DiscoverContemporary Fiction

Unspoken

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Worth reading 😎

Nearing the end of her life, Alice tells a story of redemption, revenge, and female fortitude in a way everyone needs to hear.

Synopsis

Unspoken

A dramatic family saga. Unspoken is a tale of secrets, love, betrayal and revenge.

Unspoken means something that cannot be uttered aloud. Unspoken is the dark secret a woman must keep, for life.

Alice is fast approaching her one hundredth birthday and she is dying. Her strange, graphic dreams of ghostly figures trying to pull her into a tunnel of blinding light are becoming more and more vivid and terrifying. Alice knows she only has a short time left and is desperate to unburden herself of a dark secret, one she has lived with for eighty years.

Jessica, her great granddaughter, They share dreadful luck in the types of men that come into their lives.

Alice sends Jessica to the attic to retrieve a set of handwritten notebooks detailing her young life during the late 1930s. On her 18th birthday, she meets Frank, a man with a drink problem and a violent temper.
When Frank’s abusive behaviour steps up a level. Alice seeks solace in the arms of her smooth, ‘gangster lawyer’ Godfrey, and when Frank discovers the couple together, he vows to get his revenge.
Unspoken. A tale that binds two women, born eighty years apart.

        Unspoken is a book about the power of women the need to uncover secrets from the past. At the center of this book is feisty and outspoken Alice who knows her mind. We dip back into her life story which is paralleled with Jessica’s. As Alice slips further towards death, her deep need to share her life story becomes even more apparent. This is a story about feminism and breaking the cycle of being with to toxic men. It is within the “unspoken” story of Alice’s past that both Alice and Jessica find their own voice and the courage to move on.


              The character of Alice is incredible. Her character goes beyond the stereotypes typically presented of women and highlights a character that is driven and has a head for business – even when surrounded by men. She is someone to admire. The power she emanates is contrasted with terrible events in her life that are brought on by a drunk man. Her story is also used to make sense of Jessica’s story. There are so many parallels that make you scream out to Jessica to leave her similarly toxic relationship. I think this is an important book for an examination of manipulative and outright cruel relationships.


              The narration of the book flips between Jessica’s present and Alice’s past. There are also some chapters that take place from Calvin’s (Jessica’s boyfriend) point of view. I didn’t like the dialogue exchange of Jessica and Alice mixed with Alice’s telling of her past. To me, it seemed like the dialogue took away the chance for the readers to sit with the story and react because Alice and Jessica were doing the reacting for us. Halfway through the novel, there are also chapters where Jessica reads Alice’s story rather than Alice telling the story which gets very confusing structurally. The reason is because Alice is in pain and nearing the end of her life, but I think there was too much going on.


              I give this book 3 stars because the story itself was interesting and easy to read, but the structure was not very consistent. I would highly suggest this book for anyone interested in chick lit, feminism, or books that delve into the past. 

Reviewed by

I have been a reader forever. I still hold the record for reading the most books in Grade 1, and I have maintained that momentum. Now, I have a degree in English Literature and share my passion as an English teacher. I also have a blog where I occasionally post book reviews.

Synopsis

Unspoken

A dramatic family saga. Unspoken is a tale of secrets, love, betrayal and revenge.

Unspoken means something that cannot be uttered aloud. Unspoken is the dark secret a woman must keep, for life.

Alice is fast approaching her one hundredth birthday and she is dying. Her strange, graphic dreams of ghostly figures trying to pull her into a tunnel of blinding light are becoming more and more vivid and terrifying. Alice knows she only has a short time left and is desperate to unburden herself of a dark secret, one she has lived with for eighty years.

Jessica, her great granddaughter, They share dreadful luck in the types of men that come into their lives.

Alice sends Jessica to the attic to retrieve a set of handwritten notebooks detailing her young life during the late 1930s. On her 18th birthday, she meets Frank, a man with a drink problem and a violent temper.
When Frank’s abusive behaviour steps up a level. Alice seeks solace in the arms of her smooth, ‘gangster lawyer’ Godfrey, and when Frank discovers the couple together, he vows to get his revenge.
Unspoken. A tale that binds two women, born eighty years apart.

Chapter 1


Jess


‘Darling, I’m home.’

Calvin’s cheery voice wafted across from the front door through the passage and into the open plan lounge/diner where Jessica Griffiths was just finishing washing up last night’s dinner plates. She heard the cupboard door in the passage slam shut as Calvin deposited his golf clubs. A few moments later he breezed into the lounge.

