Every Word Unsaid
by Kimberly Duffy
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Pub Date 02 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 02 Dec 2021
Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers
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.
Praise for Kimberly Duffy:
"Duffy shines in elegant, flowing prose and delicate precision that underscores the nineteenth-century setting."--BOOKLIST starred review
"An author to watch."--LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Duffy's writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative."--JOCELYN GREEN, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City
"Duffy [has a] capable pen and inimitable passion for portraying India."--RACHEL MCMILLAN, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 56 members
In EVERY WORD UNSAID, KIMBERLY DUFFY uses her incredible command of the English language to not only describe the surroundings, but also the emotions and complexities of human nature. It is a beautiful book with an amazing story and unforgettable characters. There is also a strong Christian message woven into it, especially that of overcoming fear and rejection. It is a book that really needs to be savoured to get the most enjoyment out of it.
Augusta (Gussie) Travers’ enthusiasm for life, and wanting to live it to the full, her daring travels in order to get stories and photographs for her column in the Ladies’ Weekly as the Adventuress, cause her family, who have never taken the time to understand her, to reject her. In fact the only people who really love her for herself are her Uncle James, a former Pinkerton agent, and her childhood friends, Catherine and Gabriel (Specs).
When the identity of the Adventuress is discovered, the scandal is too much for her family and they send her to stay with her aunt in Chicago until she falls into line with their expectations. She chooses rather to take up her editor’s offer to go to India for six months and write about her travels there, managing to escape her indomitable Uncle James, who follows her there.
I really like the way that Bimla, who also suffers from rejection by her family, relates to Gussie, and they form a strong bond. I like to see their refusal to be defined by what others say about them. One of my favourite quotations from the book, and there are many, is, “ We aren’t responsible for where we have come from.Only where we go. ”
As we follow Gussie’s journey we see how the people she meets, the change in her relationship with Specs, Catherine and Uncle James, the horrors of the bubonic plague, the abject poverty, together with the beauty that shines through in spite of everything, lead to her wanting to do something worthwhile with her story writing and photographic gifts.
I will leave the story here, as I do not want to spoil the read for you.
This is a novel that I will definitely read again. I cannot recommend Every Word Unsaid highly enough.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
Much to the chagrin of Gussie's parents, she is traveling all over the country writing under a nom de plume for a women's magazine. Her parents and all other NY society elite are scandalized by this when her identity comes out. Instead of going into seclusion at her Aunt's in Chicago at the behest of her parents, she takes off on a new adventure -- to India. India is where Gussie's childhood friends, Specs and Catherine live. Specs was her childhood sweetheart. He now goes by his given name of Gabriel instead of the fond nickname Gussie gave him and he is a doctor doing missionary work.
This is a sweet tale of women's rights and women's hearts and minds. So much love and so much forgiveness! And a few hardheads.
I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This is a new author for me, but I will definitely read anything else she writes. Her writing is phenomenal and evokes India (from a colonist's point of view, yes) with exquisite precision. Gussie is a woman ahead of her time, determined to be independent and self-sufficient. She writes for a woman's magazine (anonymously) and when her identity is revealed, she decides to travel to India instead of going into seclusion. Her two childhood friends work as missionaries and when she sees her childhood sweetheart again - sparks fly, opinions and beliefs are challenged, and lives are irrevocably changed. I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read it! I will read it again and again!
There is something familiar in Kimberly Duffy's writings that take the readers to exotic places without ever leaving their homes. With the protagonist's travels, Kimberly once again takes her readers to India in the late 1800s to a time under British rule, unspeakable poverty, desperate conditions, and astounding beauty.
Augusta "Gussie" Travers escapes her family's climb into social status by writing for Ladies Weekly magazine as "Miss Adventuress." She travels throughout the United States, taking photographs and writing articles that allow her readers to escape the drudgery of daily life. Her writing is light-hearted and witty, and her photographs are breath-taking illustrations of her travels. When her identity is leaked on the morning of her sister's wedding, she is denigrated and renounced by her family. Her parents decide to exile her to her aunt's in Chicago, where she might learn some of the finer societal manners, and where she won't be able to harm their social status by her outrageous behavior. Her boss at Ladies Weekly offers to send her to India for a more exotic trip than she's been on before.
