddie plays with his dreidel, holding it right in front of his face and rotating it very slowly in the air as if he’s trying to figure out how it works. I sob. I give myself eight luxurious minutes of weeping, because that brings us to 10:00 a.m., and we’re now exactly an hour later than I hoped to be.
When the car clock ticks over the hour, I decide to stop wallowing—and then I do: just like that I turn the pity off. I wipe my nose with a Kleenex, clear my throat and start the car. As soon as I press the ignition, my phone connects to the car and on the touch screen by the steering wheel, the missed messages from my mom appear.
And then finally, one from Wade.
We haven’t even made it to the hospital yet. It’s going to be a long day.
Tomasz Slaski was determined to be a doctor like his father, but I always thought he was born to tell stories. I decided I’d marry him one day as he told me an elaborate tale about rescuing a mermaid princess from the lake while the rest of our town was asleep. I was nine and Tomasz was twelve years old, but we were already good friends, and that day I decided that he was mine. Somewhere in the years that followed, he came to see me as his too, and by the time I finished grade seven and my family could no longer afford to send me to school, Tomasz had a well-established habit of calling on me at home.
Like most of the children I knew, I left school and went to work in the fields with my parents—although unlike most of the children I knew, I never really worked all that hard. I was the youngest child, and even once puberty had come and gone, I was still fine-boned and only just five feet tall. Everyone else in my family was tall and strong, and despite my twin brothers being only fourteen months older than me, my family had never really stopped treating me like a child. I didn’t mind that too much at all as long as it meant the twins did the heavy lifting with the farm work.
Tomasz was from a wealthier family and long destined for university, so he stayed on at high school far longer than most in our district in southern Poland. Even once our paths diverged, he would regularly climb the hill between our homes to spend time with me, and every time he visited, he’d charm my whole family with outrageous tales from his week.
Even as a child and a teenager, Tomasz had a way of speaking that made you think that anything was possible. That’s what I loved about him first—he opened up my world to endless possibilities, and in doing so, filled it with magic. But for Tomasz, I’d never even have wondered about the world beyond my village, but once we fell in love, exploring it with him was pretty much all I could think about.
I wished so much that we could be married before he left for medical school so that I could go with him to the city. Mostly I couldn’t bear the thought of us parting, but a part of that desperation was rooted in my impatience to leave the family farm. My home was just past the outskirts of the rural township of Trzebinia, where Tomasz’s father Aleksy was the doctor, and his mother Julita had been a schoolteacher until she died in childbirth with his little sister. 
I was certain my life lay beyond the small world we inhabited, but there was no way to escape without marriage, and I was still a little too young for that—only fifteen at the time. The best I could hope for was that one day, Tomasz would come back for me.
The weekend arrived before Tomasz was due to leave, late in the spring of 1938. Time has a way of diluting how we remember things, but there are some memories too pure for even the ravages of the years, and that Sunday is as fresh in my mind as it was when I woke the next morning. Perhaps it’s just a side effect of holding the memory so close to myself over the years, replaying it in my mind over and over again as if it was my favorite film. Even now when I struggle to remember where I am sometimes or what day it is, I’m certain I still remember everything from that day—every moment, every touch, every scent and every sound. All day, heavy gray clouds had lingered low in the sky. We’d had so much rain in the days before that my boots were coated, and I wasn’t sure how much was from the animals and how much was from the mud. For days, the weather had been dreary, but by that Sunday evening, a cruel wind had blown in that made it bitter.
My brothers Filipe and Stanislaw had both worked all day in the cold while I was chatting with Tomasz, so my parents insisted I do one last task to tend to the animals before supper. I resisted fiercely until Tomasz took my hand and led the way.
“You are so spoiled,” he laughed softly.
“You sound like my parents,” I muttered.
“Well, maybe it’s true.” He glanced back at me, still pulling me along by my hand, but the adoration in his gaze was undeniable. “Don’t worry, Spoiled Alina. I love you anyway.”
At that, I felt a flush of pride and pleasure so strong that everything else became irrelevant.
“I love you too,” I said, and he dragged me a little farther and a little faster so that I almost crashed into him, and then at the very last second, executed a sneaky kiss.
“You are brave to do that with my father so close.” I grinned.
“Perhaps I am brave,” he said. “Or perhaps love has made me stupid.” At that, he cast a slightly anxious glance toward the house just to make sure my father hadn’t seen us, and when I burst out laughing, he kissed me again.
“Enough fun and games,” he said. “Let’s get this over and done with.”
Soon enough we were finished, and it was finally time to go inside to escape the awful weather. I moved to make a beeline for the house, but Tomasz caught my elbow and he said lightly, “Let’s go up to the hill.”
“What!” I gasped as my teeth chattered. He smiled anyway, and I laughed at him. “Tomasz! Maybe I’m a little spoiled, but you are definitely crazy.” definitely crazy.”
“Alina, moje wszystko,” he said—and that got me—it always got me, because his pet name for me meant “my everything,” and every time he said it I’d go weak at the knees. His gaze grew very serious and he said, “This is our last evening together for a while, and I want a moment with you before we sit with your parents. Please?”
The hill was a wooded peak, the very end of a long, thin thatch of thick forest left untouched simply because the ground was so rocky and the pinnacle so steep it served no useful farming purpose. That hill sheltered my house and the lands of our farm, and provided a barrier between our quiet existence and town life in Trzebinia. From the top of our hill to the building that housed both Tomasz’s family and his father’s medical practice was a brisk fifteen-minute walk, or at times when he wasn’t supposed to be there with me in the first place, an eight-minute sprint.
For as long as I could remember, the hill had always been ourspot—somewhere we could enjoy both the view and in more recent years, each other. It was a place where we had privacy if we hid in the pockets of clearing between the trees. If we sat near the long, flat boulder at the very top, we had the visibility to catch any family members who might come for us, particularly Tomasz’s younger sister, Emilia, who seemed to have an instinct to come looking for us whenever our passion for each other might burn out of control.
We climbed the incline that evening until we reached the peak, and by then, what scant daylight we’d had was gone and the dull lights of the houses in Trzebinia were twinkling below us. As we took our positions on the boulder, Tomasz wrapped his arms around me and pulled me hard against his chest. He was shaking too, and at first, I thought that was because of the cold.
“This is ridiculous,” I laughed softly, turning my head toward him. “We’re going to catch our death, Tomasz!”
His arms tightened around me, just a little, and then he drew in a deep breath.
“Alina,” he said, “your father has given us permission and his blessing for a wedding, but we need to wait a few years...and by then I’ll be earning some money to provide for you anyway. We will have time to think of the details later...just know that whatever places you can dream of, I’ll find a way to take you there, Alina Dziak. We can have a good life.” His voice became rough, and he cleared his throat before he whispered, “I will give you a good life.”
I was surprised and delighted by the proposal, but also momentarily insecure, so I pulled away from him a little and asked carefully, “But how do you know you’ll still want to be with me once you see what life is like in the big city?”
He shifted then, adjusting my position so that we could face each other, and he cupped my face in his hands. “All I know and all I need to know is that whenever we are apart, I always miss you, and I know you feel the same. That is never going to change—it doesn’t matter what college brings. You and I were made for each other—so whether you come to be with me or I come home to be with you—we will always find our way back to one another. This is just a little pause now, but you’ll see. Time apart will change nothing.”
This was just another amazing story Tomasz was telling—only this time, it was the story of our future, and a promise that we would share one after all. I could see it in my mind as if it had already happened—I knew in that moment that we would marry, and we would have babies, and then we would grow old together. I was astounded by the love I felt for Tomasz, and that I could see that same desperate love mirrored in his eyes felt like a miracle.
I was the luckiest girl in Poland—the luckiest girl on Earth, to find such a wonderful man and to have him love me back just as deeply as I loved him. He was clever, and so kind, and so handsome—and Tomasz Slaski had the most amazing eyes. They were a startling shade of green, and they always sparkled just a little, as if he was quietly enjoying a mischievous secret. I pulled him close then and I pressed my face into his neck.
“Tomasz,” I whispered, through the happiest of tears. “I was always going to wait for you. Even before you asked me to.”