‘I made two over par today.’

‘Well done!’ said Jessica with more enthusiasm than she really felt. ‘You’ll hit that level par score before too long.’

Calvin almost purred.

‘That bloody Liam Watt put me off by coughing on the last tee or I might have made it today.’

A look of searing anger appeared across his face. ‘I’ll get my own back next time. Two can play at that game.’

He stood behind Jessica, put his arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck.

‘Perfume?’

‘It’s only a dab,’ said Jessica defensively.

‘What are the rules, my darling?’ Calvin’s voice dropped an octave.

Jessica held her breath.

The rules?

‘I don’t wear perfume unless we’re going out together,’ she replied.

‘That’s my girl.’ Calvin’s hands ran over Jessica’s stomach and up to her breasts. He kneaded them softly.

‘Come on, love, on the sofa, let’s have some fun.’

Jessica broke free and turned to face him.

‘I don’t have time for that, much as I’d like to. I have to go out.’

Calvin stared hard at her, his voice stern.

‘Out? Where is out?’

‘It’s Wednesday, Calvin. I always go to Nana’s on Wednesday. You know I do.’

His face softened.

‘Ah, of course, got to keep on the right side of the old gal eh? She can’t have that much time left and she’s worth a small fortune.’

He patted her on the backside. ‘Go and sow the seeds, my darling. We might get the flat bought for us and a bit to spare.’

Jessica said nothing. She picked up her cardigan and car keys and walked across the lounge.

‘See you in a couple of hours.’

‘Oh, Jess,’ he called.

‘Yes?’

‘Wash off the perfume before you go.’


Jess drove across town wiping her eyes every few minutes. The tears were a mixture of embarrassment and anger. Why did she allow herself to be treated like this? She was, in every other aspect of her life, a strong, intelligent, independent woman. When it came to Calvin however…

She loved him, he was handsome, he was clever, he possessed a quick wit, in fact that was the thing that had drawn her to him initially. Nowadays though, he saved it for friends, strangers and acquaintances, and used it less and less in her company.

He was a narcissist; she was almost certain of that. Everything was always about him. Nothing was ever his fault. Every misfortune he suffered, no matter how trivial (the golf story from this morning for instance), was a personal slight on him, his character, or, it was an underhand attempt to make him look stupid or to stop him succeeding in life.

Jess tried to drag her thoughts away from her own personal misery and settled them on Nana, Alice, her soon to be Centenarian Great Grandmother.

Alice was, to an outsider, grumpy, self-centred and aloof, but Jess knew a different side to her.

‘We are two peas in a pod,’ Alice told her frequently. ‘My mirror image, my Doppelganger.’

It was true. They were extremely alike, when you took into account the generation gap. Alice had shown Jess some old black and white photographs from the nineteen-forties when she was in her early 20s, pretty much the same age as Jess was now, and the likeness was remarkable.

Alice, at ninety-nine and eleven months, was as age-worn as she should be but that classic beauty still remained. The bone structure, the smile (when it reluctantly appeared) and the eyes, flashing with annoyance or lighting up with a joyous glint, that she was sure, her own eyes couldn’t match.

Nana lived in a two-hundred-year-old farm house that nestled snugly in an acre of overgrown land.

The farm had once covered a hundred acres but Nana had sold plots off over the years to builders, the council (for a football pitch), and some individual buyers who fancied a self-build.

All of this had brought in plenty of money but had also brought suburbia into what was once an expanse of greenery. Alice would have been condemned by the environmental lobby for enriching herself by such means and indeed, Jess herself would not have been happy with the result, but this was all history. Nana wouldn’t give a damn for the Green lobby anyway. She appeared, on the face of it at least, to be an old-fashioned woman, with outdated views. Not that they had ever discussed modern day concerns. Jess thought it might be time they did.

She left the main road that ran through the town, turned left down a narrower road with bungalows, the sports field and a few larger, modern family houses and pulled off the road onto an asphalt drive. She sat silently for a moment then gave herself a mental slap.

Come on, Jess, pull yourself together. Happy face for Nana.

She got out of the car, took in a deep breath, put on her best smile and headed for the front door.

About the author

T A Belshaw is from Nottingham. UK. He is the author of Tracy's Hot Mail, Tracy's Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out of Control. His new novel, the family saga, Unspoken, was released in July, 2020 He is the author of 15 children's books written under the name Trevor Forest. view profile

Published on July 24, 2020

130000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by

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