As Gussie is leaving for Chicago in the company of her uncle--once a Pinkerton agent--she ditches the train she's on and heads to Boston to catch a ship to England and then India. While in India she meets up with her childhood friends Specs and Catherine. And while in India, she finds that she has come home. She has found the place where she is accepted for who she is, where she is valued for her thoughts and ideas, where she is treated with respect and honor--all things that have been missing from her family's treatment and opinions of her. She also finds love. It's a topsy-turvy road to romance for Gussie (and dare I say it, a rather formulaic road to romance).
I am not sure where Kimberly came up with the title for Every Word Unsaid, because there were not many words left unsaid by the time the book is finished. Gussie and Specs hashed, rehashed, and sometimes over-hashed their words with each other. But this book is one that was surprisingly compelling. There are events that bring out anger, compassion, excitement, betrayal, understanding, and several other emotions. It will cause readers like me to lose sleep because they just can't put it down, but it's worth every minute. I looked back to see that I have read all of Kimberly's books and they are all just as enjoyable as this one.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a ride on an elephant to fulfill a bucket list item.
Bethany House and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Really loved this book! Gussie was such an interesting character. Way before her time in wanting to be a journalist and working towards women's rights. I loved the way she followed her own path, not what others expected of her. Though sometimes hard to allow yourself to be open to different dreams, as we grow emotionally, she was ready to explore her options.
Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read the ARC. I will be recommending this story to others.
Gussie is an adventure. I love the side of her that is Miss Adventuress and I love the side of her that discovers the rest of her. I love Specks and Catherine and of course Uncle James. I feel for Gussie in her family. In books I often see the misunderstood girl who doesn't quite fit, but she is very much still loved which is the important factor. Based on her impressions, that is not what I get from her family, which adds a different dynamic to this story.
I love the author's imagery of India. The writing was beautiful even if the plague was not. The native characters brought perspective and understanding to an outsider. It was truly like I was there with them.
While there is an element of love, I hesitate to say romance, but there is definitely a good build on the relationship, this story is mostly about Gussie finding who she is and what she wants to become. There is the element of faith and growth in that. I can't say enough about how I loved this story.
The beauty of this story is timeless and I loved every minute.
I was given an early copy through the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest review.
Every Word Unsaid
by Kimberly Duffy
Pub Date 02 Nov 2021 |
Bethany House, Bethany House Publishers
Christian | Historical Fiction | Romance
I am reviewing a copy of Every Word Unsaid through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley:
For the past three years Augusta Travers has been avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family's constant disappointment. As the nations most fearless Anne reviled columnist. Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But after her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.
When arriving in India Catherine only expects a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. What she comes to find instead is that 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.
I give Every Word Unsaid five out of five stars!
I was expecting Gussie to be more of a hardened journalist, but instead she is a delightful, fun-loving, soft-hearted adventurer. She could stand to be less impulsive and thoughtless, but I loved her right from the start. I loved that "proving herself in a man's world" wasn't even on the table. She is great at her job and doesn't doubt it (though, to be fair, her family hates it). Now, when it comes to pushing herself to write where she is feeling led to write (as opposed to what she was hired write), there the doubts assail her, and every word that people have spoken against her come back to haunt her.
Words . . . they can build us up or tear us down, both the words spoken and the words withheld. Gussie has grown up with constant iterations of what she does wrong and rarely an affirmation for what she does right, or even affirmations she deserves simply for being a beloved daughter and sister. It's no wonder she is constantly running away to see the world when she feels so unloved at home.
No one in the book is perfect (except maybe her uncle--I loved him and the way he's constantly following and keeping an eye on Gussie while still allowing her her freedom); her friends are fighting fear, feelings of worthlessness, the desire to control. Sure, sometimes they feed off each other, but most of the time they are able to encourage each other, uphold each other, and speak truth into each other's lives.
Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for the complimentary e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
It is amazing, heart wrenching and breath taking.
This is a new to me author and I didn't know what to expect just that she goes to India.
Augusta, aka Gussie (I had a hard time with that nickname everytime) wishes to travel and leave society expectations that she remain a lady in a parlor. Her parent's hurtful words punish and haunt her no matter where she goes so she keeps running to new destinations. She writes for a woman's newspaper and writes of her travels.
"While other girls yearned for princess castles and knights in shining armor, Gussie only wanted to explore the beaches of Cyrus, ride an elephant through India's forests, and climb dunes in Morocco" (location 231)
The author of Miss Adventuress is revealed and Gussie's reputation is questioned, her parents disgusted by her actions and send her to live with an aunt. Only Gussie flew to India instead to pursue more traveling and writing for her work.
Duffy is a talented author and has such a way with words, there was beauty entwined throughout this story that dealt with harsh realities with Indian caste system, the plague and finding yourself. There are so many quotes that I highlighted throughout, Gussie's growth is perfect, she takes two steps forwards and one step back. Her friends and new friends love and accept her for who she is and see her value, even when Gussie can't.
"We aren't responsible for where we have come from. Only where we go" (2278)
Gabriel, aka Specs (and I hated that she continued to call him that even when he said he never liked it as a kid) is a swoony doctor that I imagine as Gregory Peck.
"I just ask that you stay out of trouble this morning."
"Honestly, you act as though I'm incapable of having a perfectly ordinary day." He snorted, and she glared at him, but he only held up his teacup in a toast. "I've never known you to have an ordinary day." (location 1292)
This is definitely a historical fiction/women's fiction with a sub plot of romance, but the romance wasn't the main story. It was about Gussie seeing more to life, caring for others and wanting to make a difference in the world - more than writing her column. Duffy did an excellent job portraying the ugly side of life with illness, treatment of disease and the fear. I'm not familiar enough with India to know how accurate it was but the parallels that can be found with our current pandemic was astounding. With everything, do it with kindness and grace because we don't know the pain and suffering we can't see or even begin to understand the pain we can see.
"Dear reader, I assumed I would capture lovely vistas and interesting faces. It would be the making of my career, you see. But in the end, it turned out to be the making of me." (loc 5004)
Thank you to the publisher, Bethany House and Net Galley, for an e-arc copy. These are my own thoughts and opinions. This is a beautifully written story of finding one's self, love and trust, casting off fear and serving others.
Content: grief, mention of abuse, death, miscarriage
First Initial Thoughts
The story starts with Gussie traveling in South Dakota capturing the real life of the Wild West. A place a proper woman should not be. Gussie writes for a magazine under an assumed name - Ms. Adventures. The column does really well and Gussie has been writing for the magazine for some time. However, her family disapproves. Coming from a wealthy family they believe that if people find out that she is Ms. Adventures, her reputation will ruin. However, Gussie wants adventure. She feels suffocated at home and wants nothing of high society.
When the public finds out who is behind Ms. Adventures - her family is outraged. However, her editor Lillian thinks this is a great opportunity for her to travel abroad to an exotic location- India. Two of her friends - Catherine and Gabriel live there as doctor missionaries. She is soon set on a boat to travel to India to write and photograph all about her journey and travels.
Set in the late 19th century in India when the UK (Britain) occupied the country. A time of turmoil, rampant diseases, and inhumane actions. Despite the political surroundings, India was a new world to many. It was exotic and beautiful. India has been on my top list to visit and this book just made me want to go even more. I would love to see more novels set in India!
When Gussie arrives her friend Gabriel doesn’t want her to stay. There has been an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Yes, the plague apparently still existed around that time! Apparently, it actually did happen in 1897 and millions lost their life. Crazy! However, Gussie is determined to stay and do the job she was paid for. At times Gussie I found a little too much. She was so determined to get away from her family and live a life of adventure. And because of that, she sometimes got herself in trouble. I could also see her side of it though. Sometimes we get caught up in the fantasy of it all, that we forget what really truly matters.
