Cover Image: The Words We Whisper

The Words We Whisper

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Member Reviews

Wow! I couldn’t put this down. Really enjoyable.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
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Just wonderful!! This was definitely one of the best books I have read in a long long time. A tale of love, sacrifice, and loss. Zara is a hospice nurse who returns home to help her sister Gina care for their 98 year old grandmother, Nonna. Nonna insists Zara empty the attic to find a certain box. When she finally finds it, it contains a journal Nonna wants them to read. It details the lives of the narrator, Isabella, and Mia during the final days of the occupation of Rome by the Nazis. It's a sad but uplifting story with many deaths. The book alternates between the war and the present. Zara begins a tentative romance with Nicolas, the husband of Catherine, one of Zara's patients. All the characters are so fully described that they feel like friends. And the story grabs you and won't let go. I absolutely loved and highly recommend it!!
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Thankyou to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me a copy of The Words We Whisper. Unfortunately this was a dnf, it just wasnt for me.
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This wonderful book weaves stories from two different times - yet they intertwine in a very significant way.

Zara's present day story shows us the life of a Hospice nurse. Helping people accept the end of of their life.

Isabella's story of the past shows us a young woman's life living in a war torn Rome during WWII. Living on what she can while trying to help those that she can.

I can't do this book justice with describing it in my words. It's an amazing story of love, life, triumph and selflessness.

