Troubador What's Left Unsaid

Released: 28/10/2018

ISBN: 9781789014921

eISBN: 9781789011845

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

What's Left Unsaid

by

Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.


Sasha’s mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there’s one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.

As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha’s fractious relationship.

Excited that my novel, What's Left Unsaid, has launched today. Thanks to everyone at Troubador.

Excited to be featured in a Q&A about my writing on Portable Magic http://portablemagic.net/blog-tours/archives/09-2018

Today I'm on the blog tour for What's Left Unsaid, and I am delighted to welcome author, Deborah Stone to Portable Magic. My Q&A is presented with thanks to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group for inviting me on the blog tour, and of course, to Deborah Stone for answering my questions.

Have you always wanted to write?
Yes. I have always read avidly, ever since I was small and I read English at university. It's always been my ambition to write a book. It's just taken me a while to get there!

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

I have been a marketing consultant for many years. I wouldn’t say it has helped me to write necessarily, but I have met many interesting people and it is a fairly creative job. I also founded a website, which is a portal for families caring for older relatives, which did inform my understanding and writing about dementia.

What was your inspiration for What's Left Unsaid?

It is a story which I have been ruminating on for a long time. My mother was evacuated during the war at the age of five. The woman who looked after her was very unpleasant and my mother did have a breakdown on her return. My father was a pharmacist and ARP warden during WW2. I do not know much more than that, but was fascinated to explore some of the psychological implications such experiences might have on families as they move through life.

How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?

I can't really describe how I construct my characters. I spent a long time thinking about them and they were pretty much fully formed in my head before I started to put them on the page. Inevitably, some traits from people I know may have crept in, but if they have, they are jumbled up between characters and certainly not reminiscent of any one person I know.

Thrilled to see my guest post on Better than Books https://whatsbetterthanbooks.com/guestpost-whats-left-unsaid-deborah-stone/

Why I Wrote What's Left Unsaid Now
I've always wanted to write a novel, but I've left it late-ish in life, partly because I was doing other things, like working and bringing up my children and partly because I just couldn't decide what I wanted to write about. Whilst I still work as a consultant, my boys are men now (well, most of the time!) and I decided that if I was ever going to write my novel, I had better get on with it.

The plus side of writing when you're that bit older is that you have more life experience to draw on and you've met more people, loved, lost, understood real happiness and profound sadness and heard a lot of stories. It took me a long time to get inspired and to develop the themes I wanted to explore, but slowly I realised that I wanted to investigate the impact of trauma on people as children and how it shapes their later behaviour as adults. Annie, the grandmother in my novel, is evacuated at the age of five and stays with a woman who mistreats her. On her return, she suffers a nervous breakdown. This actually happened to my mother. Although my own mother has never spoken to me about her trauma in detail, the image of such a small child away from her parents, frightened and utterly alone has always haunted me, especially once I had had my own children. I piled further trauma on Annie in the novel -which isn't grounded in truth - but helped me to explore why she might reject her own child later on and what other behavioural problems she might develop in order to manage her demons. In turn, this allowed me to move onto the next generation and explore the impact that Annie's behaviour has on her daughter, Sasha, who is forced to cope unsupported with many other trials of her own.

The Book Review

Portable Magic

Jan's Book Buzz

B for Bookreview

The Bookbag

Perfect book to take away this Summer. Believable characters and a story which pulls you through. Like the twist at the end. A clever plot and very readable.

by Gill Ford


This is a fascinating story about a family who bottle everything up. It takes the reader backwards and forwards between the characters past and present lives. I found that I really wanted to keep reading to work out the real relationships. A good book for book club discussions.

by Jonathan Martland


I just loved this book. It was both intriguing and thought provoking to see how the family relationships unfolded and I was really invested in reading about each one of the characters and following their individual stories. A must read for anyone who enjoys a beautifully written, well crafted read. I thoroughly recommend this book.

by Vanessa Millen


A captivating and thoroughly enjoyable novel. Stone weaves her intricate plot through the narrative command of the various characters, who prove both complex, yet simultaneously relatable to us as readers. The blurred lines between truth and deceit, between the then and the now, add to the mystery and drama of the story as it approaches its denouement. Recommended.

by Matthew Smith


I was captivated from the first page of ‘What’s Left Unsaid’. The author builds authentic, believable characters which I related to, and made me find this book very difficult to put down. It is a cleverly woven tale of intriguing family history, relationships and secrets - a great read and impressive first novel.

by Suzanne Friend


This novel was a genuine page turner. The fact that the story alternates between the father, mother and daughter was fascinating and you never quite knew what was real and what was either lies or confusion. The revelations, when they came, were tragic and emotional. I loved it and highly recommend it for a good read.

by Sinem kilinc


What a great read this is! I absolutely loved it.