I think the title of the book means a lot to the art of journalism and photography. While Gussie was able to capture the hearts of her readers with her writing, no one will truly understand her experiences. As a photographer, I try to capture images that tell a story. While you may get a sense of what was going on in the picture, it’s hard to really feel a place or setting without really being there. Gussie’s experiences were felt throughout the novel and I think that is what Kimberly was trying to do - and she accomplished it!
Ramabai, a major character in the novel was a real person. She was a women's rights & education activist, a pioneer in the education and emancipation of women in India, and a social reformer (Wikipedia). It was hard to read about how woman were treated in India during this era. And not just woman, but also how the people who contracted the plague were treated in the hospitals.
While, the story overall was pretty long I found it to be an amazing story about one’s experience in India during a tumertous time.
Kimberly Duffy has a true gift for storytelling! Her beautiful prose draws you into the story from the very first page and makes you fall in love with the characters by the end of the first chapter. And her ability to develop characters throughout the novel is truly a remarkable talent. I loved Gussie. She has gumption, courage, and tenacity, and she’s willing to stand up for what she believes is right, almost to a fault. I also love how she changes and grows in the story as she faces new obstacles and fears. Additionally, Kimberly Duffy once again transports us to exotic India, with vivid descriptions that cause you to be lost in the sights, smells, and sounds of both the beauty and tragedy of this beautiful country. I have never traveled to India, but I almost feel like I have a better understanding of its culture just from reading her novels! My favorite part of this story, however, is the expert way the author weaves deep spiritual truths into the novel that have you, as the reader, pausing to reflect on your own spiritual journey as you realize your true worth comes not from others but from our great God. This book is everything that is fantastic and wonderful and I cannot recommend it enough. An absolutely incredible read!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from an Austen Prose tour with Laurel Ann Nattress. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
It took me longer than is usual for me to read this book because it is meant to be savored. Mostly set in India, as are Duffy's two previous books, readers are immersed not only in the country's exotic beauty, delicious smells, and savory cuisine, but also in the poverty and disease. During the late 19th century, Gussie Travers travels to India to escape her family's expectations and censure. Driven by the echos of their voices, she sets out to prove her worth, only to discover that she is more valued and has a deeper purpose in life than even she could have imagined.
Duffy is a master of character development. It is unlikely that readers will be unable to find a character in this book within whom they could closely relate. They may even relate to more than one on different levels.
I do usually enjoy epilogues, discovering what happened down the road so to speak. In this case, I wish I had stopped reading with the final chapter and skipped over the epilogue as the writing of it felt out of sync with the body of the story. This however did not keep me from giving this book five stars.
I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy of Every Word Unsaid from Bethany House via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Prepare to be moved deeply by Duffy’s newest book, Every Word Unsaid. What I thought was going to be a standard historical fiction was a gripping tale that captured my heart. Gussie is a free spirit and just wants to find freedom from the stuffiness her current life provides. She travels and enjoys freedoms as a writer for a woman’s column, but she is still tethered to decorum and societal expectations. When a scandal erupts, she gladly sails away to India, determined that this will be the answer to her problems. I loved her experiences and descriptions when she first arrives. I love the rekindling of all old friendships, the beauty of new ones and the heart lessons she learns along the way. I laughed out loud at the chase between Gussie and her uncle. I savored the moments when Specks became more to her than an old friend. I grieved at the losses brought on by the plague. All in all, my heart was fully engaged this book and I gladly recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.
Augusta Travers has escaped the strictures of New York high society and the condemnation of her family by repeatedly running away from home. And every time, her family sends her Uncle James, a retired Pinkerton agent out to find her.
Gussie doesn’t really run away, she simply ignores her family’s wishes and travels all over the United States photographing the wonders and writing a column for Ladies Weekly under the pseudonym of Miss Adventuress. She even takes along a companion to maintain propriety. Although she has no qualms about ditching her companion when Gussie can no longer stomach her wet-blanket attitude.
