Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green
Published: November 3, 2020
Length: 416 pages
About the book:
Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.
Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.
As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.
This is Amy Lynn Green’s debut book, but you would never be able to tell. I’m now a fan! I loved that this is an epistolary novel. I also liked that each letter started out saying who it was to and who it was from. It made it easier to hear each person’s voice through their writing. I would recommend this book for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.