Though pale and tired, Nonna has lost none of her sharp mind. She’s fixated on finding something long forgotten, and she immediately puts Zara to work cleaning out the attic. Unexpectedly, amid the tedium of sifting through knickknacks and heirlooms, Zara also reconnects with a man she’s attracted to but whose complicated past makes romance seem impossible.
But then Zara finds what Nonna was looking for: a wooden chest, an emerald broach, a leather-bound journal. As she immerses herself in stories of heroism and loss set against the backdrop of war-torn Italy in 1943, Zara finds answers to questions she didn’t know she had. And they change everything she thinks she knows about love, regret, and seizing the day.
The Words We Whisper by Mary Ellen Taylor is a dual timeline novel that takes us between the 1940s in Rome and the present day in Richmond, Virginia. The story is told from multiple points-of-view which includes Zara Mitchell, Gina Mitchell, Nicolas Bernard, and Isabella Mancuso. The main narrators are Zara, a traveling hospice nurse, and Isabella Mancuso, a dressmaker at a high-end shop in Rome in the 1940s. I thought The Words We Whisper contained good writing, but it is a slow starter. I had a hard time getting into the book. I thought the beginning was a bit of a put off and it is depressing. I wish the story had begun differently (in a way that would have hooked me). The Words We Whisper is an interesting story with things I liked and some things I found less appealing. I enjoyed the historical sections more than the present day. Isabella lives in Rome and wants to help her country against the invading Germans. I can tell the author did her research. With regard to the modern section, I could have done without the romance. I would have preferred to see more growth from Zara. To have her coming into her own instead of falling in love. I like how the author tied the past and present together. Nonna’s secrets are slowly revealed with the big unveiling at the end. While The Words We Whisper is a good story, I felt something was missing. The Words We Whisper is a story about war, loss, love, sacrifice, forgiveness, and new beginnings. The Words We Whisper is a good book to read while relaxing on a lounger by the pool.
The Avid Reader
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