After all, it’s 1897 and women have proven themselves perfectly capable. They don’t need protection from a man to board a train, mount a horse, or sail to parts unknown. When someone reveals Gussie’s identity to New York society on the day of her sister’s wedding, her parents insist she removes herself to Chicago and lives in seclusion until the furor dies down. If she can find a suitable husband while in exile, even better.
Gussie would rather die. She takes off for India, instead. When she arrives in Poona, she surprises her childhood friends, Catherine, and her twin brother, Specs. Only Specs has morphed from a shorter-than-Gussie gangly teen into a taller-than-Gussie-and-very-handsome physician.
As Gussie struggles with her changing feelings for Specs, she embraces the city and country that fill her with a sense of belonging. Something she hasn’t felt in her own home or city since her parents’ change in social status.
Why I Loved this Book
Duffy paints word pictures as lush and exotic as an Indian sari. Historical fiction lovers will love the attention to detail. Romance lovers will love Gussie’s discovery of her new feelings towards a childhood friend. Those interested in social justice will find a new hero in Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati. But most importantly, every child of God who has ever felt the sting of disapproval, unkind words, and misplaced expectations will find healing in Gussie’s story.
If you could only buy one book this month, choose this one.
"Every Word Unsaid" is a Christian romance set in 1897 mostly in India. When Augusta's family became rich, she longed for the life they had before, when she was valued rather than a failure at the required social graces. She rebelled by periodically running off to see the world and writing about her adventures for a lady's magazine. Yet her family's hurtful words still follow her, making her feel worthless and like she'll never belong. When she visits her childhood friends in India, though, she realizes that some people do value her. Still, she struggled to believe their healing words over the hurtful ones.
Her childhood best friend, Gabriel, is now a handsome man. He still supports her and builds her up. He loves her even though he struggles with the fear of losing his loved ones like he did his parents. He knows Augusta's impulsiveness and love of adventure, though, so he doesn't let himself hope she'll stay.
This is a story about how past hurts shape our futures if we listen to the lies and hurtful words. How we find our worth in God, not in how others view us. The main characters were complex, reacted realistically to events, and I cared about what happened to them. There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and enjoyable historical.
Every Word Unsaid is a lovely story about Augusta, or "Gussie" who takes pictures and writes stories for a women's magazine. She travels all over the U.S. and writes of her adventures as "Miss Adventuress" Soon, the opportunity to go to India comes up, which excites her, because her two best friends from her childhood live there. Her family is very critical of everything she does, so she prepares to go to India without telling anyone. Her beloved uncle, of course, follows her as he has always done, which surprises her at how fast he finds her. But he is the only family member that shows her affection and understanding of why she is always traveling. When she meets up with her friends in India, she doesn't recognize Gabriel at first, whom she has always nicknamed "Specs" because of his glasses. He and his twin sister, Catherine, are happy to see her, except there is a pandemic of bubonic plague going on in their part of India. She soon learns that there is so much more to life than what she has written, so she writes her own book of her travels that is unlike her series in the magazine. She also notices how grown up and handsome her old friend Specs has become. A very clean and wonderful story I will enjoy reading again and again.
Kimberly Duffy’s admiration for India shines in Every Word Unsaid. Although Gussie’s journey starts in America, circumstances bring her to India, an exotic setting brought to life by Duffy’s stunning descriptions. An example: “America, with its youthful zeal and brazen thirst, whispered a sonnet to Gussie’s heart. But India sang, her voice a thunderous roar, to the percussion of drums. It reached inside her and wrestled with the accusations that had chased her across the ocean.” Beautiful prose.
Every Word Unsaid follows Gussie’s path to maturity. A life of monetary privilege coupled with youthful ignorance and family dysfunction leads Gussie to reckless decisions. Some readers may not appreciate the duration of her immaturity, but as the story progresses, Gussie comes into her own. Her time in India begets insight into her passions and gifts, an awareness of injustice, and a true understanding of the power of words. The latter stands as my favorite theme in this novel. Gussie’s wrestling with words spoken over her is a relatable struggle for many, including myself. I loved seeing her overcome the disparaging words by choosing to believe the truth.
