Things We Cannot Say by
Kelly Rimmer delves into how loved ones are never forgotten
within the backdrop of WWII. At the drop of a hat, someone's
life can change all of sudden, which is what happened to a
family after the Nazis occupied Poland.
Based on her own family, Rimmer tells
how "my grandparents were Polish Catholic. They never
spoke a lot about what happened to them before they immigrated
to Australia. We did not know about how they lived. They would
not talk about the war and seemed to put it behind them. I
saw this picture of my grandparents in the sunshine and so
relaxed. This got me thinking about their story, how they
had hope and despair. I decided to travel to the village where
they lived in Poland with my aunt and sister. I was able to
capture what life was like including Auschwitz and Birkenau,
which was such a shocking experience. It is impossible to
get my head around the violence of that era, the utter brutality,
The story alternates between war-torn
Poland in the 1930s and 1940s and modern-day Florida. The
main characters are Alina, having to endure the horrific Nazi
occupation; Alice, and her grandmother Hanna, who has made
a dying wish, find Tomasz, her soul mate in Poland.
Alice is living in Florida, juggling between being the mother
of a six-year-old boy, Eddie, who has autism and her ten-year-old
daughter, Callie, who is exceptionally gifted. Hanna, her
grandmother, at the age ninety-five, has suffered a debilitating
stroke where she can no longer speak. These present-day characters
are somehow related to the past through Alina.
Enduring the Nazis, Alina is struggling
to survive and find hope that she and Tomasz can marry at
the war's conclusion. As their situation worsens, hope begins
to dwindle, and they wonder, after being separated, will they
ever see each other again. This story does not spare the reader
all the horrors of the Nazis where they killed in cold blood
and used the tools of starvation, rape, and disease
What makes this story stand out are
the relationships. It is heartwarming to read how Eddie has
connected with his grandmother and the love between them.
Alice and Hanna also have a special relationship since she
was the one who gave her granddaughter unconditional love
and support, while Alice’s mother became a career mom.
Alina and Tomasz also had a special love that was deep and
"I wanted to write about autism and how Eddie is a real
person who had the people around him benefit from his life.
He and Hanna understood and accepted each other. I also wanted
to show how technology helped both he and Hanna communicate
through an App. I had some experience with not being able
to communicate. Just before I left for Poland, I collapsed
from a seizure of temporal lobe epilepsy and was not able
to speak for half an hour. I realized how frustrating it is
and how scary."
This emotional historical novel brings
together the present and the past. It encompasses loyalty,
love, and devotion.