Loved it!
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A well written perfectly paced story pulling you in from the start.  A total surprise how the story ended but the mystery keeps you turning the pages to get to the end.  Zara was called back to help her sister take care of their grandmother.  There were plenty of characters and very easy to follow along.  I loved the story where it started out in 1943 and then went to the present time but you got parts of how life was like in 1943.
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This book was a heartbreaking read for me.  It moves between the past, Nazi occupied Italy, and present day Virginia, USA.  When I first read the ARC of this book several months ago I was not a fan of the setting in war torn Italy and I still am not but Mary Ellen Taylor is very adept at conveying the horror the people of Italy survived.  This is a well written story that also shines a much need light on what today’s hospice workers experience on a daily basis. This really hit home with me as I am a fulltime care giver for my elderly mom although we are not, thankfully, at the hospice stage.  As I re-read the book for this review I was struck anew at how accurately Ms Taylor portrayed daily live from a caregiver perspective. This story is also about second chances at love and how the past can greatly influence the present.  All in all a very relevant read.
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This is my second time reading one of this author's books, and I think that - while well written - they're just not for me. This feels like it's written for my mother or grandmother, and the pacing/storylines just don't mesh with me personally. It gets four stars for the quality of the writing, but I didn't particularly enjoy the experience.
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This may have been the first novel by Mary Ellen Taylor that I've read, but it certainly won't be my last.  I quickly became invested in both the current-day story and the flashbacks to World War II Italy.  It was interesting to read a different perspective of that time period from all the books I've read.  The author cleverly tied everyone's secrets together to lead to an unexpected and emotional reveal.  Be sure to keep a box of tissues close by!  Thanks to NetGalley and Montlake for the advance copy to read and review.
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No one does epic tales quite like Mary Ellen Taylor. Zara is the main narrator and when she comes across a journal, things begin to go back and forth between past and present. This one is an emotional rollercoaster that kept me in it's grip even after the final words Compelling characters and you can't help but become invested. It's hard to tell you about the things I loved without spoiling the story so I am just going to say it's one of the must reads of the year.
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If you ever wonder if what you do makes a difference to the world, THE WORDS WE WHISPER by Mary Ellen Taylor answers you with a resounding "yes!"  Parallel narratives trace the lives of two very different women, granddaughter Zara in the current day and her grandmother Nonna as she is now and as she was in 1943 war-torn Rome as Isabella, a good woman and exceptional dressmaker doing her best to survive bombings and unthinkable horrors and keep friends and loved ones safe. Both women are strong, independent-minded, creative, and loving which both attracts and repels them as Zara helps her grandmother sort through memories and unfinished business before she dies. Every character is  well-drawn and compelling -- down to the three dogs that Zara has taken in and made a family with in her work as a hospice/end-of-life caregiver.  The twists and turns are both expected and surprising, the echoes of the past resounding in the current day as people make impulsive decisions with life-changing consequences. Again, Taylor has written a gripping story with people you feel like you know in real life. A terrific escape to a different world and time.  I received a free, advance reviewer copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.
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The Words We Whisper is  moving story about family and secrets. Zara is a traveling hospice nurse. Able to aid families when the loss of a family member is imminent she's been distant from her sister, Gina, and grandmother, Nonna, and lives in her van with her dogs. But when she gets the call from her sister that her grandmother needs her she goes home where she becomes immersed in discovering secrets of the past. Nonna sets her on a treasure hunt, of sorts, to find a box of secrets that she is determined to share with Zara and Gina. Told in alternating POVs between the present and Italy during WWII Zara discovers the truth about her family and who she really is. Along the way she also reconnects with Gina and Nonna, rediscovers her family and opens her heart to the possibility of new love. 
I really enjoyed this latest by Mary Ellen Taylor...the story is beautifully told, compelling and emotional. Zara, Nonna, Gina and Nicolas are all real people that I would love to know. All the characters are well written and fully developed. The strength and bravery of the people of WWII Rome and Italy is inspiring. 
Thank you to the author and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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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.
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This is a lovely dual time line novel that moves fluidly between present day Richmond and 1943 Italy.  Zara's come home because her grandmother is dying and, at her grandmother's request, she starts sorting through stuff.  A diary opens up a world of things she did not know about her family.  Zara and her sister Gina have had a fraught relationship - and Gina' kept a secret for years.  While there's a romantic thread as well between Zara and the husband of a woman she nursed through her final days, it's almost a distraction from the more interesting plot line in Italy.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A very good read.
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The people came alive, they became people I knew. This brought so much home! Family, hospice, how the war affects individuals, all wrapped up with emotion and mystery.  This book switches between Isabella's point of view 1943 and Zara's point of view present day  You are invested in both. I truly cannot due justice to this book.   There is intrigue, emotion, mystery and most of all there truly is love.  Love and strength, perseverance in the darkest time, be it war, or watching a love one waste away.  I was swept away how Mary Ellen showed even with struggles this is not glum and doom. This is life, the past and the present.  This heart hurting and heart warming. There are moments of humor and I adore Zaras forth right. When I finished, I sat back with a sigh and thought of how people are affected with war, and how I lost my dad to cancer and what hospice truly is like and I know I want a Zara in my life, and her Nonna and her sister, Gina.  Because life is to be lived, and they did indeed live it well.   Thank you Mary Ellen for showing me your other genre, for pulling out all the feels, for the relatable and life loved,  I voluntarily share my thoughts and opinions and highly recommend this "The Words We Whisper" Be prepared to tear up, to smile, and to be in awe.
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This is a fascinating story. Ms. Taylor takes us back in time to war torn Rome during World War II telling the story of one of the modern-day characters who experienced all the horrors of the bombings and war. In the present this character finally tells the story of her life back then to her family. I got totally caught up in this story. It was a very compelling read rich in great characters and an intriguing storyline. I loved some of the parallels from both time frames such as a man asking a woman to dinner and the woman declining the first time. In both time frames the women eventually agree and that decision for each is life changing. Bravo author Mary Ellen Taylor for your telling of such a heartwarming and poignant story.

I received an ARC in exchange for a honest review.
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This was an epic tale of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, loss and new beginnings. The story’s main narrator was Zara Mitchell, a hospice nurse who loves dogs and who deals compassionately with those entering the last stage of life. When she returns home to Richmond, Virginia, because her grandmother Nonna is dying, Zara does not know what to expect. She is used to dealing with death, but not that of the family member who raised her. When Nonna insists that Zara clean out the attic and look for a particular treasure there, Zara pitches in quickly to the task, wanting to complete it before her Nonna dies. In the attic is a journal that tells the story of a young woman in Rome named Isabella, a courageous young woman who faced down the Nazis and did all she could to help the Resistance and those in danger to escape. The secrets of the attic drew me back to the book again and again. Yes, there was a love story involved, several of them, in fact. The time is from the past during WWII and to the present, with Zara having to cope with her own losses and inevitable changes that come with them. I cannot say enough good things about this book! It helped me to see the hardships of war more clearly and the sacrifices that the people in the land occupied by the Nazis had to make in order to continue to survive. The characters became real to me, like watching a movie on television and having the actors step out of the screen and talk to me as they related their life’s story. This is a book that I will long remember as more than a love story because it is a book that teaches the horrors of war and the triumph of love and compassion. 
Disclaimer
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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I received an ARC of this book in exchange for honest review. I really enjoyed this book and the way it flashed between present day and World War 2. There were enough plot twists to keep the book intriguing, but it was also straightforward enough to make it an easy summer read. There were parts of the book - descriptions of war and the things that occurred that were hard to read - but it was accurate to the time period it was written in.
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“Nothing ever ends as we would expect.”