While Every Word Unsaid briefly mentions Nora and Owen from A Mosaic of Wings, this novel is a stand-alone and might be my favorite story by Kimberly Duffy. Every Word Unsaid will appeal to readers who enjoy inspirational historical fiction with character development, serious themes, and a friends-to-lovers romance. 4.5 Stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Augusta Travers is a risk taker, with a heart that is full of compassion, and we travel in her shoes, from the US to India, and you will never know where you will end up!
Gussie loves life and people, and especially her childhood friends, Specs, aka Gabriel, and Catherine, and ends up finding them, after many years, in India.
This story is filled with family, joy, compassion, and love! Yes, love for friends and for those less fortunate, going beyond words with action, and in Gussies case pictures.
This is a story that is filled with emotions, and whether you agree with what is going on, and I'm sure you will have an opinion, I sure did, we travel along, and in the end, didn't want the story to end. I did love the epilogue.
Be sure to read the author's notes!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
If you like historical romance, this is the book for you! An independent woman, who's a writer, causes a good bit of scandal. Lots of romance, in fact, too much for my taste, so if you like that, you'll love this story. Partly set in the U.S., and partly in India.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance e-book! All opinions are entirely my own.
Kimberly Duffy paints beautiful pictures with her words. She is adept at describing the sights and sounds of India and other parts of the world and bringing them alive for the reader. It was wonderful to again visit India and get to know the people, delights, and also the problems confronting India in the late 1890s. The characters in the book are colorful and interesting. Gussie is independent, courageous, strong-willed and wants to leave her mark on the world. Most of the time I admired her spunk and drive, although I felt she sometimes went a little overboard in her actions. Gabriel is an interesting and likeable hero as he helps Gussie see her self-worth. I recommend this book to those who enjoy seeing the world through reading stories. Duffy has written another absorbing tale, and I’m looking forward to what she has in store next.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Gussie is an adventurer. She loves to go and explore new places. Her passion for adventure translates into the written word as light and fun-loving. She writes for a woman's column in the late nineteenth century under the pen name of Miss Adventuress. The railroad takes her from place to place as she runs from her family and the disappointment that she finds each time she is found.
Every Word Unsaid takes the reader from the US Great Plains to India. With each stop in her travels, Gussie begins to understand more about herself, her life, and her family. The book didn't shine for me until she reaches India and is reunited with childhood friends.
In India, Gussie finally realizes what it means to belong. She sees real suffering and neglect during a Bubonic Plague. The people of India are dying and not left with dignity in their passing. At the same time, she sees resilience and some pretty amazing people. It is India where she "finds" herself and understands courage and friendship. She also finds her voice and her passions.
I really enjoyed this story. Kimberly Duffy showcased India in a very positive light. I could picture the places Gussie visited and the people she met. Her friends, Specs and Catherine, show her the culture and beauty of the country. It sounds amazing.
There is romance in the book too. Gussie has always considered Specs to be like a brother. The grown-up Specs is not the gangly boy she remembered and she realizes that there is a lot more to the man. She remembers his care and compassion from their time as children. They have a few volatile moments and they navigate their relationship as adults.
I loved the book. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I'm grateful that I read this book.
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Augusta (Gussie) Travers is a photographer who writes columns anonymously for a ladies' magazine. Gussie's unwillingness to conform to her family's and society's rules has resulted in a scandal that only banishment from New York can avert.
James Travers, her uncle and ex-Pinkerton detective, understands Gussie's restlessness, for she has inherited his love of excitement and adventure. They play a strange game that involves James pursuing Gussie wherever her latest escapade takes her to ensure her safety and eventually restore her to her family. While being escorted to her aunt's home by James, Gussie escapes to India, the home of her childhood friends, Gabriel and his sister, Catherine.