The story is told by Sasha, her mother Annie and Joe, her father.

Sasha is having a difficult time of it: her husband has left her, and her son Zac is undergoing teenage angst; obstreperous and constantly angry. On top of that, her mother is suffering the beginnings of dementia.

Annie talks to Joe all the time and reminisces about her past. Evacuated to the country during the war, she suffered greatly in her temporary home and came back a broken little girl.

Grown into a beautiful young woman, she is swept away by Joe, a famous TV personality and Sasha is soon born, Unfortunately, Annie is a cold mother who has nothing good to say to and about Sasha, constantly belittling her. Obviously Sasha can't wait to leave home and attend university, eventually marrying Jeremy, giving birth to Zac and settling into a contented life, working from home.
But the past and its secrets rear their ugly heads and threaten to tear the family apart. Sasha is barely able to hold it together. If it wasn't for Sebastian, her beloved dog (loved him!) and her love for Zac she might have jumped into the abyss.

There were times I hated Annie, surprised that Sasha didn't just break contact with her. Zac wants his mum to be honest with him, is resentful and therefore lacks respect in his treatment of her, which was annoying at times. Jeremy has lived a lie all of the marriage, hurting Sasha deeply.

The gist of the book, to me, was that secrets and lies will eventually come into the light and the ripple effects can be devastating for everyone involved.

When all is revealed and dealt with, the ending of the story is bittersweet and full of hope.
This was such a wonderful story, I didn't want it to end and highly recommend it - I will definitely be looking for Deborah Stone's next book.

by Hannelore Cheney


This book has an interesting point of view on the depths of family dynamics. Is it easier to tell the truth to your loved ones no matter how horrid or easier to spare them? This is a story about a married couple and their daughter. It takes place once the father has passed away and the daughter is married with a teenage son of her own. Sasha is the daughter and one of the point of views, Joe is her father who has since passed and is also a POV and we have Annie the mother/grandmother POV. I actually enjoyed having Joes POV beyond the grave. It gave a nice twist and insight into family dynamic. This book is entertaining and fast paced. My only complaints would be sometimes with the jumping of POV and different moments in time it took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on. That and the format I read it on (ebook) made when a character was speaking out loud to another character or thinking something in their mind was confusing at times. All over a very nice story and an enjoyable read.

by Bethany Valentino


Sacha lives with her husband Jeremy and their son Zac along with their dog Stanley. Zac decides that they should make a film of their lives so that he will have something to look back on when they are no longer there. He also wants to involve Sacha’s mother Annie. The thing is that Annie is getting rather forgetful to say the least and as with many older people she can remember 50 years ago much better than a few moments previously. Dementia is unfortunately beginning to take its grasp on her When she is interviewed for the film her clarity is amazing and she relives her childhood and memories. Chapters alternate between Sacha, Joe (her deceased father) and Annie. Zac discovers a secret- one that Sacha has kept for a very long time. Everyone has their secrets and some have sadly shaped who they are today. I found this an engaging read and felt for Sacha even before the secrets part of the story. She appeared to have so much to cope with and no one to talk to, as well as being taken for granted by those around her. Much of the read is about the past- which is really interesting. Sacha’s father’s family coming over from Russia and there struggle of being Jewish. Her mother of being evacuated during the war and how it affected her most of her life. A story of families and secrets, of truths and lies.

by Goodreads review


Basically a story of a family, Sasha, her husband, Zac her son and her parents, Annie and Joe. The story unfolds over decades (from after the war to present day) and is told through the voices of Annie, Joe and Sasha but we witness events in the present day and look backwards. Through this means we uncover the secrets, and we watch Annie’s descent into dementia. Looking backwards we also witness her apathy towards Sasha which is unpleasant and uncomfortable. As Zac becomes more difficult to deal with we also witness Sasha’s reliance on the love and affection of her dog, Sebastian.

A clever plot beautifully structured to unveil the secrets and the whys and wherefores. If we could only banish secrets, for clearly they are destructive, corrosive – damaging. But where would our avid readers be without them? It is just so sad and really in the long run un-necessary.