Father took me into the town the next morning to say goodbye to Tomasz before he left for Warsaw. We were engaged now and that was a milestone the adults in our life respected, so for the first time ever, we embraced in front of our fathers. Aleksy carried Tomasz’s suitcase, and Tomasz held tightly to his train ticket. Despite the noisy sobs Emilia was making, she looked a picture in one of her pretty floral dresses. I fussed over him on the platform, fiddling with the lapel of his coat and straightening the fall of his thick sandy hair.
“I’ll write you,” Tomasz promised me. “And I’ll come home as much as I can.”
“I know,” I said. His expression was somber but his eyes were dry, and I was determined to be brave too that day until he was out of sight. He kissed me on the cheek, and then he shook my father’s hand. After saying goodbye to his father and sister, Tomasz took his suitcase, and walked onto the carriage. When he hung out the window to wave to us, his gaze was fixed on mine. I forced myself to smile until the train dragged him all the way from my sight. Aleksy gave me a brief hug and said gruffly, “You’ll make a fine daughter one day, Alina.”
“She’ll make a fine sister, Father,” Emilia protested. She gave one last shuddering sob and sniffed dramatically, then she took my hand and pulled me away from Aleksy’s embrace. I didn’t have much experience with children—but the soft spot I held for Emilia grew exponentially in that moment as she beamed up at me with those shiny green eyes. I kissed the side of her head, then hugged her tightly.
“Don’t worry, little one. I’ll be your sister even while we wait.”
“I know he didn’t want to leave you, Alina, and I know this is hard on you too,” Aleksy murmured. “But Tomasz has wanted to be a doctor since before he learned to read, and we had to let him go.” He fell silent for a moment, then he cleared his throat and asked, “You’ll visit with us while Tomasz is away, won’t you?”
“Of course I will,” I promised him. There was a lingering sadness in Aleksy’s gaze, and he and Tomasz looked so alike—the same green eyes, the same sandy hair, even the same build. Seeing Aleksy sad was like seeing Tomasz sad in the distant future, and I hated the very thought of it—so I gave him another gentle hug.
“You are already my family, Aleksy,” I said. He smiled down at me, just as Emilia cleared her throat pointedly. “And you too, little Emilia. I promise I’ll visit you both as often as I can until Tomasz comes back to us.”