India provides more of the excitement that Gussie craves and awakens a need to write more meaningful articles inspired by her reaction to the injustices and beauty of this colourful and exotic land and its people. She also faces a personal dilemma when her feelings for Gabriel become more than childhood affection.
In Every Word Unsaid Kimberly Duffy evokes the sights, smells and sounds of a vibrant India, and writes informatively of the beliefs, laws and traditions of Indian society. In particular, she draws our attention to the sad plight of widows, such as Bimla, who likens herself to Gussie as they are both perceived as worthless by their families and their respective societies.
Gussie was a character I didn't warm to at first. Her actions suggested she was a courageous young lady and a rebel, which indeed she was for the time in which the story was set, but rather than support this aspect of her character, they highlighted her selfishness and immaturity. However, as the story progressed, I enjoyed how Gussie reassessed her life, evaluated her feelings for Gabriel, and aided by a betrayal, found self-worth and a new direction for her career. I admired that she was willing to compromise without sacrificing too much of her personality and dreams.
The Indian setting is what drew me to this novel. Reading it proved to be an engaging and heart-warming experience and I'm happy to recommend this book to others.
Oh, Gussie! I felt her restless spirit as she tried to escape the uncomfortable situation at home. Though I understood her dilemma, she had much growing up to do. What better way to mature than finding herself amid a plague in India? I love how author Kimberly Duffy's culture and the tragic circumstances during the breakout. I learned a few details, which like Gussie, it made me more aware of the world around me.
Also, once Gabriel comes into the picture, prepare to swoon! Best kissing scenes in my recent reads. ;)
I'm glad Gabriel has his own fears and that they both figured out where they belong, embracing their differences, and accepting themselves as God created them.
This book not only has a gorgeous cover, it has a story contained within its pages that is just as lovely, if not more, than the outside.
I love Kimberly Duffy's words throughout this book. Her writing style is just perfect.
Gussie is a fabulous heroine, I really loved her. She does not like her family's expectations they've placed on her. Behaving as a respectable young lady, and doing what she can to make a good match. Her job of choice is traveling the country as Miss Adventuress. Then, when she finds herself in the midst of a scandal, she sails across the world to India, where two of her childhood best friends reside.
Gussie loves India, it's cultures and it's rich colors. I loved seeing the country through her eyes, and India really came alive for me as never before.
It also is about the bubonic plague. Sadly, some of this felt all too relatable. It's quite intriguing to me to read about plagues we've had in the past, and see similarities and differences to what our world is experiencing today.
Overall, I found this to be an intriguing historical fiction. I loved it, and look forward to reading more books by this author.
Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote that “not all those who wander are lost.” That is certainly true for some; for others, they have convinced themselves they are on a mission, all the while searching for a true purpose. It is this concept, as well as the topic of another of Tolkien’s classic lines— “Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens”—that is explored in Kimberly Duffy’s latest historical fiction novel, Every Word Unsaid.
In the America of the late 1890s, Augusta Travers is on a mission to prove to herself, her family, and society’s naysayers that a woman can be an adventurer. “Nothing brought [her] more joy than slipping away.” (Loc 37) With her Kodak camera, she travels around the country, documenting her escapades with photographs and whimsical depictions in the popular column she writes anonymously for a ladies’ magazine. Her readers “expected greater things from Gussie than her own family, who only wanted her to marry well.” (Loc 209) Her elite, social-climbing New York family not only disapproves of her and her work, but also fears the scandal they may be embroiled in by association if her identity is ever revealed and her reputation ruined. She spends all of her time escaping her family’s suffocating condemnation. “Life at home… It stifles me. I feel as though I’m drowning in the tedium of it. I can’t breathe there. Exploring and writing and taking photographs makes me feel alive.” (Loc 326)
When the feared scandal eventually occurs, Gussie once again sees an opportunity to flee the oppressive expectations of her status as a young woman in a wealthy family. This time, though, she journeys to India, where her steadfast childhood friends now reside. And it is unlike anything she has ever experienced or expected. “America, with its youthful zeal and brazen thirst, whispered a sonnet to Gussie’s heart. But India sang, her voice a thunderous roar, to the percussion of drums.” (Loc 1058)
The colorful chaos of India’s welcoming embrace encourages Gussie to hope for a more meaningful life. But as her eyes are opened to the cruel injustices beyond her camera lense, will she choose to shine a light on the shadows or slip away from the suffering?