Thank you Ms Stone for a very enjoyable, emotional book.

by Margaret Duke-Wyer


This is a book about the secrets families keep - for decades. You will want to keep on reading to find out about them, and will want to pause to reflect on the characters’ comments. I particularly enjoyed Joe’s insights, from his unique perspective, and the episodes set in WWII. The plot twists keep on coming, but at no time does the plot seem strained. Highly recommended.

by Eleanor M R


Sasha has a lot on her plate. Husband Jeremy is distant and absent and the marriage needs work. Son Zac is entering a rebellious adolescent phase and it's hard to know how to redirect him. Mother Annie, an alcoholic, is beginning the journey into dementia and has never been an easy person at the best of times. Thank heavens for her lovely dog, Sebastian, and his unconditional love. Zac decides he would like to make a film about the family, which should be a positive, affirming project. But, in the course of interviewing Annie for it, he stumbles across a long-kept family secret about the sibling he does not know. This secret propels Sasha back twenty years to a night she would rather forget, and Annie back decades further to a different but equally traumatic one.

What's Left Unsaid was an absorbing read. It's told in alternating first person perspectives by Sasha, Annie and Joe and takes us into a post-war past as well as an unfolding present. Joel's entries are short interjections and often really rather profound. Annie's memories are jumbled and confused but reveal so much about the ways in which events from childhood and youth have brought to bear on her adult life and especially her relationship with her daughter. Sasha's is a journey of discovery, really. I quickly became invested in all three characters and deeply curious to uncover the secrets being carried through the years that were clearly such burdens for all concerned.

The book is delicately written, handling some distressing events with great sensitivity and building tension well. Annie is a challenging woman and at times it is hard not to dislike her but, as the book goes on, you can see why she became as she is. The fog of her dementia is also handled well, with Stone showing rather than telling. It's sad. Sasha, I wished the best for, as she struggles to maintain a good relationship with her recalcitrant teenage son whose usual adolescent angst is compounded by resentment at discovering family secrets that had been kept from him.

What's Left Unsaid is a sympathetic but honest look at the ways in which our lives and our most precious personal relationships are as affected by what is not said as they are by what is said. Secrets are like pebbles in ponds: the ripples they leave are insistent and persistent and bear down upon us whether we like it or not. Deborah Stone's novel illuminates this truth and gives us pause for thought about our own lives and the things we ourselves are keeping hidden. It's written with honesty but also with compassion and understanding.

More like this, please! I'll be interested to read whatever Deborah Stone writes next.

by Jill Murphy Bookbag


I read it in a day and so enjoyed the characters - it was intimate and touching. Love, loss, motherhood and relationships with the companionship of Stanley the dog, every home should have one!

by Susan Kahn


An epic journey through family secrets that people have kept for so long that they themselves have almost turned into the ghosts in their closets.

It's like the unknown past has been shaping the younger generations as well, with or without their knowledge.

It's an engaging book that takes you far away from the couch you're sitting on while reading it.

Thank you Matador for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

by Julie Parks


LOVED this book!! I could not put it down from the first page to the last. Thanks a million for the advanced copy. I look forward to reading more books from this author.

by Tara Jill


This book switches from being told mainly from Sasha and her mother Annie’s viewpoints. Around half the book is spent describing the past lives of these characters and I found it to be a brilliant way of telling the story of these characters and describing how the past has shaped their present day lives.

We learn fairly early on that this family has some skeletons in the closet and each time we delve into the past not only are the characters background stories developed, but we begin to gather some more puzzle pieces into the mystery that is this family’s hidden secrets.

I found Sasha to be a great character, one that I think every woman can relate to on some level. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, her son is going through the awkward teenage years, and she has a distant husband who seems to spend more time working away than at home spending time with his family. Sasha seems to have no close friends to talk to and unburden her problems and I got a real sense of a woman suffering from isolation.

The best thing for me about this book is the characters without a doubt. They are all so relatable and developed in such a well written way throughout the book. With the undercurrent of wanting to find out what the big family secret is it really made for a compelling read. Highly recommend.

by LElliot


This book switches from being told mainly from Sasha and her mother Annie’s viewpoints. Around half the book is spent describing the past lives of these characters and I found it to be a brilliant way of telling the story of these characters and describing how the past has shaped their present day lives.

