Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.
Sasha’s mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there’s one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.
As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha’s fractious relationship.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is a super debut from author Deborah Stone which revolves round three generations of the same family and the influences that have made them who they are.
Annie is a mother and grandmother whose mind isn’t as keen as it once was. Sasha is Annie’s daughter that is trying to deal with her own life problems and Zac is Sasha’s son. When Annie lets something from the past slip to Zac, it really knocks him off his feet and he wants to find out more. Zac arranges for his Grannie, mother and father to make a film of their past lives that he will always have for when he is older. When his father declines it makes his mum more keen to go ahead.
As the interviews begin Annie can recall with clarity events that happened years ago, especially her time as a five-year-old girl bundled off to the supposed safety of the countryside through the war years. A time that left her traumatized. Annie’s story goes on to tell how she met her husband Joe and although he had died he too has his time telling his side of the story.
Every family has its skeletons in the cupboard and this family seems to have a church yard of them. While the filming is taking place, Sasha has to face even more distress with her mum’s health and her husband’s confession. The whole family are turned upside down and in shock. What tragic things there are have been left in the dark to fester, leaving at times a coldness in the family instead of understanding and comfort from loved ones.
I think if there was a lesson to be learnt from this story then it is to talk to each other. So many rifts had been made with secrets in this family, could they possibly make amends before it was too late.
I wish to thank the author for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Stone lives in North London with her husband, two sons and fabulous golden retriever, George, who is the inspiration for Stanley in the novel. This is her debut novel.
What’s Left Unsaid spans several decades, telling the history of the Stein family from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. Speaking of her inspiration for her novel, Deborah says; ‘My own mother was evacuated at the age of five during World War Two and my father was a young man working as an ARP warden. This novel is purely fictitious, but I wanted to explore the traumas that many ordinary people of the war generation suffered, experiences which would be quite unimaginable to many of us today and then to contrast them with the issues we all face in the modern day.’