Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday 18 May 2013

The Things We Never Said - Susan Elliot Wright

Debut novelist Susan Elliot Wright has crafted a moving, compelling tale with the narrative divided between two characters. In the present day, Jonathan is a teacher, and soon to be a father, his wife Fiona at last expecting their first child. He is both happy and anxious about the arrival of the baby, not helped by a difficult relationship with his own father who seemed unfeeling and distant towards his son; then his father passes away, destroying any hopes of reconciliation.

In the other strand to the tale, in the 1960s, Maggie wakes up bewildered, not knowing who she is or where she is; slowly she realises she is in a psychiatric hospital. She experiences a gradual coming to terms with her situation and a slow recollection of her past, which is then unveiled to us. The book alternates between the two strands telling the story of Jonathan and Maggie in short but satisfying chapters, building the intrigue for the reader as to how their lives might intersect.

This is a story that felt both compassionate and very real to me as I read; I soon became absorbed in the lives of these two people. The characterisation is strong and convincing and the plot is intriguing and well developed. It is a very enjoyable and moving read about families, relationships, secrets and truth, and the title is very apt. 

Published by Simon and Schuster

Originally reviewed for

See more reviews for this title on the lovereading site here

You can follow the author on twitter @sewelliot


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  2. Interesting. I'm reading a book with a woman incarcerated in a Victorian asylum for the second time in a few months, and this sounds like it would make an interesting, modern companion piece.

    1. There was The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace wasn't there, very good on this theme. I hope you like this one if you read it.

  3. This sounds wonderful. Great review Lindsay, on to the wishlist!

    1. Thanks for commenting Anne, I think you'd like this one too.


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