We learn fairly early on that this family has some skeletons in the closet and each time we delve into the past not only are the characters background stories developed, but we begin to gather some more puzzle pieces into the mystery that is this family’s hidden secrets.

I found Sasha to be a great character, one that I think every woman can relate to on some level. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, her son is going through the awkward teenage years, and she has a distant husband who seems to spend more time working away than at home spending time with his family. Sasha seems to have no close friends to talk to and unburden her problems and I got a real sense of a woman suffering from isolation.

The best thing for me about this book is the characters without a doubt. They are all so relatable and developed in such a well written way throughout the book. With the undercurrent of wanting to find out what the big family secret is it really made for a compelling read. Highly recommend.

by Laura Elliott


I have to be honest and say I started this book with a hint of trepidation. I worried that certain aspects of the story would hit too close to home, but I put my big girl panties (i.e. oxter warmers *snorts*) on and dived right in.

WLU tells of the difficult relationship between 40-something, Sasha, and that of her ailing mother, Annie. On paper Sasha seems to have it all - the house complete with dog (love Stanley), her own business, a loving husband, and a teenage son just about to make his way in the world. Only the foundations of her life aren’t as sturdy as they first appear and all it would take is one strong gust of wind for this house of cards to come crumbling down.

Told from three different POV: Sasha, her mother Annie and her late-father Joe. I felt the inclusion of Joe’s narration was genius as we try to decipher the truth from lies. I also like to think that our loved ones are watching over us after they’ve gone. Giving help and protection where they can - in the (my) hope we are never truly alone.

Secrets abound by both women and as Jean Racine said, “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.”

My advice before you start this story is slot out some time for yourself, because once you start it you won’t be able to put the book down till you know everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Also, if you’re like me, hide the biscuits (in my case coconut rings) - I was so intent on unravelling the story that the biscuits were disappearing at a rate of knots. I feel no shame. Well, maybe just a tad *pinches fingers*... oopsies!

For me, WLU was a compelling read. Difficult at times emotionally. You all know me by now - I do become a tad invested and let my emotions run away with me *smirks* Although I would dare anyone not to shed at least one tear whilst reading this story.

I am haunted by one line in particular from the book:

“We hurt those whom we love the most because we can.”

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should, I say *sighs* Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, eh?

Enough of that now as I’m running out of tissues...

But guess what? I learnt two new words in this book. They have been safely stored for future reference and use - you’ve been warned! *smirks*

Sheesh! I’ve been blethering on for ages. I better shut up now before you all nod off.

I’ll sum up by saying that WLU will make you think, and above all, make you feel. Just remember - we are each key to our own happiness.

by Laura


I have to be honest and say I started this book with a hint of trepidation. I worried that certain aspects of the story would hit too close to home, but I put my big girl panties (i.e. oxter warmers *snorts*) on and dived right in.

WLU tells of the difficult relationship between 40-something, Sasha, and that of her ailing mother, Annie. On paper Sasha seems to have it all - the house complete with dog (love Stanley), her own business, a loving husband, and a teenage son just about to make his way in the world. Only the foundations of her life aren’t as sturdy as they first appear and all it would take is one strong gust of wind for this house of cards to come crumbling down.

Told from three different POV: Sasha, her mother Annie and her late-father Joe. I felt the inclusion of Joe’s narration was genius as we try to decipher the truth from lies. I also like to think that our loved ones are watching over us after they’ve gone. Giving help and protection where they can - in the (my) hope we are never truly alone.

Secrets abound by both women and as Jean Racine said, “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.”

My advice before you start this story is slot out some time for yourself, because once you start it you won’t be able to put the book down till you know everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Also, if you’re like me, hide the biscuits (in my case coconut rings) - I was so intent on unravelling the story that the biscuits were disappearing at a rate of knots. I feel no shame. Well, maybe just a tad *pinches fingers*... oopsies!

For me, WLU was a compelling read. Difficult at times emotionally. You all know me by now - I do become a tad invested and let my emotions run away with me *smirks* Although I would dare anyone not to shed at least one tear whilst reading this story.

I am haunted by one line in particular from the book:

“We hurt those whom we love the most because we can.”

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should, I say *sighs* Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, eh?

Enough of that now as I’m running out of tissues...

But guess what? I learnt two new words in this book. They have been safely stored for future reference and use - you’ve been warned! *smirks*

Sheesh! I’ve been blethering on for ages. I better shut up now before you all nod off.