My father was solemn on the walk back to the farm, and in her usual stoic style, my mother was impatient with my moping that evening. When I climbed into bed for an early night, she appeared in the doorway between my room and the living space.
“I am being brave, Mama,” I lied, wiping at my eyes to avoid her scolding for my tears. She hesitated, then she stepped into my room and extended her hand toward me. Nestled safe within her calloused palm was her wedding ring, a plain but thick gold band that she’d worn for as long as I remembered.
“When the time is right, we will have a wedding at the church in the township, and Tomasz can put this ring on your finger. We don’t have much to offer you for your marriage, but this ring was mymother’s, and it has seen Father and I through twenty-nine years of marriage. Good times, bad times—the ring has held us steadfast. I give it to you to bring you fortune for your future—but I want you to hold on to it even now so that while you wait, you will remember the life that’s ahead of you.”
As soon she finished her speech, she spun on her heel and pulled my door closed behind her, as if she knew I’d cry some more and she couldn’t even bear to see it. After that, I kept the ring buried in my clothes drawer, beneath a pile of woolen socks. Every night before I went to sleep, I’d take that little ring in my hand, and I’d go to my window.
I’d stare out toward the hill that had borne witness to so many quiet moments with Tomasz, and I’d clutch that ring tightly against my chest while I prayed to Mother Mary to keep Tomasz safe until he came home to me.


"In The Things We Cannot Say, Kelly Rimmer deftly weaves together the narratives of Alina, a young woman struggling to survive the Second World War in Poland and Alice, a mother and wife juggling the intergenerational complexities of modern family. Their stories converge when Alice undertakes a journey to uncover the secrets of her dying grandmother's past. Fans of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls will adore The Things We Cannot Say, a poetic and unforgettable tale of the past that is always with us, the truth that sets us free and the long journey home." - Pam Jenoff, NYT Bestselling Author of The Orphan's Tale

"Kelly Rimmer has raised the already high bar with this unforgettable novel, The Things We Cannot Say. It is that rare author that takes the reader so deeply into a world that you smell the smells, feel the hunger, see the devastation. Alina and Tomasz's story is one of bravery, resilience, and the lengths we will go to for the ones we love. If this book isn't a giant bestseller, I will eat my hat. Fans of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah now have a new go-to author." –Sally Hepworth, NYT Bestselling Author of The Secrets of Midwives

"[The Things We Cannot Say] is such an emotional and powerful read that I found it almost impossible to put down. I was riveted, and will be recommending this book to everyone I know." –Sally Hepworth bestselling author of THE SHAPE OF US

"Kelly Rimmer skillfully takes us deep inside a world where love must make choices that logic cannot. Ripped from the headlines and from the heart, Before I Let You Go is an unforgettable novel that will amaze and startle you with its impact and insight." -Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water's End

Other Books by Kelly

About the author:
Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels. Her latest novel, Before I Let You Go, will be released in 2018. Kelly lives in rural Australia with her family and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.


  1. Love love this time period! This would be a good one for me I think.

  2. Not my kind of book but I'm sure others will like it.

  3. This is an excellent read, I really got hooked into it.

    1. ooh good to know Kathryn thanks I'll have to check out your review

  4. I really enjoy these type of stories, and I thank you for passing this one on! Hugs...RO

  5. This sounds emotional for sure

  6. I 'enjoy' these heartwrenching wartime stories now and then. I'll keep it in mind.