Finding silence

image

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Hot on the heels of having read Shtum, I found I was fascinated by the concept of silence in this book.  Maybe I went looking for it, but for me silence dominated the story.

It’s the story of Lisa who’s suicide completely shaped her sister Riley’s life, including her career. Yet Riley has no memory of her sister. Lisa chose silence long before she was made silent, interesting for a musician.

However, the most telling silence comes from her father.  His death ensures his silence, but it’s his silence in the past that has defined Riley’s life and that of her brother, Danny.

Danny’s own silence is interesting. He won’t share with Riley the PTSD issues he is grappling with, sharing only that the damage is to his soul.  Ultimately, Danny is quite vocal both in his view of Lisa and in deciding the future.  His silence gives Riley what she most needs.

Violet the violin, is a most interesting character, one that is silent through the whole book, but looms over the family.  Wordlessly, pointing out what they lost and the lack of talent that Riley and Danny have. In fact, Violet knows just what happened. And won’t or can’t tell.

Then there’s the mystery woman at the very start of the book, she remains silent over many years. And why is that? When she does speak, she is silent and yet not silent. In fact, she starts the silent avalanche that hits Riley.  (Pay attention to chapter 18 – thanks to Diane for that tip!).

Like Violet, another inanimate object – the jade necklace – shares with Riley a powerful truth.

Its a richly crafted and intriguing book, beautifully written.  Yes, there are issues with the ending and I was left with more questions than I would normally like. But equally the ending is now mine to craft. Maybe it’s all good but maybe it’s not?

 

The end rocks

image

The Kind Worth Killing Peter Swanson

All this book needs is a sun lounger and a pool.  Or perhaps a rainy day, a blanket and a roaring fire. It’s a cracking story with fantastic characterisation.

Lily and Ted meet randomly, a few too many drinks later and a plan is hatched.  A risky and rather drastic plan.  But it’s other people’s plans and actions that set the pace.

For me the starting point was Lily and her motivations.  Can we trust Lily’s voice in describing her childhood?  She paints an isolated friendless childhood as the driver for the path she takes. Really?  Well, there was at least one reference to a friend and we later learn she and her father had a childhood correspondence. If her description isn’t accurate why or how did she end up like she did?

If, she started off acting in self preservation (and did she?), why and when did she make the leap?  What took over the edge?  And how random was her interaction with Ted?

Should I admit that I felt some sympathy for Lily? I’m not even sure why. I don’t believe the author wanted me to. I’d go so far as to say that he worked hard to create a very strong cast of quite unattractive characters.  I wanted to like Ted but just when he tugged on the heart strings his prom date fiasco turned me right off!

Given, it’s a male author, I found the role and portrayal of men interesting. They were significantly weaker and easily manipulated by the women. Even the bit part men like the two fathers were weak.  As for the detective, he needed his female partner to rescue him!  This was in stark contrast to the role and portrayal of women, even the mothers were strong and determined. But of course it was the women who were deceitful, cunning and manipulative.  Truly unattractive?

As always the sign of a great read is still thinking about it a few weeks later. And there are some things still occupying my brain.

The title for one.  We understand Lily’s ‘kind’ worth killing. But could I define my kind who deserves to be killed? And is that even what the title means? Is Ted a kind worth killing?

Where were Lily and Ted headed?  And did I want them to go there?

Was Ted and Meredith’s new house a metaphor for something and if so please let me know!

As for the ending, wow I loved it! I don’t want to ruin it. So, all I’ll say is that it took the book from a 3.5 stars to a 4.5 stars.

 

Italy, art and vamps – my faves!

image

A Secret Muse Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Wow wonderful story! It has all the i’s – inventive, innovative and interesting!  I found it hard to put down, thank goodness it was an easy read.

The story is set in the U.S. and Italy, the descriptions of Italian village life were gorgeous.  I loved how the author wove art into the story, it made the story compelling and just a bit different.

It’s a conspiracy type thriller more than your standard paranormal romance. There’s limited vampire action, so will appeal to both vamp fans and those that avoid them!

To be honest Coco and Gabriel’s romance was kind of yucky for me. I don’t want to ruin it, but his love started a little early for me.

There were probably a few too many characters to keep track of, but the author is setting the scene I guess for future books.  Probably having so many characters meant you didn’t get too enthralled with the main couple, which I generally like being the romance fiend I am!  Others will like a strong ensemble cast of characters.

I really appreciated that there was no cliff hanger but more than enough to make you curious about what will happen. Yep, I’m looking out for the next book already.

Thank you to TBConFB and the author for an ARC in return for an honest review

 

jem’s gem

image

Shtum Jem Lester (out 7th April)

Jem Lester’s heartbreaking story is tart and amusing, and totally insightful.

It’s the story of a father struggling to do the best for his severely autistic son. By sharing the tale of the Jewell men, two of whom haven’t a voice and two who struggle to communicate, Jem Lester raises the all too familiar story of male (non) communication.

The book had me thinking about the nature of communication. After all the best communicator is the boy who can’t speak. Yet, it’s clear what he wants and when. Uniquely Jonah is a listener, his ability amplifies the inability of others to communicate.  Nothing displayed this more than Ben’s shock at Emma’s revelation.  Completely self absorbed by his own issues he misses what should have been obvious clues leaving the marriage in tatters.

Yet, it’s not all bad.  Johnny and Ben, and Georg and Maurice are clear examples of male communication working. Indeed, Georg and Maurice didn’t even speak the same language when they met.  And of course, not forgetting Valentine and his to the point expression.  They are a real mirror to Ben and Georg’s difficulties.

If this is all you take from the book (!), it will no doubt stay with you for some time. Yet, what makes this an extraordinary read is the subtle weaving in of so many issues – abandonement, depression, dependency, inherited DNA, enablement, fertility, despair, death and loss. Not to mention the Holocaust and the value of a child’s life in our society. Yeah, you see why I’ll still be thinking about this in December?

This is dark and difficult stuff, the descriptions of caring for Jonah will have many in tears. But it’s not a difficult read. In fact, it’s a gentle read. Ben’s love for his son is beautifully tender.

I’m not sure if I loved it, but both Emma and Ben’s descriptions of their lives with Jonah touched my soul.

Thank you to TBConFB for an ARC of this book. I especially want to thank Tracy Fenton for championing this book.