Things We Didn't Say

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Ironside Lake, Minnesota
January 1944

Headstrong and determined, linguistics student Johanna Berglund has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind. But when the only way to her intended future is through undertaking a translator position at a nearby camp for German POWs, she reluctantly accepts.

Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy Minnesota 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 close 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 prisoners and censors their letters home, she begins to see them in a more sympathetic light, but advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred--and she must decide where her heart truly lies.

"Green debuts with an enthralling epistolary tale revolving around a WWII-era treason trial. . . . This is a smart examination of patriotism, prejudice, and purpose."--Publishers Weekly

"Green's epistolary novel set during World War II will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."--Library Journal

"Green's debut is a memorable and moving exploration of prejudice and friendship across ethnic and gender lines. For readers who enjoy tales of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary historical situations à la Susan Meissner and Lisa ­Wingate."--Library Journal starred review

"Green proves to be a first-rate author in her remarkable first novel about humanity and patriotism. Things We Didn't Say is told entirely through letters, in which readers follow the correspondence of Johanna, POWs, military commanders, and community members, watching their fascinating, complex story unfold. Through her ambitious use of this limiting format, Green brilliantly creates a limitless and captivating reading experience with the nuance and wisdom of a seasoned writer. The timeless dichotomy of forgiveness and justice rings with contemporary relevance, and Johanna will be a well-loved heroine for her gumption, humility, and wit."--Booklist starred review

Praise for Things We Didn't Say

"Amy Lynn Green expertly wields wit, heart, history, and enveloping storytelling in this glorious debut."--Amanda Dykes, author of Set the Stars Alight and Whose Waves These Are

"With impeccable research, Amy Lynn Green casts a light on the POW camps in America during World War II. . . . Make space on your bookshelf, because this book is a keeper!"--Sarah Sundin, bestselling and award-winning author of When Twilight Breaks and the Sunrise at Normandy series

"This winsome epistolary is underscored by a deep look at patriotism, prejudice, unwavering faith, duty, and love."--Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration


Endorsements

"Things We Didn't Stay is a stand-out novel as brilliant and brave as its heroine. I was moved to both laughter and tears while tagging along with Johanna Berglund on her emotional and spiritual journey. When I wasn't pausing to savor a particularly profound passage, I was turning the pages as fast as I could to see what Jo and Peter would say next. An utterly satisfying read you'll want to share as soon as you reach its conclusion."

Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Veiled in Smoke

"This compelling novel of life on the US home front during World War II fascinated me from beginning to end. Things We Didn't Say, told entirely through letters, newspaper accounts, and other documents, kept me turning pages as it shed light on our prejudices and the way our fear can prompt hatred. Amy Lynn Green's characters wrestle with obeying Jesus' command to love their enemies at a time when showing kindness to Americans of Japanese descent or to German prisoners of war might be interpreted as treason. And tucked between the pages is a gentle love story that provides the icing on this gem of a literary cake."

Lynn Austin, author of If I Were You

"An outstanding debut novel! Much will be said about the unique format of Things We Didn't Say, but what truly shines in this novel are the characters. Outspoken and delightfully antisocial, Johanna sparkles with wit, but she also comes to see the heart and depth of the people around her--and the flaws within her own soul. With impeccable research, Amy Lynn Green casts a light on the POW camps in America during World War II and on the dangers of prejudice. Make space on your bookshelf, because this book is a keeper!"

Sarah Sundin, bestselling and award-winning author of When Twilight Breaks and the Sunrise at Normandy series

"Amy Lynn Green's debut novel kept me guessing to the very end--twist upon twist upon twist. She is a master plotter, so read every single word! You'll be thinking about Jo and her companions long after you finish reading Things We Didn't Say."

Beverly Lewis, New York Times bestselling author

"Things We Didn't Say is the best sort of book: where the characters feel like friends, the story feels like home, and the pages beckon you to turn them ceaselessly, immersing you in an absorbing world. Amy Lynn Green expertly wields wit, heart, history, and enveloping storytelling in this glorious debut!"

Amanda Dykes, author of Set the Stars Alight and Whose Waves These Are

"Amy Lynn Green pens a fascinating story of intrigue and love in her book Things We Didn't Say. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Amy takes care to bring history alive as she moves her characters through situations that force them to take a deeper look at who they are and what they really want out of life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and believe my readers will as well."

Tracie Peterson, bestselling author

"Told in a series of letters, Things We Didn't Say is the story of a reluctant female translator working in a German POW camp in the American Midwest. Based on actual World War II experiences, and sparkling with humor and touches of romance, this is an impressive debut from a multitalented writer."

Julie Klassen, author of The Bridge to Belle Island

"A fascinating excavation of a little-known moment in US history executed with an inimitable voice and extremely clever style. Excessively readable, this winsome epistolary is underscored by a deep look at patriotism, prejudice, unwavering faith, duty, and love. I guarantee you will not have a similar reading experience this year. Green's compassionate exploration of the many facets of forgiveness and humanity involves a Japanese American military intelligence instructor, German POWs, and an intelligent woman who must learn the depth of loss beyond the words she so easily finds solace behind. A dazzlingly smart and confident debut, Things We Didn't Say is as moving as it is memorable."

Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration


The Author

  1. Amy Lynn Green
    © Roger Smith Photography

    Amy Lynn Green

    Amy Lynn Green (www.amygreenbooks.com) is a publicist by day and a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family...

    Continue reading about Amy Lynn Green

Reviews

"Green's epistolary novel set during World War II will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."

Library Journal

"Green debuts with an enthralling epistolary tale revolving around a WWII-era treason trial. . . . This is a smart examination of patriotism, prejudice, and purpose."

Publishers Weekly

"Green's debut is a memorable and moving exploration of prejudice and friendship across ethnic and gender lines. For readers who enjoy tales of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary historical situations à la Susan Meissner and Lisa ­Wingate."

Library Journal starred review

"Green proves to be a first-rate author in her remarkable first novel about humanity and patriotism. Things We Didn't Say is told entirely through letters, in which readers follow the correspondence of Johanna, POWs, military commanders, and community members, watching their fascinating, complex story unfold. Through her ambitious use of this limiting format, Green brilliantly creates a limitless and captivating reading experience with the nuance and wisdom of a seasoned writer. The timeless dichotomy of forgiveness and justice rings with contemporary relevance, and Johanna will be a well-loved heroine for her gumption, humility, and wit."

Booklist starred review


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