"Important message in this amazing tale by Kelly Rimmer"
Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted November 20, 2019
Before I begin my review of UNSPOKEN by Kelly Rimmer, I have to admit that there are many books penned by this talented author that have been duly noted as my favorite. How can there be so many favorites written by one person? That is the struggle I faced when I put pen to paper – so to speak – and began constructing another what would become a five-star review. In short, there is no way to avoid this when speaking about UNSPOKEN by Kelly Rimmer.
UNSPOKEN is the second installment of the series Startup in the City. And before you ask – no, you don’t have to read them in order as each perfectly stands alone on its own merit. Nothing is as sad as watching the dissolution of a marriage, especially one built on a mountain of love.
But how do you stop the avalanche of hard feelings, hurt, and disappointment? The first thing to learn is that people don’t know what you are thinking, so if there is something on your mind do yourself a service by speaking out. Second thing is to listen, really listen to what someone is saying. Isabel and Paul are a lovely couple and deeply in love. At least they were and then marriage took a sharp turn when Isabel literally walked out. Both are truly devastated by this turn of events. Paul is destroyed. Isabel keeps waiting for Paul to call her back to him – even though she is the one that turned her back on their marriage.
Are you confused yet? Well, so are Isabel and Paul, and in UNSPOKEN that’s the clear message that Kelly Rimmer is trying to convey. Isabel has in short become a spiteful, angry, sharp-tongued, miserable person. Paul doesn’t even recognize who this Isabel is – she is not the Isabel he loves and married. Isabel is busy rationalizing her reactions to everything Paul does or says in the present or in the past. Paul does not want a divorce. Isabel can’t see an alternative. Talk about a stalemate. Something has to give, but the best these two can come up with is to temper their overwrought reactions and strive for a friendship.
It sounds like an impossible mission. But without even a friendship it means they are truly broken and split apart. Paul is a programmer with a thriving, growing company. When thinking of Isabel and Paul’s relationship it is like writing or designing a computer program where you recognize a problem – in this case, a failed marriage, then write code of steps to get your desired result – no divorce. UNSPOKEN is filled with many moments, some insightful others candidly frustrating which is designed to show the realities of a marriage or partnership with another human being.
Each person comes with their own baggage. Recognizing differences and accepting them is a huge hurdle in real life. And in UNSPOKEN both Isabel and Paul will have to uncover these issues, take them, work through solutions and candidly decide if their relationship is worth the work. Real life is just like that with no short cuts but the rewards might be wondrous.
So welcome back to Startup In The City if you have already read UNEXPECTED, welcome to UPSPOKEN that will make you equal parts angry, frustrated, and enamored with a crazy wonderful couple. UPSPOKEN is another jewel of Kelly Rimmer not to be missed.
Learn more about Unspoken
Sometimes it’s what you don’t say that can change everything…
Isabel Winton had planned to spend the last few days of her marriage at her vacation home, intending to reflect, regroup…or maybe just do some solitary sulking. Instead, she collides with her almost ex, Paul, who has the same idea. Too stubborn to leave, Isabel figures this is a chance for them to get some closure. But she’s astonished to see that months apart have transformed her emotionally aloof husband into “Paul 2.0,” more open than ever before.
Paul was blindsided when Isabel left him. He had no idea she felt he was more committed to his career than to their marriage. With his new, hard-won self-awareness, he blames himself for letting her walk away. But winning her back will take more than simple words. It’ll mean finding the courage to grow, to trust, and grab a second chance at life by each other’s sides.
I’ve been developing a single software application since I was seventeen years old. In recent years, I’ve worked with some of the best developers on earth, but it’s still my software. The sum of my life’s work is seventy-four million lines of code which, in lay¬man’s terms, enables people to use the internet in a safe and efficient manner. I don’t know all of that code by heart of course, but if you were to give me any portion of it, I could tell you what it does and why and how.
Code is knowable. Understandable. Infallibly ra¬tional. Opening my compiler is like wrapping my¬self in a warm blanket on a cold day. Code is safe and familiar, and I am completely at home and com¬pletely in control in that sphere, which is pretty much the polar opposite to my feelings about other hu¬mans. People are unfortunately illogical creatures, and today, people are ruining my day.
Well, one person specifically.
