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.

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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


Sasha seems to be a normal middle aged woman leading a pretty standard life, but Stone opens the box to explore the complexities, the anger and the hurt hidden in the contradictions within her relationship with her mother. At the same time she observes Sasha’s struggle with the developing emotional intellect of her teenage son. Both relationships are fuelled by the toxic power of secrets which unravel as the novel progresses. Alongside is the revelation of the true meaning of her own marriage, and her need to take into her own hands her ability to be happy. Joe, her father, speaks sense and comfort from the grave, and gives the story a gravitas and depth. A page turner of a first novel. Highly recommended.

by Bill A


Secrets always comes out. Sooner, later, painfully or less painfully, but they come out. Family secrets... that's like a special category and someone always gets hurt.
Okay... this book was... something. In a good way.
It was not an easy read. Beginning was slow for me, but at the same time, I couldn't just put it down and not read till end.
I just now finished reading this so this will be kinda short, because I need more time to collect my thoughts. But I just wanted to say, that this definitely is book worth reading. It's well written, characters are not just cardboard figures, but feels real and they are interesting. You don't have to love them all and that's okay.
This book has twists, turns, secrets and maybe some little surprises too. It has three POV's and that's why it doesn't get boring too.
As I said - this book is well written, interesting and I know that I will definitely keep in mind the name of the author and read her other works. She knows how to write a good book with characters who are not all the same and plot which is not over the top soap opera.
I'm happy that I chose to read this book. If you like serious books where main focus is family and everything that comes with it - check this one out.

by Norelle L


I found this to be an engaging and complex tale. What’s Left Unsaid tells the story of one family of three generations where secrets are buried deep. I liked the way the story is told from different perspectives – grandpa Joe, grandma Annie, mother Sasha and her teenage son Zac.

It is a compelling read where all three generations stories are well told and very relatable. Family secrets can be devastating and once they are uncovered there is no way to put them back in the box – lives change and this story shows how keeping secrets can be as difficult as it is to talk about them.

by Momo


There are some books that grab you from the first page, even the first paragraph. What’s Left Unsaid did just that for me:

“If Annie had just been honest with me, we might have avoided much of the ugliness which followed… but she wasn’t and we didn’t…”

How could I resist? I didn’t! It helped when I realised the story is told in one of my favourite formats; it’s written from different points of view under the name of three characters: the protagonist, Sasha, her mother Annie and her late father, Joe. I especially liked Joe’s objective viewpoint that balanced out the subjective viewpoints of the other two characters as they describe the complex and difficult relationship between them. Even so, the question hovering throughout the text is what is truth and what is lies. It’s a cleverly written narrative and I loved the writing style of Deborah Stone; she moves from character to character, slipping easily into their voices, alternately moving the reader to understand each with empathy, yet being able to see the flaws in them as well.

The plot is tense and tightly woven, moving at different paces to reveal the secrets held for years held by this family. There are many themes: family secrets and deceptions, emotional power struggles between characters, dementia, miscommunications, understandings and forgiveness. All delicately intertwined throughout the text.

I always think that, when we reach a certain age we are formed by the things that we have done, what has happened to us, how we have been treated and how we have treated others. In What’s Left Unsaid the flashbacks to Annie’s earlier life reveal her vanity, her prejudices of others and her jealousy of her own daughter. As a reader I was torn between disliking much of what she was and yet having compassion for what she has become; a woman in the throes of dementia. The flashbacks of Joe’s earlier life show his Jewish family’s struggles to move from a totalitarian Russia at the end of the nineteenth century to the North of England where they face fascism and suffer poverty that they fight to escape, much as they have escaped from an oppressive regime.

The characters are many layered. The protagonist, Sasha is living in a loveless marriage and cannot understand either her husband, Jeremy, who has a secret of his own or her son, Zac, typically a monosyllabic, hormonal teenager. She has no closeness with her mother yet is forced to be deeply involved in her life. The author cleverly and subtly reveals the tensions hidden in Sasha, much as she does in all the major characters. Her internal dialogue initially shows her timidity, her nervousness, in the way she approaches her family. Yet there is also exasperation and even anger. And this comes out more and more as the story progresses.

Joe’s words, spoken from beyond the grave, are wise and, as I said earlier, objective. I felt they gave a distanced reflective view on human nature as a whole. Yet, through the dialogue and thoughts of the other characters, his personality in life is exposed to have had had the same flaws and weaknesses as their own.

Even without the story being allocated to each character the reader is left in no doubt who is speaking; each have their own distinctive voice.

The narrative describing the settings give a good sense of place and provide an interesting background to the story.

What’s Left Unsaid is a complex and poignant read. Thought provoking and absorbing it left me reflecting on the complexities of marriage and families. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy well-written family sagas

by Judith Barrow


Secrets always comes out. Sooner, later, painfully or less painfully, but they come out. Family secrets... that's like a special category and someone always gets hurt.

Okay... this book was... something. In a good way.

It was not an easy read. Beginning was slow for me, but at the same time, i couldn't just put it down and not read till end.

I just now finished reading this so this will be kinda short, because i need more time to collect my thoughts. But i just wanted to say, that this definitely is book worth reading. It's well written, characters are not just cardboard figures, but feels real and they are interesting. You don't have to love them all and that's okay.

This book has twists, turns, secrets and maybe some little surprises too. It has three POV's and that's why it doesn't get boring too.

As i said - this book is well written, interesting and i know that i will definitely keep in mind the name of the author and read her other works. She knows how to write a good book with characters who are not all the same and plot which is not over the top soap opera.

I'm happy that I chose to read this book. If you like serious books where main focus is family and everything that comes with it - check this one out.

by Norelle Lee


I found this to be an engaging and complex tale. What’s Left Unsaid tells the story of one family of three generations where secrets are buried deep.

I liked the way the story is told from different perspectives – grandpa Joe, grandma Annie, mother Sasha and her teenage son Zac.

It is a compelling read where all three generations stories are well told and very relatable. Family secrets can be devastating and once they are uncovered there is no way to put them back in the box – lives change and this story shows how keeping secrets can be as difficult as it is to talk about them.

by Maureen Moyes


When I start reading “what’s left unsaid,” the dialogue between characters got my attention. It was excellent, normal, and with not too many overwhelming words or unneeded details. Also, it was reasonable. The way the dialogue crafted will make your reading entertaining and easy to digest the “what’s left unsaid” details.In part one, the story gave me a brief about each character and how their relationships are. Which as I found will provide you with a bright idea, and the first impression for each character and their personality, when you advance with your reading. The relationship between Zac and his grandma shows the hidden feeling indirectly how the grandma missed her husband without saying a word about it. The scene building was beautiful, it was simple and has some detail just enough for the reader to understand precisely what is happening when and where. There is no focus on the environment which sometimes I felt the picture in my imagination was missing some details. I found it is the only drawback in “what’s left unsaid.” The story is not a fantasy fiction, so I think it not necessary, and the dialogue and the plot is more important than the environment around them.
The author used many different words and the language used as I said before was simple and realistic. The What’s left unsaid novel is well edited. In general, the plot was realistic with not so much complications which will bother your peace while reading. A simple story with simple language and practical and straightforward. Made it a relaxed reading experience.

by Karrar


What’s Left Unsaid is an apt title for this intense novel about the things people hide or lie about in order to just keep going in life. Sasha is a mother of teenage Zak, facing his teen attitude uneasily and worriedly as he shuts her out on a daily basis. Her upbringing was without love from her mother, Anna, who is slipping quickly into dementia. Anna slips in her memories to Zak, opening a can of worms that Sasha has avoided. The truths that are revealed are devastating but somehow bring Sasha and Zak to a better understanding of each other and of the past.

by Paula Pugh


This is a book narrated by three family members: Sasha (adult daughter), Joe and Annie (parents). The daughter Sasha has always felt nothing but love from her Dad Joe who has been deceased for fifteen years. Her relationship with Mom Annie is another matter entirely. It's as if she felt threatened by her daughter's fond relationship with her father. Annie also has a drinking problem. Sasha is married to Jeremy and they have a teenage son Zac. Zac has been a bit difficult to communicate with as of late. And it doesn't help that husband Jeremy is off on business trips much of the time while Sasha works in advertising from home. However, Zac recently came up with an idea to have a sort of documentary made of his family, and a young woman has been coming to his house as well has his grandmother's to film it.

As Annie is being interviewed, the reader is suddenly transported back to the war in England. At this time, children were being transported by train to the country for safety where they were cared for by other families. Annie's story of her experience at the hands of the woman who took her in during this time was simply riveting. The world could have gone away and I actually wished that the whole book could have proceeded onward from this perspective. The later part of Annie's life was quite interesting as well, where she worked in a clothing business as a model for buyers that came to purchase dresses.

Joe was much older than Annie when they married. His family was Jewish and ran a successful tailor shop. However, Joe managed to crack the entertainment industry and had his own show on the BBC. As a child, Sasha was used to the creme de la creme of society coming to their home for dinner parties. Although now deceased, Joe still narrates his point of view on the family history, and these are usually brief but very profound and honest musings.

Through these three alternating perspectives, the story unfolds of a family with hidden secrets and tragedies. I very much enjoyed the writing style of the story unfurling through the three narrators. It created a more personal connection with the reader of the complex nature of a family.

by Joanne M


‘Just because you cannot say I love you does not mean that you do not love.’

British author Deborah Stone offers no biographical information from which we may understand the depth of her artistry. WHAT’S LEFT UNSAID is simply one of the most impressive novels about family and secrets and relationships and, yes, personal histories we all share that has surfaced this year. Her prose is eloquent, her manner of delivery of a multicharacter story in conversational pages for individual characters is a very sensitive technique for creating a drama as though we the readers are personally attuned to the varying stances of each character.

The provided synopsis shares the plot well – ‘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.’

Yet it is most important to view a sample of a character page to appreciated the style of this drama. Deborah opens with ‘Joe’ – the father of Sasha and husband of Annie – ‘If Annie had just been honest with me, we might have avoided much of the ugliness which followed…but she wasn’t and we didn’t. I sometimes wonder if I should blame myself. After all, throughout my life, I prided myself on being a great reader of souls. Yet it appears that I missed all the signs. Or did I simply choose the path of least resistance? I have so much time on my hands now to contemplate my possible past motivations; a task which I recognise is ultimately futile. The truth is that I accepted what the fates threw at me. Annie and I created a set of armour plating to hide behind as we forged through our lives, colliding with others in our path, damaging them.’ Then we meet Sasha – ‘I heard a strange scratching sound as I reached the top of the stairs leading to my attic office. I glanced around before taking another step, but I could see nothing in the hallway. I edged towards the door, floorboards creaking underneath my feet, my heart picking up speed. Walking slowly towards my desk, I saw one of my files lying open, weighted down with a pair of scissors. I picked them up and glancing around, I crept over to the window and rattled it. It was tightly shut. ‘Boo!’ I jumped, dropping the scissors to the floor. The tea I was holding leapt in a perfect arc into my handbag. ‘ Zac! You frightened the life out of me. What are you doing hiding behind the door?’ I grabbed a wad of tissues from the box on the filing cabinet and swabbed my phone, pressing the home button to check it was still functioning. ‘I didn’t realise you’d be back so early today.’ ‘I just thought I’d surprise you,’ Zac answered. ‘I had an unexpected free period.’ His face looked slightly flushed and he was still wearing his football kit, his long legs caked in dried mud. There were streaks of dirt on his cheeks and neck, as though he had made a poor attempt at army camouflage. ‘You almost gave me a bloody heart attack, you idiot! What are you doing up here anyway?’ ‘I was just looking for some sticky tape to fix the cover on my book.’ ‘You’ve got some on your desk in your bedroom. If you tidied up a bit, you might even find it. But before you do that, can you go and shower? You’re dropping mud all over my floor. How many times have I asked you to take your filthy kit off before walking dirt all over the house?’ ‘Christ, you’re in a bad mood. Hello to you too.’ Zac lurched towards the doorway. He was so tall now that he needed to duck slightly as he crossed over the threshold. He hurdled down the stairs two at a time, flecks of soil bouncing off him as he went. I could feel a headache wrestling to emerge from between my temples…’

Brilliant writing and an entrancing journey into the life of a family fractured. Highly Recommended.

by Grady Harp


What's Left Unsaid is a tragic tale of loss and regret told from three vantage points. After a slowburning start, what begins as a story of a woman facing the inevitable struggles of late middle age life, unravels into a study of the unsettling power and repercussions of keeping secrets. Casting its narrative arc across three generations, the revelations relating to these secrets and their motivations are well-timed and executed with dexterity. I must admit, I wished that more had been made of the impact of Sasha's secret, but this is only a minor quibble. This is an accessible novel that poses some profound questions about the nature of human relationships and the long-lasting imprints that singular decisions can have on our lives. Congrats

by R D Stevens


This is a book narrated by three family members: Sasha (adult daughter), Joe and Annie (parents). The daughter Sasha has always felt nothing but love from her Dad Joe who has been deceased for fifteen years. Her relationship with Mom Annie is another matter entirely. It's as if she felt threatened by her daughter's fond relationship with her father. Annie also has a drinking problem. Sasha is married to Jeremy and they have a teenage son Zac. Zac has been a bit difficult to communicate with as of late. And it doesn't help that husband Jeremy is off on business trips much of the time while Sasha works in advertising from home. However, Zac recently came up with an idea to have a sort of documentary made of his family, and a young woman has been coming to his house as well has his grandmother's to film it.

As Annie is being interviewed, the reader is suddenly transported back to the war in England. At this time, children were being transported by train to the country for safety where they were cared for by other families. Annie's story of her experience at the hands of the woman who took her in during this time was simply riveting. The world could have gone away and I actually wished that the whole book could have proceeded onward from this perspective. The later part of Annie's life was quite interesting as well, where she worked in a clothing business as a model for buyers that came to purchase dresses.

Joe was much older than Annie when they married. His family was Jewish and ran a successful tailor shop. However, Joe managed to crack the entertainment industry and had his own show on the BBC. As a child, Sasha was used to the creme de la creme of society coming to their home for dinner parties. Although now deceased, Joe still narrates his point of view on the family history, and these are usually brief but very profound and honest musings.

Through these three alternating perspectives, the story unfolds of a family with hidden secrets and tragedies. I very much enjoyed the writing style of the story unfurling through the three narrators. It created a more personal connection with the reader of the complex nature of a family.

by Joanne Manuel


What's Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award.

"This story engaged me from the first page."

by Pauline


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,

by Cencen


Secrets can be very dangerous, and secrets within a family can often do untold damage when they finally come out., as this book eloquently reveals.
Sasha is struggling, her mother is getting older, and has issues with alcohol, her teenage son is moody and belligerent and her husband is distant and disconnected. When her mother Annie accidentally reveals a family secret to teenage Zac, he begins to try to find out the truth, which in turn leads to big questions for his parents. As the story unfolds , it becomes clear that there are layers of hidden truths and tragedies woven into the family history, dating back to the second world war.
A powerful and emotional family drama with a strong central character, and a well developed plot, this was a pleasure to read , and kept me engaged and entertained from beginning to end. The pacing was spot on , and the ending packed a real emotional punch.

by Annette Jordan


I devoured this book in a day.
What's Left Unsaid is told by three points of view of, Sasha (Daughter), Annie (Mother) and Joe (Father). It skips from present to past and tells the story of how Annie and Joe coped during the war, how they came to meet, become married and have their daughter Sasha.
Secrets are unearthed, loves are lost and lives are changed.

by Adele


A beautifully written novel about family and their secrets.. Told in three parts 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


This book was a sheer pleasure to read and an absorbing page-turner to the very end. I savored the deft storytelling by the author who takes us on a poignant and emotionally-charged journey by narrating the story through three unique perspectives. The reader is taken deeper and deeper back in time to London during World War II where the complexities of an intriguing family saga begin to slowly unfold. Traumatic childhood and early adult life events of the protagonists are kept as dark, hidden secrets that prove to have devastating and lasting consequences for generations to come.

A compelling unraveling of the past with a completely unexpected twist at the end.

Another must read novel of the #MeToo era.

by Iga


Sasha is married to Jeremy and they have a teenage son Zac. Sasha believes she has the typical "normal" marriage and family life, dealing with a husband who goes away for work much of the time, a teenage son who doesn’t know the meaning of the word Co-operation! The only one who seems to take any notice of her is Stanley, the dog.

Sasha’s Dad, Joe, died a few years previously, but tells part of the story in this book, which I felt was a really good touch and made a change!

Annie is Sasha’s Mum and Joe’s wife, who is sadly in the final stages of her life, but having spent much of it a heavy drinker, is paying the price and unfortunately this is affecting her memory as well.

When Zac comes home from school one day and confronts his mother about his feelings that he isn’t an only child, Sasha’s head starts to spin from this shock announcement. Where on earth did he get this information from and even more importantly, is it true?...

Zac isn’t convinced by his mother’s answer to his question and decides to get a film made where his family are interviewed about their lives. This idea goes down like a lead balloon but Zac is adamant he wants to find out about his family history. Surely this can only lead to skeletons coming well and truly out of the closet!

I really enjoyed this book and what I loved was the way the chapters involved Sasha’s Dad who had died, but still told some of the story. Very cleverly thought out.

A great mix of characters and when a character gets under your skin for all the wrong reasons, I do believe that is the work of a great writer! I found Sasha to be a bit weak at first, but she certainly came back fighting after events could have made her turn in a completely different direction!

I would certainly read work from this author again and would again like to thank her for asking me to review for her.

by Julie Boon


This story drew you right in from the very beginning! The intrinsic detail the reader gets from every narrator not only sets the pace and scene of the book, but also helps the reader connect with each character. We get to understand the reasonings and quirks of the characters - in particular Annie and Sasha because of this and their backgrounds. This is one of the main actions on what moves the story along.

I found a couple of spelling errors and missing words, but it didn’t deter me from the story. I absolutely loved how realistic this story is, almost made me question whether this autobiographical as the themes that were portrayed were very spot on in an eccentric, dysfunctional family unit. I know I can indeed spot a few similarities here...

Great decision to pick this up and read, and I’m glad I did! Thank you for giving me the chance to read it, I have already recommended this book to a few friends and family members.

by Hannah Rae


It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel! The writing style is superb; the flow and pace are excellent. Together with an intriguing story, it was hard to put down. I am impressed with the way the author was able to portray difficult feelings and emotions. I felt empathy for all of the characters, particularly Annie; her childhood trauma was heartbreaking—well written. The layout of the story by alternating perspectives was very good. I will admit, I was a bit skeptical when I realized this technique was being used, since it often doesn’t work. But Ms.Stone pulled it off very effectively and it added clarity; I liked how an event was repeated but from another viewpoint. The difficulties of dementia are also portrayed very well; perhaps Ms Stone has some experience with the elderly.

The pace quickens as the story develops and pulls one further into this family drama. Unfortunatley, I felt that the conclusion could have been brought together in a more compelling manner. It was ambiguous, confusing, and not in keeping with the great momentum of the preceding chapters, but each reader needs to decide on their own.

Other than that, kudos to Ms.Stone - a very good read! I look forward to her next book.

by Julie Dexter


You can tell as soon as you begin reading this book that you’re going to enjoy it. The opening works so well and is a real attention grabber. And the rest of the novel doesn’t disappoint.
Sasha is a lovely character. As a woman approaching a rather important birthday, I love female characters I can relate to, and I can’t bear it when a woman approaching middle age is portrayed as supremely confident, and with a body that makes men gasp! It isn’t realistic and it’s annoying. Sasha drinks wine and eats whole packets of biscuits when she’s fed up – far more relatable, far more real, without falling into stereotype.
The three points of view here work exceptionally well. There’s no ‘head-hopping’ and the differing viewpoints really work in enabling you to sympathise with characters that you might otherwise absolutely despise – Annie, for example. When we hear about her from Sasha, all our sympathy is with Sasha, but when we learn about Annie’s past, we see why she is like she is, and while we still feel so much for Sasha, we can feel for Annie too.
The author really shows these different characters so well – she has a firm understanding of human nature and relationships. Her characters are real, and fully developed.
And Sasha has a lovely dog too, who is very much a part of the story – always a plus for me! This is a lovely book, and thoroughly enjoyable to read. I’ll definitely look out for more from this author.

by Alison Williams


Secrets can be very dangerous, and secrets within a family can often do untold damage when they finally come out., as this book eloquently reveals.

Sasha is struggling, her mother is getting older, and has issues with alcohol, her teenage son is moody and belligerent and her husband is distant and disconnected. When her mother Annie accidentally reveals a family secret to teenage Zac, he begins to try to find out the truth, which in turn leads to big questions for his parents. As the story unfolds , it becomes clear that there are layers of hidden truths and tragedies woven into the family history, dating back to the second world war.

A powerful and emotional family drama with a strong central character, and a well developed plot, this was a pleasure to read , and kept me engaged and entertained from beginning to end. The pacing was spot on , and the ending packed a real emotional punch.

by Annette Jordan


I devoured this book in a day.

What's Left Unsaid is told by three points of view of, Sasha (Daughter), Annie (Mother) and Joe (Father). It skips from present to past and tells the story of how Annie and Joe coped during the war, how they came to meet, become married and have their daughter Sasha.

Secrets are unearthed, loves are lost and lives are changed.

Great book.

by Adele Shea


When Sasha’s teenage son, Zac, uncovers an old photograph that could lead to the unveiling of a devastating family secret, Sasha quickly finds her entire life collapsing around her. In a story split between several different perspectives—including that of Sasha’s deceased father—Deborah Stone weaves the tale of three generations worth of secrets and broken relationships that could ultimately culminate in the end of life as Sasha knows it.

WHAT’S LEFT UNSAID has several different narrators, but its plot is primarily centered around an unresolved animosity between Sasha and her aging mother, Annie—a conflict that is pulled to the surface when Sasha’s son hires a videographer to make a family documentary. Sasha formerly worked in the advertising field, but has since settled down with a husband, a son, and a freelance writing career that lets her work from home. She’s controlling, uptight, and unhappy in her lackluster marriage. Her characterization is a little heavy-handed at the beginning of the novel—she crosses the line between intriguingly flawed and irritating—but as her marriage begins to fail, the emotional anguish that comes with her middle-age slump makes her easy for readers to empathize with.

Sasha’s mother, Annie, is a harsh woman. She’s always critical of Annie and her family. Annie’s health is declining and she often can’t tell the difference between her memories and the present. She is plagued by unresolved issues in her past, issues that have caused bitterness between her and Sasha. Her experiences during World War II and throughout her husband’s rise to television fame add an extra sense of dimension and depth to the core conflict of WHAT’S LEFT UNSAID.

As more of Sasha’s and Annie’s secrets are revealed, the emotional stakes of WHAT’S LEFT UNSAID get higher. By the end of the novel, readers are bound to be deeply invested in the rift between Sasha and Annie, the pain that both women have suffered, and the possibility of their reconciliation.

Deborah Stone’s use of multiple perspectives binds together a narrative that is filled with relatably flawed characters and emotional turmoil that will keep the reader engaged all the way through to the novel’s cynical, yet hopeful, ending.

by Stephen Hren


I like Sasha's narrative voice - convincing, likeable, human. The dialogue is good too, and love the way Stone shows parenting a teenager though, very apt - 'alternative universe' made me chuckle!. I liked the spare use of physical description, and using only that which allows for a heartfelt delve into her state of mind and her life. Nicely done. I'd read more from this author, a sign that she's done a good job!

by Emma Finn


This is a brilliant, emotional, poignant family read. I laughed, I cried and I learnt along the way. Once I picked up the book, I was unable to put it down, the tension kept me reading and the alternating POV held my interest. The relationships and characters were both incredibly genuine. Highly recommend.

by Polar


An intense and intriguing read. I loved the three family member character narration and the setting was unique and I really liked the perspective. A great read that I read in two sittings.

by Kate R


This is an interesting tale of family dynamics and long held secrets with some very unlikeable characters. Told in different time-lines by different characters it held my interest throughout. I had no sympathy for the grandmother Annie until reading of her life in Wales as an evacuee in the war.

by Mary T


This was an interesting book and kept me hooked from start to finish. I have never really enjoyed books that has different points of view, but it did work well with 'What's Left Unsaid'. I am not going to write what the story is about, as i prefer one to read for themselves. Recommended.

by Jeannette R


When Sasha’s son, accidentally hears a disturbing slip of the tongue from his dementia ridden grandmother, he embarks on a fact finding mission through the guise of stating he wants to create a family video diary as a ‘momento’ for later years. The whole family uncover more than the lies they thought they had hidden in the cupboard. We can’t and often don’t always know the truth or extent of someones circumstances, nor do we all see the same life experiences similarly. We are entitled to our privacy, our secrets but what is left unsaid can cause heartache and confusion. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive! I was hooked very quickly and I do like the ‘different perspective’ format when telling a story, especially going back in time.

by Hazel Butterfield


An intense and intriguing read. I loved the three Family member character narration and the setting was unique and I really liked the perspective. A great read that I read in two sittings.

by Kate


Sasha is mom to teenage son, Zac. Her husband is not around, and she is also responsible for her alcoholic mother, Annie. Zac has reason to suspect he has a secret sibling, and Sasha is faced with the past she has tried desperately to forget. Annie is aging and feels like she is being visited late husband Joe. She is reliving some secrets from her past as well, and as she does, she is determined to confront all she has worked hard to bury. Trauma, secrets, and lies are at the heart of the difficult mother-daughter relationship between Annie and Sasha, but this isn’t just their story; I t’s a story of family across generations beginning in the early 1900s through the present day. Specifically, it addresses how World War II trauma affected a family long after the war was over. I was completely invested in What’s Left Unsaid. Stories of family dynamics are my favorites, and families evolving across time are especially interesting. This book is deeply affecting with so many topics to think about. The Stein family’s story is vividly realistic; it truly could be any family. Warm and well-written, with forgiveness at its core, I found What’s Left Unsaid engaging and compassionate and a novel well worth reading.

by Jennifer


Three narrators take us through this story - Sasha; her mom Annie and Joe - her dead father.
Her son Zac, begins to suspect he has an older, secret sibling due to a slip of tongue from his grandmother - an alcoholic Alzheimer's patient.
Turns out everyone has something hidden away in their past.
Zac gets someone, Sarah Hardy, to film his family for a memento film and things start coming out that no-one ever planned on revealing.
Spanning from World War Two to the present day this is a story of how things we try keep secret and hidden have a way of coming out in the open and how the secrets of the parents affect their children.
I found the book well-written and even though it moves between narrators and decades you don't lose the thread of the story at all.

by Alison S


Three narrators take us through this story - Sasha; her mom Annie and Joe - her dead father.
Her son Zac, begins to suspect he has an older, secret sibling due to a slip of tongue from his grandmother - an alcoholic Alzheimer's patient.

Turns out everyone has something hidden away in their past.

Zac gets someone, Sarah Hardy, to film his family for a memento film and things start coming out that no-one ever planned on revealing.

Spanning from World War Two to the present day this is a story of how things we try keep secret and hidden have a way of coming out in the open and how the secrets of the parents affect their children.
I found the book well-written and even though it moves between narrators and decades you don't lose the thread of the story at all.

by Alison Scheppel


I liked the book immediately as it hit the ground running and was engaging from the start. As a mum to teenagers myself and someone who has cared for a parent, I could empathise easily with Sasha’s struggles. I loved how the chapters are short and written from different character’s perspectives. I particularly enjoyed Sasha’s dead father’s input as he was at a distance and could take a perhaps more objective view. Also it felt that he had a wisdom that maybe only comes to us fully after death. I enjoyed the big span across different decades and looking how characters are shaped by the historical and personal happenings in their lives. It was good to be reminded that when people act in a less ideal fashion it often is a result of terrible things happening to them in their past. Again these type of things are what’s left unsaid all too often. I cannot rate this novel highly enough. As I said to a friend, “This is a book I would love to have written myself”. I think that demonstrates that I would definitely give this particular read 10 out of 10.

by Kate


This is a lovely read; a peek into someone else’s life and the secrets and lies which lie hidden there.

Sasha works from home; she spends her days doing everything for her teenage son and husband – the husband who is at home less and less due to his work schedule. The only saving grace is Stanley, the family retriever. Sasha also has her elderly mother to look after; with a failing memory Annie has never been the easiest of parents to get along with. But slowly, we begin to understand what makes this family tick …

I wasn’t quite sure where this one was going to begin with, but once I relaxed into it and sorted out who the characters were in my head, I really enjoyed the read! Every family has it’s skeletons, but this family’s are quite possibly a bit more shocking than most. Day to day events are followed mainly in Sasha’s story, with the past being covered by Annie’s memories – and there are some really shocking revelations in there! Her childhood moved me to tears and what followed can be tracked back to those events. It is quite obvious that the author is a dog lover; Stanley really comes to life on the page and his little foibles made me smile all the way through!

Definitely an interesting book. I enjoy a tale which is neatly finished off and this is definitely a very good read and one I’m happy to recommend.

by Grace


Annie is a mother and grandmother whose mind isn’t as keen as it once was. Sasha is Annie’s daughter that is trying to deal with her own life problems and Zac is Sasha’s son. When Annie lets something from the past slip to Zac, it really knocks him off his feet and he wants to find out more. Zac arranges for his Grannie, mother and father to make a film of their past lives that he will always have for when he is older. When his father declines it makes his mum more keen to go ahead.

As the interviews begin Annie can recall with clarity events that happened years ago, especially her time as a five-year-old girl bundled off to the supposed safety of the countryside through the war years. A time that left her traumatized. Annie’s story goes on to tell how she met her husband Joe and although he had died he too has his time telling his side of the story.

Every family has its skeletons in the cupboard and this family seems to have a church yard of them. While the filming is taking place, Sasha has to face even more distress with her mum’s health and her husband’s confession. The whole family are turned upside down and in shock. What tragic things there are have been left in the dark to fester, leaving at times a coldness in the family instead of understanding and comfort from loved ones.

I think if there was a lesson to be learnt from this story then it is to talk to each other. So many rifts had been made with secrets in this family, could they possibly make amends before it was too late.

by Susan Hampson


Really enjoyed the layered family dynamics in this book. There are narratives from Sasha and her mother, Annie but also from her late father Joe, which adds a different dynamic to the plot.

by Sally A


I finished this book in one day because I couldn’t put it down! I won’t post plot spoilers here.. but I was hooked and thoroughly loved the journey the writer took me on today! I felt real depth and engagement with each memory and event! Stone is a wonderful writer!

by Rachel L


Absolutely amazing read, I was engrossed from the beginning and spent my whole day reading - and it was time very well spent. The story leads you on a fantastic journey examining the past and present within Sasha's family - and it written in such a way that you could feel the breath of change between characters as you read through the content.

I really don't want to give out too many spoilers in regards to the plot, but the history of Annie (Sasha's mother) is the main part of the book I enjoyed the most. This book is written in such a way that I was left emotionally unsure of how I really felt about her in the end, which was a wonderful and fulfilling feeling - leaving me to contemplate 'what ifs' for the rest of the afternoon. I think many people have skeletons in their closets, and It was wonderful to be so engrossed in this families bubble as the threads of truth were made known to the reader.

You really do need to find a nice time slot for self indulgence with this book, because if you are anything like me, you will want to finish the entire thing - because it flows so well.

Highly recommended read. I utterly loved it.

by Mrs Lines


Sasha is struggling with her life and her family.

I really enjoyed how this book was written. Each chapter was from a different characters perspective whether it be Sasha, Joe or Annie which meant that we got to know everyone’s back story and also everyone’s perspective on what exactly was going on. I feel that because of this, I really bonded with the characters a lot more than I would have, had it been written differently. Deborah has done a fantastic job of sucking us in as the reader and getting us to care for, and on occasion dislike, these characters which is a real credit to her as a writer.

I would definitely pick another one of Deborah’s books up in the future.

by Steph


Sasha is mom to teenage son, Zac. Her husband is not around, and she is also responsible for her alcoholic mother, Annie.

Zac has reason to suspect he has a secret sibling, and Sasha is faced with the past she has tried desperately to forget.

Annie is aging and feels like she is being visited late husband Joe. She is reliving some secrets from her past as well, and as she does, she is determined to confront all she has worked hard to bury.

Trauma, secrets, and lies are at the heart of the difficult mother-daughter relationship between Annie and Sasha, but this isn’t just their story; I t’s a story of family across generations beginning in the early 1900s through the present day. Specifically, it addresses how World War II trauma affected a family long after the war was over.

I was completely invested in What’s Left Unsaid. Stories of family dynamics are my favorites, and families evolving across time are especially interesting. This book is deeply affecting with so many topics to think about. The Stein family’s story is vividly realistic; it truly could be any family. Warm and well-written, with forgiveness at its core, I found What’s Left Unsaid engaging and compassionate and a novel well worth reading.


by Jennifer Tar


An engaging, compelling read that balances the intricacies of every day life with mystery and plot.

by Jenny S


This was a very interesting and thought provoking read. It’s a story about family, relationships and deep secrets that come out. This is a well written story that is told through the point of views of three of the characters. It takes place from War time to present time.

The characters were also very interesting and relatable, and all this mixed together made me want to keep reading and wanting to find out more about their secrets. This book is full of sadness but by the end we as the reader are left feeling hopeful.

I really enjoyed this book.

Overall a book that I enjoyed, and that I would recommend.

by Mani


A pacey, absorbing story, where familial secrets and trauma are confessed through a series of episodes - sometimes willingly, sometimes not, sometimes merely confessed to the dead. The central pair are a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo, balanced out by the voice of the dead father. If his voice seems occasionally pat, however wise, it is the women's perspectives that emerge with ferociously telling details. We see at first hand, the mother's aged incontinence (and her realization of it); her alcoholism, her ill-concealed vitriol, and the trauma of her past that she has never been able to overcome. We also see, in some depth, and sympathise with the middle-aged daughter, Sasha, who is sandwiched as caregiver, to a mother who never liked her, a husband who leaves her and a teenage son who is... well.. a teenage son. Stone writes with a grasp for the minutiae of existence and the particularities of generations from the casual snobberies and racialism of the old to the perimenopausal Sasha, with a waistline she worries about and a shopping addiction she can't lose, and the surly half-present, half-absent teenage Zac, locked into his games and devices. There's something very zesty about the prose, and a sense of real life being lived and faced (all those chocolate digestives and that much-loved dog Stanley), even amidst the trauma. And in the end, we even learn to see the humaneness of that least loving of mothers, Annie.

by Hilary Stroh


What’s Left Unsaid is a highly emotional family drama/historical fiction. Told from three points of view, the story spans three generations of the Stein family. As the story unfolds, there is a little humor and a lot of hardship: parents who don’t want the horrors of their childhood known, parents who don’t want to relive their adult grief by sharing that secret pain, and parents who finally come to grips with who they are. Yes, basically, it is all the parents’ faults. Seriously though, Ms. Stone’s tale shows how it takes walking in another’s shoes to truly understand them.

What’s Left Unsaid starts with a confrontation between Sasha and her son Zac. The ugly tension between them was stressful to read. The teenager’s acrimony oozed out of every pore. From that scene forward, Sasha’s life gets more stressful as Zac stirs the pot that leads to family secrets and closeted skeletons spilling out.

What’s Left Unsaid is laid out in three acts. Ms. Stone’s writing quality and story telling shine through each part. She pours history into the stories of Sasha’s parents, Annie and Joe. Much of the family drama stems from Annie and Joe’s young lives. However, Sasha and her husband, Jeremy have a few secrets of their own.

There are many skeletons in the Stein family’s closets. Every generation has its own secrets. Those secrets explain some of the less-than-stellar behaviors, but does that excuse the behavior? I did feel empathy for each character’s hardships, but I didn’t feel that absolved their subsequent behavior. What’s Left Unsaid is a heart-wrenching read for those who love family dramas and historical fiction.

by Jules


Three points of view on one family over three generations. Annie thinks back to her life during the war, her daughter Sasha is dealing with her life falling apart while thinking back to growing up with a celebrity dad and cold mother. Joe, a husband and a father gives a masculine point of view beyond the grave.
What's Left Unsaid is a contemporary novel dealing with the everyday problems of family people in England. Moody teenage son, a happy-messy dog, balancing work-life as a freelancer and taking care of an ageing mother.
Deborah Stone's storytelling is vivid and her characters relatable. This book is a good read to you if you like your realistic contemporary stories with a side of history.

by Edith Sooskar


A fascinating family saga.Three separate narrators which worked most of the time. The WW2 setting was excellently written; I enjoyed this time the most. Interesting, well-rounded characters and a fascinating, albeit, complex family saga.

by Sophie


This was a very interesting and thought provoking read. It’s a story about family, relationships and deep secrets that come out. This is a well written story that is told through the point of views of three of the characters. It takes place from War time to present time. The characters were also very interesting and relatable, and all this mixed together made me want to keep reading and wanting to find out more about their secrets. This book is full of sadness but by the end we as the reader are left feeling hopeful. I really enjoyed this book but the pacing for me was a bit off, especially at the end. Overall a book that I enjoyed, and that I would recommend.

by Hannah


Sasha is married to Jeremy and has a teenage son, Zac. Jeremy works away a lot, so Sasha is left managing the household, their son Zac, dog Stanley and also the care of her elderly mother who is gradually getting more confused and forgetful. During one of these visits to his Grandma, Zac manages to uncover a family secret that has been kept hidden for a number of years and questions Sasha about it. After initially denying it, the secrets tumble out and we also learn about other family secrets that have been kept buried. The story is told from a number of different characters perspectives, across different times. This gives an added dimension to the book and makes you really identify with the characters and what makes them who they are. This is especially poignant for Annie and Joe (Sasha’s parents) who experienced the Second World War. Overall, this is a very enjoyable book with great characters that keeps you hooked with family drama and surprises – highly recommended.

by Tina


What’s Left Unsaid is a story of a family in all its glorious complexities.

Sasha is a freelance copywriter, wife to Jeremy and mother to teenager, Zac. Sounds fairly standard but Jeremy is never there, he’s a successful lawyer always working away. Sasha’s relationship with Zac is a little fraught, as parent/teenager relationships often are. And then there’s her mother, Annie, a bitter woman, full of ill feeling, wine and forgetfulness. Sasha’s life is far from satisfactory but she carries on, in a kind of befuddled way, putting up rather stoically with her mother’s unpleasantness towards her.

The first part of the story is told from the viewpoints of Sasha and Annie with short contributions from Joe, Sasha’s late father. I wasn’t at all sure about his parts at first but as the story progressed I thought it was an interesting way of unfolding the family story and the more I read the more I liked his input. Joe comes at it from an onlooker’s stance, seeing the difficulties in Sasha and Annie’s relationship and filling in the blanks for the reader. The second section brings forward Joe’s life story and gives more background to how he and Annie met, his successful career on TV and his love for Sasha. The third part reverts back to Sasha and Annie and brings about the conclusion to both of their stories.

When I started reading What’s Left Unsaid, I was a little unsure as to exactly what the story was going to be about. Once I finished it and looked back I could see it was a story of family dynamics, of how what we experience in childhood can affect our whole lives. Whilst Annie and Sasha had completely different upbringings, they both suffered. Annie’s experiences during the war changed her forever and impacted on her ability to be a good mother. This in turn led to Sasha having a very difficult relationship with her mother, never feeling loved or valued by her, and consequently being a bit of a sap.

Both women have a secret and whilst it was not exactly a huge surprise when they were revealed, it was done sympathetically and I liked the way that it explained so much about their behaviour over the years. I liked Sasha and didn’t like Annie at all, but I think Annie was by far the more interesting of the two women. Her acerbic manner and her increasing inability to remember make her a very interesting character and then when her back story unfolded it just added to the intrigue. I was so interested to read that the author had used her own parents’ wartime experiences as inspiration.

This is a book that has so much that I enjoy: family ups and downs, social history, secrets and lies. It’s very much a character led story and those characters fascinated me. I found it to be a well-written and thoughtful debut novel, a slice of life story and a family history combined.

by Nicole


I read this book in two days! Loved it ! Excellently written , wonderful characters, exciting and emotional read. Can't wait for her next book!

by Jennifer


Great read. Wonderful story. Loved the characters .

by M.C.Mills


Great read. Wonderful story. Loved the characters .

by Margaret


Deborah Stone

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


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