This was a beautifully written tale. And I usually admire flawed characters; relatable flaws lend authenticity to stories. However, I could not quite overcome my aversion to this heroine. Her family situation simply did not convincingly explain her spoiled behavior throughout the story. The way Gussie treated even the people who loved and admired her most was distastefully immature. I expected her to eventually evolve through her experiences, and to a certain extent, she did. Yet even after witnessing real adversity—like plague and famine and the violent plight of truly oppressed women—she just could not seem to dismiss her self-centered focus. She was not cold-hearted by any means, and she was certainly affected by what she witnessed, but that was ultimately the issue—she was absorbed by how it all affected her. This is the first time in a long time that I did not want the hero to fall for the heroine.
There are so many other wonderful elements woven into the fabric of this tale that redeemed it for me. The fascinating secondary characters had a depth and heart to them that made me wish to know more about them. The book’s stunning and intriguing cover art merely hints at the loveliness of the lyrical prose behind it. The descriptions of both beauty and agony are visceral and hypnotic.
Readers will appreciate the delicate essence of shared experiences that transcend both time and borders in Every Word Unsaid.
4 out of 5 Stars
Every Word Unsaid is the newest release by Kimberly Duffy, and I’m very happy to say we get to see more of India! This beautiful country played a big part in her previous books, and I’m really happy it was featured in this book again, in a very new, original way.
But first things first. We have a very feisty woman named Gussie who knows what she wants in life: to have adventures and travel the world and write about them, and to make photographs. However, she feels very unsupported by her family, who only see her as a potential scandal waiting to happen, and really want her to settle down and marry rich. Her uncle, aka my favorite character, is a former Pinkerton detective and follows her on her journeys, while she tries to throw him off her trail. However, she can’t manage to shake off that inevitable scandal, and if forced to live with relatives. So of course she secretly goes to India! Paid by her editor at the newspaper for whom she writes lively columns. However, India has a way to change your heart, and she might discover another side of herself, and when see meets her childhood friends, one of whom has grown into quite the handsome man, she might lose her heart, right in the middle of a pandemic.
I love how this story is mostly about self discovery. Gussie starts out as, let’s be honest, a very selfish character who makes instant decisions without thinking them through. It was really hard to like her, as I wanted to shake some sense into her! This made the start of the novel hard, but the adventures she had were enough to make up for it. And I understand where it comes from, she feels abandoned by her family, and is adrift, but it is still hard to read as she is so much in denial! However in India things get better as she learns from other women about her worth and how she has been blessed with gifts and an open heart. I really loved those conversations! Gabriel helps her too, but supporting her work. And I loved the theme about how words can have such an impact too! The title was well chosen. We got to see a lot of India, how the harmful political decisions impacted the Indian population, and how widows and orphans were treated. It gave the story more depth! Of course the beauty is also not ignored! The themes were close to my heart and I think they were truly well done, not preachy but honest.
And now about the romance, which we’re all waiting for, right? Gabriel is awesome in the beginning, a nerdy intelligent doctor and childhood friend, so it doesn’t get much better in my opinion for a start. And I absolutely loved him, they seemed perfect together! But near the end some things happened that made me dislike him a little bit, their relationship is very, very bumpy. I mean, it’s not really put me off from reading and I still loved it very much, but there were some decisions he made I really couldn’t understand. But the ending was very nice, and I do love the story and everything that happened! This book is about so much more than romance, there are multiple female friendships and side plots, way too much to mention in this already too long review.
All in all, I loved this original story - and I secretly hope uncle gets a sequel!
I got an e-arc from Netgalley, but it hasn’t influenced my opinions.
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