What We Didn’t Say by Rory Dunlop

Book Review

Title: What We Didn’t Say by Rory Dunlop

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama

Rating: 5 Stars

The opening of What We Didn’t Say was interesting, we are introduced to a married couple Jack and Laura who have been separated for two years. Obviously something happened between them but we don’t know what yet only that two people Zac Ford and his girlfriend, Claudia are involved. Jack and Laura met at university where he was a lecturer and she was a student, there isn’t a huge age gap between them only eight years but it was interesting to see. Two years after they separated Jack returned to London but the meeting with Laura didn’t go well so they begin emailing each other. Jack sends Laura his diary to read about the time they were together and apart but she remembers things a little differently so she makes corrections and comments on the diary. We also know this is all in the past since Laura wrote a letter to their son, Michael telling him the emails and diary would explain her relationship with his father.

As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, Jack and Laura end up going to one of Zac Ford’s parties which Jack isn’t happy about. With the back and forth information of the diary and Laura’s corrections we learn that Laura only wanted her freedom and was being friendly which Jack saw as flirting. After catching Laura and Zac doing cocaine in his room Jack assumes the worst of his wife and when they return he tried to talk to her about it but they only argue further until Laura goes to sleep. Not wanting to go to bed angry Jack sends Laura and email explaining his feelings about the night but in the present Laura explains that she didn’t read the email in full and if she did them her response would have been very different to what she actually sent. While he is in France Jack comes to realise that the French are most much open about things of a sexual nature even though it still embarrasses him even though he is older than Laura. At this moment I was very interested but wanted to see what broke the relationship and how they will go about repairing it or not since it is clear that Laura had a son but whether Jack is the father hasn’t been made ultimately clear.

As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, more of Jack and Laura’s marriage falling away as he genuinely believes that Laura is having a full blown affair with Zac which she explains from her perspective in the corrections and they are nothing like what Jack imagined. Their sex life also suffers and Jack thinks this is because of the affair and he turns to pornography. Laura explains that for her it was because she could feel his anger towards her and didn’t want their sex life to be meaningless and turned him away because of that. In his diary Jack goes on to point out the behaviours that made him worry about Laura and she counters them in a kind way. He also talks about getting back in touch with Claudia who he used to treat as a patient but she stopped coming to therapy after a misunderstanding about another patient but Jack is pleased she is doing well and see no harm in talking to her and digging deeper to see if there is anything going on between Zac and Laura.

As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, things begin to fall apart for the couple as Jack’s suspicions about Laura cheating on him reach new levels and he asks Claudia for help. Jack realises that he’s made a mistake soon after when Claudia wants to spy on Zac even though Laura was there for an innocent reason. Driving back Claudia gets them into a minor car accident so Jack stays with her as she is in shock but when she makes a move on him he realises he shouldn’t be there in the first place as she was his patient. Over the next few weeks Claudia harasses Jack and stalks him and this causes more paranoia and destroys the relationship between Jack and Laura even more. Eventually Claudia end up going to papers and claiming she was abused by Jack and that he abandoned her when she was pregnant. At this point he had no choice but to tell Laura and it doesn’t go well despite his pleading of his innocence Laura is furious because the backlash could end both of their careers and they try to do some damage control but it seems like the relationship is closer to ending.

As we cross into the second half of the novel, the relationship breaks down completely because they aren’t communicating. Laura was trying to get hold of Jack when he is with a lawyer and assumes he doesn’t want to talk to her and when Laura is fired and agrees to go to New York with Julian, Jack is angry with her. This miscommunication end to leading to a fight where Laura leaves for New York with Julian who tricked her with the information since there’s no job interview there and even when she returns Jack is staying with Adam. Jack goes to collect his stuff from the flat and wrote Laura a letter explaining everything but doesn’t leave it when he finds Julian’s cardigan under the bed which is another reason their relationship and marriage had gone down the drain because they trust each other. As stated in the terms of their divorce they are going to separate for two years and then the divorce will be finalised but I have a feeling they might get back together in the end.

As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Jack decides to get himself back together and ends up moving to France where he begins writing the diary. There he finds things that he had been missing like friendship and even sexual companionship with a woman there who knows about Jack’s situation and doesn’t pressure him. Laura also has a little fling with Zac Ford’s in this year of separation but Laura is beginning to get worried since Jack mentions things in the diary that make Laura think he is ill again. She does email him several times but she hasn’t gotten a response, however in the diary he receives a phone call from Laura during their separation and I am eager to see what this conversation is about and whether or not they will get back together since they both express feelings of remorse and lounging for the other.

As we cross into the final section of the novel, everything comes together as Jack and Laura get back in touch and realise they still love each other but when Jack returns to the UK only to learn that Laura is pregnant with Ford’s child. Laura explains that they never had any luck and when she found out she was pregnant with Zac’s baby she decided to keep it because it was her last chance at having a child despite the being nothing between her and Zac. Jack is angry for a little while but they agree to be friends and Jack agrees to be Laura’s birthing partner and witness the birth of Michael. At the birth Jack realises he can love a child that isn’t his and this begins four years of rebuilding their life. However, Jack’s cancer returns and he finally die after for years of fighting and these emails, the diary, Jack’s letter to Michael are all he and Laura have now. They also decide never to tell Michael that Jack wasn’t his real father until he was old enough to understand everything that led to his birth. Overall, What We Didn’t Say was heart-breaking in soon many different ways but I ended up absolutely living it and I would highly recommend it.

Buy it here:

Paperback/Hardcover: amazon.co.uk                               amazon.com

Kindle Edition: amazon.co.uk                                   

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