I’ll sum up by saying that WLU will make you think, and above all, make you feel. Just remember - we are each key to our own happiness.

by Laura Nelson


One day or another the truth will come out ...

When I saw this book I was afraid that I would not be able to read and review it on time, but when there is a will, there is a way and by shifting some things around, I could fit it into my schedule.

From the very first pages, I already gave myself a pat on the schoulder for adding it to my reading list, because I really, truely, totally loved it.

The book is divided in 3 big parts. The first one is told by Sasha and Annie and everything is glued together by Joe. It's about the present (Sasha) and Annie takes us for a walk down on memory lane. The second part is told from Joe's point of view and the third part has the same structure as the first one.

It absolutely is a beautiful story. It's fluently written and peppered with some little jokes, but the author also has included some situations that either made you grab a tissue or were testing the elasticity of your heartstrings. Of course, secrets being revealed always add some extra pizzazz.

If this does not give you an idea about my feelings, I think the rating says it all.

by Els Ebraert


When I saw this book I was afraid that I would not be able to read and review it on time, but when there is a will, there is a way and by shifting some things around, I could fit it into my schedule.

From the very first pages, I already gave myself a pat on the schoulder for adding it to my reading list, because I really, truely, totally loved it.

The book is divided in 3 big parts. The first one is told by Sasha and Annie and everything is glued together by Joe. It’s about the present (Sasha) and Annie takes us for a walk down on memory lane. The second part is told from Joe’s point of view and the third part has the same structure as the first one.

It absolutely is a beautiful story. It’s fluently written and peppered with some little jokes, but the author also has included some situations that either made you grab a tissue or were testing the elasticity of your heartstrings. Of course, secrets being revealed always add some extra pizzazz.

If this does not give you an idea about my feelings, I think the rating says it all.

Thank you, Deborah Stone, Matator books and Love Books Group

by Reviewer


What’s Left Unsaid is a complex, intimate look into the lives of Sasha, her husband Jeremy, teenage son Zac, ageing mom Annie … and in a very clever and interesting twist on the usual narrative, her late dad Joe!

I identified so closely with Sasha whose life is literally crumbling around her no matter how hard she tries to stop it. She tries so desperately to hold onto the wonderful ‘normality’ she imagined she had achieved after growing up in the glare of the media spotlight, but no matter how hard she grasps onto those last threads of the life she’s created, it slips through her fingers.

Zac has become a monosyllabic, surely, challenging teenager and Jeremy is absent more than he’s there, making himself less and less available to Sasha on whatever level she hopes to reach him on.

I found Annie just heartbreaking. Deborah Stone has created a character here who readers will want to enfold in a warm hug, while at the same time wanting to push her as far away as possible! The author’s sensitivity and empathy in dealing with both the sadness of Annie’s childhood, coupled with the confusion and fear of her current dementia is to be truly admired.

The interjection of the late Joe’s quick wit and his perception … albeit from beyond the grave … adds an extra dimension … and something to think about. Do you think our loved ones continue to interact with us once they’re gone? Are they out there somewhere watching us, guiding us, waiting for us?

Everyone makes daily decisions about what to share or not to share with others. What’s Left Unsaid may well leave readers questioning their own relationships and how they might do things differently in the future.

This gets 4 warm, bright stars from me! I highly recommend it.

by Jan


I seriously loved this book! Suspenseful, full of twists and turns, and just down right brilliant! Being told from the POV of three characters really was an interesting way to portray the novel, as opposed to just one main character. I believe the plot was very interesting and it kept my attention way more than I had initially thought it would. This was the first novel I have read by this author, but it will definitely will not be my last. Great storyline, will be recommending to my book lover friends.

by Taylor Gipson


What's Left Unsaid is a thrilling and Endearing story of secrets and lies, drama, dementia and family.

This is a very poignant read which draws you in and plays with your emotions.

The story is told in three parts and voiced by Joe ( Sasha's Father, voiced as a ghost), Sasha (The Daughter and Zacs Mum), and Annie ( Sasha's Mother who has Dementia)

Sasha might as well be a single parent for what help her hubby is. He is never home and when he is home he doesn't seem to contribute to anything.
Zac is a typical sassy teenager, he is grumpy, angry, don't communicate.
Sasha and Zac clash at every opportunity.
However Zac might have uncovered a family secret that Sasha would rather be kept a secret!
As it's about to blow her life into turmoil!

Thankfully the adorable pup Stanley, loyal and extremely loveable was there to always support Sasha. Any book that features a gorgeous fur Baby is a winner for me!

Annie has dementia, and likes a tipple of alcohol she isn't the most warmest of characters and her relationship with Sasha is very fraught. But I found her story heart breaking.
I recently lost my auntie on Christmas day to dementia and it's still very raw for me so reading about the dementia bought back many memories.

Joe was an interesting character, I enjoyed his observations from above. His accounts were insightful and at times emotional.

Straight away I was drawn into the plot, it started to unravel pretty quickly, but was packed full of drama and secrets.
The characters were endearing, well written and relatable.
The plot was absorbing, poignant and thought provoking and tugged on your emotions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this family saga and would definitely recommend reading this gripping book if you enjoy poignant reads full of drama and plenty of buried secrets waiting to be uncovered!


by Dash


I think that I had preconceptions about what this book was going to be like when I started reading it, and was actually pleasantly surprised. I normally go for the crime or thriller type, where the action unfolds in (almost) real time. This book is very different, as it switches between time periods for the same characters. It really gives the characters depth, and certainly gives a fresh perspective on those that you might not have liked initially.

Quite early on a major part of the plot is uncovered, but with very few details and many possible permutations which really keeps you guessing. I liked the way that the resolutions for the characters were not outlandish or unbelievable, and were actual real life situations that could happen to any of us. I’ll be honest and say that I found some parts of the book uncomfortable to read, but I’m glad that I kept going with it as it’s very well written.

by Gemma


4* An Absorbing Family Drama

What's Left Unsaid is a thrilling and Endearing story of secrets and lies, drama, dementia and family.

This is a very poignant read which draws you in and plays with your emotions.

The story is told in three parts and voiced by Joe ( Sasha's Father, voiced as a ghost), Sasha (The Daughter and Zacs Mum), and Annie ( Sasha's Mother who has Dementia)

Sasha might as well be a single parent for what help her hubby is. He is never home and when he is home he doesn't seem to contribute to anything.
Zac is a typical sassy teenager, he is grumpy, angry, don't communicate.
Sasha and Zac clash at every opportunity.
However Zac might have uncovered a family secret that Sasha would rather be kept a secret!
As it's about to blow her life into turmoil!

Thankfully the adorable pup Stanley, loyal and extremely loveable was there to always support Sasha. Any book that features a gorgeous fur Baby is a winner for me!

Annie has dementia, and likes a tipple of alcohol she isn't the most warmest of characters and her relationship with Sasha is very fraught. But I found her story heart breaking.
I recently lost my auntie on Christmas day to dementia and it's still very raw for me so reading about the dementia bought back many memories.

Joe was an interesting character, I enjoyed his observations from above. His accounts were insightful and at times emotional.

Straight away I was drawn into the plot, it started to unravel pretty quickly, but was packed full of drama and secrets.
The characters were endearing, well written and relatable.
The plot was absorbing, poignant and thought provoking and tugged on your emotions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this family saga and would definitely recommend reading this gripping book if you enjoy poignant reads full of drama and plenty of buried secrets waiting to be uncovered!


Thank you to Love Book Group Tours for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

by Dash Fan (via Netgalley)


3 generations of one family with many secrets. Full of suspense takes you on a journey which leads to many twists and turns. Each chapter of the book is taken from the view/story is told by one of the 3 characters.
Like I'm most families with secrets that are meant to be kept quiet they are bound to come out,
I will be honest j was unable to get into this straight away but once I got past my own brain block it did flow.
Thank you to Netgalley and Matador publishers for giving me tbs the opportunity to read this book

by Cennin Thomas (via Netgalley)


A beautifully written novel about family and their secrets. with well. Told in three parts by and spanning from past to present, it was very easy to get caught up with each person.
I laughed, I cried and totally enjoyed this story!
Well done

by Laurie Picillo (via Netgalley)


What’s Left Unsaid is a complex, intimate look into the lives of Sasha, her husband Jeremy, teenage son Zac, ageing mom Annie … and in a very clever and interesting twist on the usual narrative, her late dad Joe!

I identified so closely with Sasha whose life is literally crumbling around her no matter how hard she tries to stop it. She tries so desperately to hold onto the wonderful ‘normality’ she imagined she had achieved after growing up in the glare of the media spotlight, but no matter how hard she grasps onto those last threads of the life she’s created, it slips through her fingers.