“Hello, Isabel,” I say to my almost-ex-wife. Her sudden appearance is as unfortunate as it is unex¬pected. Whenever we find ourselves in the same room these days, the tension is untenable, but it’s certain to be even worse today, because this room happens to be in the very vacation home we spent most of the last year squabbling over as we negoti¬ated the separation of our assets.
“You said that I could keep this house—” Isabel starts to say, but I really don’t like to be reminded that if the divorce was a cruel game, there’s a clear winner, and it’s not me.
That’s why I cut her off with a curt “my name is still on the title for four more days.”
Her nostrils flare. She makes a furious sound in the back of her throat, then closes her eyes and ex¬hales shakily. Isabel is trying to keep her temper in check.
I lived with Isabel Rose Winton for four years, one month and eleven days. She likes almond milk in her coffee because she thinks it’s healthier, but she masks the taste with so much sugar, she may as well drink a soda. She sleeps curled up in a little ball, as if she’s afraid to take up space in her own bed. She resents her mother and adores her father and brothers. She loves New York with a passion, and she has an astounding ability to pluck threads from a city of 8.5 million people to weave them into a close-knit village around herself. Isabel makes friends everywhere she goes. She never forgets a name and people always remember her, too, even after meeting her just once. Everyone adores her.
Well, almost everyone. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the woman these days.
“You’re supposed to be on retreat with your team this weekend.” Isabel flashes me a look, but it passes too quickly. I don’t have time to interpret it.
“How do you even know about my retreat?” I ask, but then I sigh and we both say at the exact same time, “Jess.”
Jessica Cohen has been my friend since college and she’s been my business partner almost as long. Isabel and Jess are friends, too, and they still see each other all the time. But Jess popping up in this conversation makes me uneasy, because she’s the reason I’m at Greenport today. And Jess does so love to meddle…
I’m distracted just thinking about this, and that’s when I make a critical error: I forget that there’s a reason I’ve been standing at a supremely uncom¬fortable sixty-degree angle, with my lower half hid¬den behind the wall which houses the stairwell, my top half leaning into the living room where Isabel is sitting. As soon as I shift position into something like a more standard posture, I see Isabel’s gaze run down my body. The scowl on her face intensifies, and mortifyingly, I feel myself blushing.
“Why are you naked?” Isabel demands.
That’s not why I’m blushing; after more than four years together, I’m certain Isabel is at least as famil¬iar with my junk as I am. And my current state of undress is actually easily explained. I arrived here ninety-four minutes ago, immediately went for a very long run and then took a very long shower. Everything was fine until I reached for a towel and discovered that Isabel’s scent was all over the soft cotton.
That made no sense, because my assistant Vanessa was supposed to arrange for the cleaning service to refresh the house before my arrival here today. I was headed downstairs to see if Vanessa had at least managed to stock the fridge with food and booze when I heard the sound of footsteps in the living room. It seemed a safe assumption that if someone had broken into the house while I was in the shower, it wouldn’t be someone who was already well acquainted with my nether regions, so I was careful to stick only my head around the corner to investigate.
That was when I found Isabel herself, sitting proudly on the sofa as if it was her throne, firing death glares in my direction.
Which, for the record, she is definitely still doing. I might not be super skilled at reading body language, but even I know a stink eye when I see one. And this particular stink eye is focused with laser-like intent on the fourth finger of my left hand.
That is why I’m blushing, because what she can see there is not nearly as easily explained as a casual spot of midday nudity.
“Why on earth would you put your wedding ring back on now?” she asks me stiffly.
The thing is, I never really took it off; I’d just slide it into my pocket if I knew I was going to see her. It wasn’t all that difficult to hide the fact that I’m still wearing the ring—I’ve only seen her in person ten times since she walked out of our Chelsea brownstone ten months ago. Once at our one and only attempt at marriage counseling. Once at Jess’s legendary and, this year, somewhat awkward New Year’s Eve party. Once at the engagement party for our friends Marcus and Abby.
And seven times at mediation sessions, each one more heated than the last.
Isabel obviously noticed I wasn’t wearing the ring during those encounters, although it seems she missed the way I constantly rubbed the empty space on my finger, endlessly aware of its absence, just as I’m endlessly aware of her absence in our home in Manhattan. I’d inevitably have felt her missing in this house today. If she wasn’t here, that is.
I’ve tried to stop wearing the ring and I find I just can’t break the habit, although if anything is going to cure me, the mortification of this moment might just do the trick.
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