The Words I Never Wrote

Written by Jane Thynne
Review by Helen Piper

In her latest venture into historical fiction, author Jane Thynne turns her attention to two socialite sisters on opposite sides in World War II, and a present-day young photographer who tries to piece their story together.

In London 1936, after a whirlwind romance with a German industrialist, Irene gets married, and he whisks her to Berlin. Her sister Cordelia gets a job at a newspaper in Paris and the sisters exchange letters. When Cordelia starts to suspect that her sister no longer dares to admit what life is like in Nazi Germany, she decides to sit down with her Underwood typewriter and write the truth. When Juno buys Cordelia’s old Underwood at an auction in present-day New York, she finds the manuscript and decides to uncover the sisters’ secrets.

This is historical fiction at its best. The attention to detail and period knowledge is very impressive. The depiction of the pre-war Berlin socialites is highly entertaining and filled with pertinent historical detail. The fact that real-life people like spy Kim Philby and ambassador daughter Martha Dodd make cameos makes the story even more compelling. The crest of the reading experience, though, is how expertly Thynne depicts the complex and loving relationship between the sisters. An absolute must-read.