Customer Reviews


201 Reviews
5 star:
 (121)
4 star:
 (48)
3 star:
 (22)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very accomplished first novel.
This had my attention from the first few pages, and I read it to the end in one sitting - very late night! We are involved with Maggie's rehabilitation from a nervous breakdown in the '60s, gradually learning her story as she regains snippets of information about herself. Running alongside Maggie's story is that of Jonathan and Fiona who are expecting their first child,...
Published 6 months ago by misty meanor

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy and enjoyable summer read
This novel is the old familiar story of how an unwanted and unexpected pregnancy can change the shape of lives and lives to come. I found it to be an easy and enjoyable read, but no more than that. Comparisons to Margaret Forster and Maggie O Farrell are more than a little bit misleading - this book does not stand up to that comparison and readers choosing on that basis...
Published 1 month ago by Scholastica


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 18 Jun 2013
By 
ElaineG (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an absolutely superb read. It is a story told in two halves with each chapter alternating between the two strands of the story, which then eventually dovetail together.

The first story is that of Maggie, who we first meet as a mental health patient in 1964. Maggie has no recollection of her life before entering the hospital and her story is divulged as she slowly starts to remember when we find out that she has had to make some very brave decisions which will affect her and others for a long time to come. It is not a pretty read, the events that brought her to this point in life and her treatment in hospital are very moving and quite harrowing at times.

The second story is that of Jonathan and takes place 40 years on. We meet him at a time when everything is going wrong in his life including, but not exclusively, problems at work and his father's death and the strain everything is putting on his marriage have really brought him to a low point. The only thing he has to look forward to is the birth of his first child. There are times in the book where you feel that he isn't getting the support he needs from his wife Fiona, but as a pregnant woman she has her own set of priorities. As the book says, when a woman is pregnant, she is the most important person in the world so when, on top of everything else, an unexpected visitor arrives with some quite shocking news that will have far reaching implications for Jonathan, he really feels he is on his own.

As I read the book, moving towards the point where the two stories meet up, I could appreciate how well the author had plotted this suspense filled story, which is very unusual, poignant and thought provoking. Like a jigsaw puzzle, each part of the storyline very neatly fits together until eventually you see the whole picture, with no spares.

There are some very serious issues in the book, which are dealt with in a very matter of fact way, not too melodramatic, but just right. It wasn't a book that I could sit and read in one go, partly because I didn't want it to end, but I kept having to put it down to catch my breath and take it all in.

It really is a special read, about parenthood, love, loss and mental health; one that I found very emotional and when it reached its very satisfying ending, I had to wipe a little tear away from my eye.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very accomplished first novel., 28 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This had my attention from the first few pages, and I read it to the end in one sitting - very late night! We are involved with Maggie's rehabilitation from a nervous breakdown in the '60s, gradually learning her story as she regains snippets of information about herself. Running alongside Maggie's story is that of Jonathan and Fiona who are expecting their first child, but whose life seems to be imploding. Just as things look as though they can't get any worse for them, a police man turns up to ask Jonathan about his father. The author skilfully controls the development of her characters and the release of information so that the reader is working things out at about the same time as the characters, The descriptive writing is excellent, particularly when dealing with the boarding house and rooms that Maggie and the theatrical troupe use; the 60s attitude towards sex, abortion and unwed mothers is also well captured. If you want a lazy holiday read then this might not be it, but if you want something to keep your attention and make you think, then I recommend this very highly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable!, 30 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book as an inexpensive holiday read, but was soon deeply imbedded in the lives of the characters. Fascinating how the two stories start to merge and I was an emotional mess, but in good way, for the last third of the book. It's been a long time since a book has moved me to tears. Excellent read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good dual time frame story, 13 July 2014
By 
Nicola "nicola_in_southyorks" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a dual time frame novel set in the 1960s and in 2008/9. Maggie is in a mental institution but has no memory of what has happened to her or why she is there. We get insights into her story alongside the story of Jonathan, a teacher in 2008 whose wife is pregnant. He has a difficult relationship with his parents and has never known why.

