AUTHOR: Amy Lynn Green
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
From the back cover:
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.
Things We Didn’t Say tells Johanna story via letters, which caught me off-guard at first, but the intrigue within the missives kept me reading. Johanna makes an interesting heroine. Her high intelligence and fierce drive sometimes clash with social niceties, and her only true friend is Peter Ito, a brilliant young man of Japanese descent in a time when Japanese are met with as much suspicion as Germans.
On the surface, this story is about two young people trying to serve their country, although Johanna commits reluctantly. In reality, pride, prejudice, loyalty and, finally, faith are the real stars. And that makes this World War 2 novel relevant today.
It took me a while to get into this story, chopped up as it is into short letters, but it hooked me fairly quickly, and secrets, lies and mysteries will do. Things We Didn’t Say will stay with me for a long time, and I recommend it, awarding it four stars. I received this book courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing Inc.