What’s Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone

What’s Left Unsaid is an intimate look at a family shackled by its secrets…

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A compelling family drama that spans decades, What’s Left Unsaid is the tale of the Klein family that has been torn apart by the secrets that they kept from one another.

Sasha is barely keeping her life together as she raises a surly, quite snotty, teenage boy. Her husband, Jeremy is often traveling and, soon into the book, leaves Sasha to pursue his “dream.” Sasha’s mother, Annie, who never has cared for Sasha, has dementia and ultimately cancer, and her father, whom she adored, is dead – although, he cleverly has his input throughout the book.

As Zac, the son, attempts to uncover the family secrets, we see the horrors that this family has endured since the beginning of the 20th century; horrors that has greatly impacted this family.

Normally I adore family dramas, especially when they fall on the noir side. However, I never quite connected with these characters, which is odd because many of their “secrets” are those that my own family has encountered. No family is perfect, of course, we all have these secrets that we keep from another and “the greatest generation,” those who survived the trauma of WWII, seem to hide more than most. Perhaps it was that there were too many horrors for one person to have experienced that led me to feel it was a bit overdone. Annie had to have been one of the most unlucky women to ever live and, as a result, I came to distain her rather than find her sympathetic. She then continued the horror by abusing her daughter, Sasha who, in turn, raised a teenager that was allowed to do whatever he pleased and was rewarded for being a snot with a “gap year” trip around the globe all while his parents marriage was crumbling and his grandmother was dying.

On one hand I found the research and historic elements of What’s Left Unsaid fascinating. I learned quite a lot about England’s side of WWII. However, because the story is told in three parts; Sasha/Annie, then Joe and back to Sasha/Annie, the story became repetitive. Yes, we were getting a different viewpoint with each telling but there had to be a better way of doing so. The ending also was very abrupt. I didn’t feel closure, nor did I feel hopeful for Sasha. It was all rather muddled.

I think there are readers who will find this book fascinating and there are those who will connect with this family. Because of that I’m rating it 3.5 stars.

Thank you to Matador Books and #Netgalley for my copy of What’s Left Unsaid.

6 thoughts on “What’s Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone

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