As the story unfolds we start to learn of the links between Maggie and Jonathan in alternating chapters. This is an easy book to read, and one which I found myself getting through quite quickly. There are comparisons with Maggie O'Farrell and I would agree that the style is similar. Maggie's story reminded me of O'Farrell's The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

I really enjoyed this book. Parts were set in Sheffield where I'm from, so I liked that although it was not recognisable as the city apart from some very broad accents. The parts in the mental institution were sad to read, as people were not treated well in those establishments in the past. I'm not giving anything away by saying that Maggie finds herself pregnant and unmarried and I do think that people would have treated her less sympathetically in those days than is portrayed in the book, but that's my only real criticism.

A good tale and I liked the way it unfolded.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 30 Jun 2013
By 
june (Staffordshire) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very well written, emotional story. Couldn't put it down! Bought tears to my eyes more than once, and I actually cried at the end, not many books have done that to me! recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy and enjoyable summer read, 20 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Things We Never Said (Paperback)
This novel is the old familiar story of how an unwanted and unexpected pregnancy can change the shape of lives and lives to come. I found it to be an easy and enjoyable read, but no more than that. Comparisons to Margaret Forster and Maggie O Farrell are more than a little bit misleading - this book does not stand up to that comparison and readers choosing on that basis are likely to be disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 18 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Things We Never Said (Paperback)
This is a truly great book. Sometimes books which have two or more threads do not gel, not here though. Beautifully joined together, the threads in this join seamlessly. Stories with subject matter as this can be dull and dark but this is a warm book written with a knowledge and understanding that many will relate to. I didn't want this to end, but it does, and perfectly so.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was swept along by Elliot Wright's assured storytelling, 24 May 2013
This review is from: The Things We Never Said (Paperback)
This is a novel about mental health, memory and how the fabric of families can potentially unravel - all rich subjects for fiction - and Susan Elliot Wright delivers them splendidly.

The Things We Never Said begins with Maggie waking up in a mental hospital in the 1960s unable to remember who she is or how on earth she got there. She gradually acquaints herself with her fellow patients and the staff `caring' for them, having to learn (or is it relearn?) the rules and etiquette as she tries to recover her past. It's a great premise to launch the story from, and the bygone era of chilly mental institutions and electroshock treatment (that seems to be used as punishment rather than therapy) are absorbing and scarily plausible.

Meanwhile in the present day, we meet Jonathan, a teacher with a pregnant wife and aging parents. His first challenge in the book is to find a way to tell them they're going to be grandparents. There's no obvious reason why they'd be unhappy about it, it's simply a case of Jonathan choosing his moment . . . And yet this becomes but one of several things various characters leave unsaid, or have difficulty finding the right words for, and naturally their lack of communication has consequences.

The Germans have a term, Weltschmerz, for the sadness felt when one realises the world cannot match the ideal of one's mind. This is what Jonathan is going through. He is in crisis because he cannot accept his father for the barbed and distant man he is; and, when he learns an uncomfortable truth, is drawn into a spiral of anxiety and unseemly behaviour that threatens his job and relationship.

While Maggie's far more dramatic break down is exacerbated by the prejudice and ignorance of post-war Britain, Jonathan's issues have a distinctly modern flavour: binge drinking, pent up rage, the ups-and-downs of marriage and imminent fatherhood, not to mention the stress of being embroiled in a workplace investigation. The comparisons and contrasts drawn out between the two eras are subtle, and cleverly done.

Some of the most touching portions of the novel, past and present, take place when it snows, a detail not even hinted at by the cover design. Perhaps it's because I read this on trains in December on my way to and from family visits, but there's something very appropriate about the author's choice here: the quietness of snow; the numbing cold; the way it disguises familiar landscapes; the connotations of Christmas, sentimentality, journeys and reconciliation. It's probably not the easiest angle to promote a debut novel from, but this is an excellent winter read.

The themes in The Things We Never Said are treated knowledgeably, but gently, and I was swept along by Elliot Wright's assured storytelling. An ideal choice for readers of genealogy mysteries.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bliss, 24 May 2013
The story is told from two perspectives..Maggie, a lady who in in Mental hospital in the 60s..and Johnathon..a Teacher in 2009...Their lives merge together.
Loved the 60s descriptons of life. The Author has done her research.
Took me back in time, and the attitudes were spot on.
Read this..sheer pleasure
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read in a long time, 12 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Didn't want to put this book down. Well written. You're drawn to both characters wanting life to get better for them
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Things We Never Said
The Things We Never Said by Susan Elliot-Wright (Paperback - 23 May 2013)
1.95
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews