Book Review: Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Posted November 13, 2021 by meezcarrie in Christian, historical, Kimberly Duffy, romance / 8 Comments

GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: November 2, 2021
PAGES: 368

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

“Duffy shines in elegant, flowing prose and delicate precision that underscores the nineteenth-century setting.”— Booklist, starred review


You don’t have to read very far into Every Word Unsaid to realize that this is, in many ways, a love letter from the author to India. The richness of her descriptions elevates the country to another main character, a heroine in her own right, in this spellbinding story. We are not treated to simply the tourist highlights, but to the vibrant beauty of the less common pathways and the people from every walk of life. From abject poverty to affluent wealth, and everything in between, the faces of India are engraved on the reader’s heart even as they are on Gussie’s.

I liked Gussie right away, though other reviewers found her to be too self-centered. And, okay, I’ll give them that. But that doesn’t make her unlikable – rather, it makes her even more relatable. Most of us won’t have the privilege of traveling the world, going from one adventure to the other, but we’ve all struggled with being self-centered. Whether it was for a moment, a season, or something we battle every day, seeing the world through only our own lens is something we have all done. Fortunately, for most of us, there comes a moment of awareness where our view is expanded to include the people around us – and we are more often than not the better for it. It makes us human. And it’s this growing awareness in Gussie that makes Every Word Unsaid exquisite.

And while the romance between Gussie and “Specs” wasn’t the focus of this story, their friendship-to-more tension and swoonilicious kisses made my KissingBooks-reader heart happy. For his own part, Gabriel (Specs) is an intriguing character – a young doctor yearning to make a difference, a protective brother, a loyal friend. He has loved Gussie for years, and he longs for her to stop searching for the next adventure and finally see him. When he’s free to put some action to his feelings, watch out – much swooning and fanning will commence!

I know this review is getting long, but I can’t quit without mentioning Gussie’s Uncle James and how much I loved him as a character. He sees her as she is, perhaps better than anyone; he knows her flaws and her strengths, and he loves her no matter what. He also has the unenviable task of chasing down Gussie in her impulsive escapades and attempting to convince her to come back home where her parents would expect her to be a sedate, “good” daughter to avoid society’s disdain. Yet he also speaks great truth into her life, reminding her of her worth before the God who created her & that it’s what should define her, not the hurtful things her family have said to her for so long. He made me smile every time he showed up on the page.

Bottom Line: Every word in Every Word Unsaid is pitch perfect, evoking a wide range of emotions from readers and taking us on an unforgettable journey. The nineteenth century comes alive under the author’s masterful pen, from the familiar to the exotic and particularly Gussie’s adventures in India. The sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of that country are so vivid that I nearly forgot I wasn’t right there with her. And while Gussie may take a bit of warming up to for some, her external & internal quest to find where she belongs, to discover her worth apart from what others say, is one that many of us can understand. Another exquisite offering from Kimberly Duffy, with much that is timely & relevant to us in today’s world as well as the past.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / loved it!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans & fainting couches handy!

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Kimberly Duffy is Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.

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8 responses to “Book Review: Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

  1. Perrianne Askew

    Kimberly Duffy is a new author for me but I hear really wonderful things about her novels. Her books are definitely on my wish list!

  2. Alison Boss

    Thanks for your great review, Carrie! This book sounds like it has a wide variety of intriguing elements to make for a wonderful read. I haven’t read anything by Kimberly Duffy, but it sounds like I need to start, and this is the book to begin with. 🙂

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