First Line Friday — Things We Didn’t Say

27 Nov

Happy Friday! With all that’s going on (Southern for pandemic), most Black Friday shopping is happening online. That means no crowds, no looking for parking, and more time to read once you are done! Win, win, win! This week I am featuring the first sentence of Amy Lynn Green‘s debut novel, Things We Didn’t Say. This WWII-era novel set in the US is written in epistolary form — a style that I am is guessing is hard to write, but such a delight to read. I am so looking forward to beginning this book!

Here’s the first line of the Prologue:

Dear Mr. Donohue,

If I were an expert in criminal law, I’d be sick to death of outraged clients claiming to be falsely accused, and especially of weepy female clients wringing their hands and saying things like, “How could it have come to this?”


Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.

Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.

As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.

Amy Lynn Green is a lifelong lover of books, history, and library cards. She worked in publishing for six years before writing her first historical fiction novel, based on the WWII homefront of Minnesota, the state where she lives, works, and survives long winters. She has taught classes on marketing at writer’s conferences and regularly encourages established and aspiring authors in their publication journeys.

If she had lived in the 1940s, you would have found her writing long letters to friends and family, listening to jazz music, daydreaming about creating an original radio drama, and drinking copious amounts of non-rationed tea. (Actually, these things are fairly accurate for her modern life as well.)


For more First Line Friday fun, check out Hoarding Books.


3 Responses to “First Line Friday — Things We Didn’t Say”

  1. Becky November 27, 2020 at 4:04 pm #

    Happy Friday! My first line is from “Only You” by Susan May Warren, and is free for subscribing to her website:

    “Her happy ending was out there, at the end of the beam of her headlamp, and if Ree kept running, surely she would find it.”

  2. Nicole Santana November 27, 2020 at 9:21 pm #

    Happy Friday! 🙂
    I’m sharing the first line from Nicole by Sarah Monzon on my blog: I’m just beginning chapter 4, so I will share a line from there:
    “I’d learned early on in medical school to utilize any spare minute I could find.”
    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I wish you a relaxing weekend filled with fun reading time! 🙂❤️📚

  3. Paula Shreckhise November 28, 2020 at 11:08 pm #

    Can’t wait to read Amy’s book!

    My first line is from TO STEAL A HEART by Jen Turano
    November 1886 New York City
    It was quickly becoming evident that she, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, might very well be arrested in the nit-too-distant future, and all because she’d convinced herself that sneaking into a high-society costume ball would be a relatively easy feat, given her past life as a street thief .

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