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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Things We Don't Say

Title: The Things We Don’t Say
Author: Ella Carey
Publisher: 1 July 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 303 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, historical fiction
My Rating: 4 crowns

A beguiling painting holds the secrets of a woman’s past and calls into question everything she thought she knew about the man she loved…
Nearly sixty years ago, renowned London artist Patrick Adams painted his most famous work: a portrait of his beloved Emma Temple, a fellow bohemian with whom he shared his life. Years after Patrick’s death, ninety-year-old Emma still has the painting hanging over her bed at their country home as a testament to their love.
To Emma’s granddaughter, Laura, the portrait is also a symbol of so much to come. The masterpiece is serving as collateral to pay Laura’s tuition at a prestigious music school. Then the impossible happens when an appraiser claims the painting is a fraud. For Laura, the accusation jeopardizes her future. For Emma, it casts doubt on everything she believed about her relationship with Patrick. Laura is determined to prove that Patrick did indeed paint the portrait. Both her grandmother’s and Patrick’s legacies are worth fighting for.
As the stories of two women entwine, it’s time for Emma to summon up the past—even at the risk of revealing its unspoken secrets.
My Thoughts

I'm a fan of Ella Carey and was interested to read her next book. Her books are always an easy read with often a little twist to keep you engaged. This particular story is loosely based on the Bloomsbury group - artists in the early twentieth century and the complicated affairs they weave within their bohemian lifestyle. Set against that is the modern tale of the granddaughter's search for what is either a lost or stolen painting from that period.

‘... everyone put untold effort into trying to fix unresolved tensions in this life, but perhaps it was the very state of unresolvedness that gave us hope.’

This book is about love and the many forms it takes. Spanning over sixty odd years, the chapters will jump between Emma’s story in the past and her granddaughter, Laura, in 1980.  Emma was an interesting character, basically rebelling against Victorian ways and embracing her independence and one true love of a lifetime. You can only admire her for her strength of character in staying true to her ideals in that particular age and time. Perhaps a lesson we could all learn from, to do what makes us happy and content despite the protestations of others. Laura is a little more conservative and struggles to protect her grandmother and follow her passion of music.

‘What was more, as Laura now struggled with her own reactions to things that she could not control, the more she came to admire Emma’s calm acceptance and tolerance of life.’

Although a slow burn tale, it is somewhat slow in places, the touch of mystery is intriguing and the ending with the outcome of the painting I found contained an unforeseen twist that elevated this read from a 3.5 to 4 star read. However, at times it was so very repetitive, with awkward dialogue and not a lot happening, just repeating the same lines. Overall however, The Things We Don’t Say is an interesting story filled with love and passion, sex and drama, some good scandals enveloped by the painting mystery.

‘Through a century of turbulence, through two world wars and a gentle social revolution carried out by the extraordinary Emma Temple, this group of people had delved into past passion—of both the destructive and beautiful sort—into secrets that had been held close to private hearts, and into worlds that had circled around, linked because they were polar opposites and yet also because nothing existed as an entirely separate entity from anything else.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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