Every Word Unsaid is an uplifting and memorable novel about maturing and finding your place in the world. Kimberly Duffy does an amazing job penning this tale and building characters you adore. This story reminds me a lot of myself because the act of maturing, regardless of age, is a heady and indescribable feeling, yet Duffy does it well with Gussie.
- Title: Every Word Unsaid
- Author: Kimberly Duffy
- Publisher: Bethany House on November 2, 2021
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Pages: 368
- Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, & Digital
- Rating: 4/5
Trigger Warnings: Emotional Abuse, Miscarriage
Many thanks to Kimberly Duffy and Bethany House for providing me with a paperback copy of Every Word Unsaid with a request for an honest review. I also wish to thank Laurel Ann from austenprosePR for allowing me to participate in this tour and for providing me with all the materials needed to make this post.
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About Every Word Unsaid
Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.
Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.Provided by austenprosePR for Tour Use
Augusta Travers has an adventurous soul. She can’t abide staying in any one place too long, much to her family’s dismay. The only family member who understands Augusta, Gussie, is her Uncle James. When scandal catches up with Gussie, her family sends her away to settle down and make a match. But, Gussie has other intentions and finds herself on a boat to India. When her feet hit the ground on arrival, she knows she has found her home. Her feet are no longer itchy, and she knows she will find happiness in her new locale. But, terrible things happen in her adopted country, and her feeling of home is in jeopardy. Will Gussie find lifelong happiness in India, or will her feet find it necessary to keep wandering?
Gussie Travers is an enigma. I loved the introduction to her while out on the South Dakota plains. I loved her spirit and the adventure she sought. But, her eventual return home made me feel sorry for her. Her family belongs to the new-money society club, and they are awful people. Social climbers with snobby intentions are not my idea of a good time, and they are incredibly cruel to Gussie. When she hopped on that boat to India, I clapped. I mean, literally clapped. I was full of joy for her. However, when she arrives in India, her adventures take a new turn, and the Augusta that I fell in love with wasn’t the same person. As she grew and matured, she became someone completely different. I missed her teasing, lighthearted personality. Now, don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the necessity for this change in her, but I admit that I missed the “old” Gussie terribly.
The rest of the characters in this novel are just as lovely. Catherine, Gabriel, and Bimla are now a part of my soul, right along with Gussie. The way their stories folded and rippled throughout Gussie’s life was pure magic. Duffy has a wonderful way with words, and she made me fall in love with these people. I wanted to be there, to become a part of the story. These are people I would spend my days and years wanting to be around. They became my friends as I read. I would love to see another story spin from this one where Uncle James gets a happy ending. The poor man deserves one, and I hope he ends up living next door to Gussie.
The amount of research that went into this novel is extraordinary. I learned so much about India that I had never read or heard before. I’ve read many books set in India, but Every Word Unsaid is the first one where I learned more than a few random pieces of information. To know that some of the characters I adored so much were real, living people at one time makes my history-loving heart flutter. There is so much that I didn’t realize about the plague. Learning the reasons behind the misogyny surrounding young girls and widows cut me deeply. It has been a real eye-opener for me.
The only problem I had with an otherwise outstanding book was the way Duffy uses Christianity. Throughout the entire first three-quarters of the book, God’s name gets mentioned very sparingly, with a few references to silent prayers. But the last fourth added so many random references to God. Bimla, out of the clear blue sky, remarks about how God loves her, so it doesn’t matter that her family shunned her and caused unbearable torment for her. Bimla had made not one reference to God in the entire rest of the book. The religious passages felt forced, especially when there was no build-up to it. I love inspirational books, but I had a hard time with this. For me, it wasn’t inspirational but a message I didn’t see coming, nor did I want.
I award Every Word Unsaid 4 out of 5 stars. This novel is very good, and the title suits the prose perfectly. I love how the entire book revolved around the essence of the title. Not many authors can do that, and Duffy hit the nail on the head there. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good, hearty cry. The book is very emotional and lays bare the many attitudes and atrocities of the world. This one is not a lighthearted read, yet very worthy.
About the Author – Kimberly Duffy
Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.
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