The above quote summarizes the central theme running through this dual timeline historical fiction novel set in Rome 1943 and Richmond, Virginia present day. 

I must admit, when I started to read and discovered that the story centered around granddaughters finding a notebook in the attic, I almost put it down. I’ve read so very many books about the war where relatives go on an attic archaeology dig! However, I kept reading and I’m glad I did. This is more than a book about a grandmother’s secret life during the war. It’s about how two estranged sisters pull together to help care for their 97-year-old nonna and in the process end up supporting each other. If you love dogs, there’s a terrier lab mix named Gus, a chihuahua named Little Sister and a mut named Billy who have several appearances in the present-day plot.

The 1943 timeline features Isabella Mancuso and her role in helping the Jewish community after Mussolini’s disenfranchisement of these Italians.  If you love Italian couture, the main character in the 1943 plot is the most talented atelier in Rome and works from a couture shop on Via Veneto by the Spanish Steps! 

This wonderful book was a treasured read yesterday post-vaccination (fully vaxxed!) while I sat in the sunshine and tried to keep my mind off my sore arm! This will go down as one of my favourite reads from 2021. I thought it was a poignant read, as the present-day timeline features a theme we’re all facing as pandemic restrictions are lifted; the need to seize the day. The journal provides answers for the girls and reminds them to chose love, pass on regret and seize the day. 


Things I learned:
- Couture houses panicked and hurried to collect outstanding fees from Jewish clients in case they ‘disappeared’
- the Jewish community had to pay a ransom to the SS to spare future persecution
- People were often engaged and married on the same day because the war had just ended and after too many years of hardship, people were ready to get on with their lives

Quotes I loved:
“People are rarely as simple as they appear.”
“Choosing death is easy. Choosing life is far more dangerous.” 
“Don’t underestimate the ordinary.”
“Everyone thought they had all the time in the world, but, she realized, they were all passing through.”

Mary Burton, (Mary Ellen Taylor, pen name) has a storytelling gift. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of her - especially since this is her 50th book! Her strength is penning tales about loss and secrets and she seamlessly pulls together the timelines with a couple of twists you won’t see coming! 

This historical fiction highlighting the impact of the past on the present, along with complex family relationships, and a sense of belonging needs to be on your radar come July 20, 2021. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Mary Ellen Taylor, Montlake Publishing and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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This is an exceptionally well written book.  Zara Mitchell is a hospice nurse that travels around taking care of those in need.  She is called home to take care of her grandmother.  While she is home her grandmother wants her to clean out the attic because she is looking for a specific item.  On her grandmother's insistence she proceeds to clean it out.  While she is home she reconnects with a man from her past.  She has feelings for him, but is unsure if to pursue them because of his past.  Zara finds what her grandmother is looking for and proceeds to uncover a long buried secret.   As I read the book I found it difficult to describe the feelings I had for the characters.  Each one played an important role in the story and without them the story would not have been the same.  They are all strong individuals who did what they felt was right regardless of the pain they suffered.  She did an amazing job of bringing the characters to life.  I have read many books, but this book will be one that I will not be able to forget.  I know that it is one that I will pick up over and over again.  I have always been one that prefers stories that are written in the present.  The past and present collide in this story, but it only added to it.  Without it the story would not have been the same.  It is an unforgettable read and one that will have you feeling so many different emotions.
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I absolutely loved this book. 
The twisting tail of Nonna’s life in Rome during WW2 is realistic and thrilling while the modern day tale of family, love and loss is both heart warming and heart wrenching. 
I will definitely be recommending this book to my reading friends.
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