Zac has become a monosyllabic, surely, challenging teenager and Jeremy is absent more than he’s there, making himself less and less available to Sasha on whatever level she hopes to reach him on.

I found Annie just heartbreaking. Deborah Stone has created a character here who readers will want to enfold in a warm hug, while at the same time wanting to push her as far away as possible! The author’s sensitivity and empathy in dealing with both the sadness of Annie’s childhood, coupled with the confusion and fear of her current dementia is to be truly admired.

The interjection of the late Joe’s quick wit and his perception … albeit from beyond the grave … adds an extra dimension … and something to think about. Do you think our loved ones continue to interact with us once they’re gone? Are they out there somewhere watching us, guiding us, waiting for us?

Everyone makes daily decisions about what to share or not to share with others. What’s Left Unsaid may well leave readers questioning their own relationships and how they might do things differently in the future.

by Janice L


Sasha's life implodes as secrets bubble to the surface and the fall out is devastating. The book is divided into three parts and told by Sasha, her mother Annie and her late father Joe. I loved Joes narration. We are taken back to the war years when Annie was evacuated to rural Wales, where we are told the events that took place that made Annie the way she is.

Annie is not a very likeable character, but when you get her backstory, you do feel a little empathy for her. This is a sad but also at times funny read. I liked Sasha, a character everyone can relate to. This is a lovely story that's well written. You just want to keep on reading to find out what the family secret is. This is a well written page turner.

by Louise Wilson


I really liked this book. It's written from three different perspectives. Joe who is the husband and father, and is actually deceased, Annie the wife and mother and their daughter Sasha. Everyone in this book is hiding a secret and this is the story of the unfolding of these secrets. I actually didn't like any of the characters in this book, except perhaps Joe who seemed to be a decent man. Certainly not Annie, even with her troubled childhood, and even although she is very much a victim, I just couldn't warm to her, even in her senility. Even Sasha, I didn't particularly like, nor her husband or her son. What a bunch of miserable people leading miserable lives! However, it's just the kind of character driven book that I very much enjoy. I curled up and read it in one sitting.

by Mary S


A thrilling, enjoyable and enduring story. Full of suspense, secrets and lies. Written in three parts it stimulates the reader's inner psyche-and plays on your emotions. A compelling read. Recommended.

by Wendy M Rhodes (via Netgalley)


Having never read Stone’s work before I went into this novel not quite knowing what to expect, but I ended up being rather pleasantly surprised by it.

Told from three perspectives, What's Left Unsaid is an engaging multi-generation family drama spanning decades, filled with secrets and resentments that reveal themselves in ways the reader wouldn’t necessarily expect.

The characters each have their own unique voices, but oddly enough I found Annie to the most fascinating despite being prickly and unlikable right from the start. As her story slowly unfolds, it becomes incredibly easy to empathise with her plight and understand her nature and motivations.

I found there was certainly a lot to relate to in this novel, past resentments simmering under the surface, the frustration and helplessness of caring for an elderly relative, finding yourself in the doghouse for no fathomable reason. Ultimately though, what I really enjoyed about this novel the most was its refusal to gaze nostalgically at the past through rose tinted glasses, choosing instead to show life for what back then warts and all. It was very refreshing to see in the current climate.

Will keep a look out for Stone’s other works on the back of this.

by Kat M


I love stories about family and this was an emotional journey for each of the members. For all their differences they had a lot in common and they each have secrets of their own. Everyone had a major event in their life that they had to overcome, yet they all found a way to face their past. There was bickering, grudges, a lack of forgiveness and a turbulent beginning, but then compassion led to understanding.

Deborah Stone's wonderful, warm writing made What's Left Unsaid an absolute joy to read. It's a special book filled with many precious moments, complex secrets and relationships. I loved the story from beginning to end. Her humor, engaging characters, and charming nostalgic setting was all there. This is a wonderful story full of bittersweet memories, sadness, happiness, laughter and definitely some tears. A heartwarming read that will keep you interested until the end and rooting for everyone in the family to find their happy ending.

What's Left Unsaid is a brilliant touching story about unconditional love and family, It's beautifully written with sensitivity and compassion.

by Shelley S


A great debut novel. which deals with many taboo subjects, such as #dementia and #alcoholism. Gripping and sad. Recommended.

by M Parker


Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone lives in North London with her husband, two sons and gorgeous dog.

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