Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton

Contemporary Fiction 2*s
Contemporary Fiction
2*s

This book has the haunting quality of one you would expect that is set in Alaska where the weather couldn’t have been more at odds with the heat wave we were experiencing when I read it.

Yasmin has gone to Alaska with her ten-year old daughter Ruby to meet up with her husband Matt. Matt has been on an extended trip to the country to film the wildlife but with communications hard to maintain and a friendship with a local woman to boot Yasmin isn’t entirely sure how they will work things out but she is set on delivering an ultimatum to Matt despite being aware of what the loss of a parent can do to a child, let alone a fairly isolated child like Ruby who is deaf.

On arriving in Alaska, Matt is not there to meet them and it isn’t too long before Yasmin is told that he perished in a fire that swept through the village where he had been staying; there were no survivors. Yasmin goes into instant denial and persuades a trucker to take her partway to the village before the expected storm hits.

This is a story about love in all permutations within a family. Yasmin remembers the early days with Matt in flashback while part of her journey across this white, cold and bleak land is told in the third person some sections are told in the first person present tense. Ruby tells her story too, from her perspective as she joins her mother on the road-trip to find her father. Ruby uses sign language and we realise the limitations when it’s dark, so she also has a computer app that can convert speech into typed words, to reply Ruby types the words and the computer synthesizes a voice. Yasmin’s goal is to get Ruby to speak which she has refused to do for the last couple of years, the explanation given by Ruby in the book is perfectly understandable but so is Yasmin’s fears for her daughter’s future. The absent Matt is much more accepting of Ruby’s deafness which has created an underlying conflict between the parents.

The premise to the book is great, I loved Ruby’s character although her relentless good cheer and hopeful nature seemed slightly at odds with how a child would behave in such a hostile environment. I’m afraid I felt like I was on the journey with them across a landscape where little changes and the endless bundling into every item of clothing whenever they had to leave the truck. I understand the need for authenticity but I quickly tired of how such and such a task could only be done with the glove liners and not the warm gloves that prevent frostbite! In truth the scene setting for the true mystery took over two-thirds of the book, and I lost interest partly because little happened and partly because I didn’t believe that the actions taken by Yasmin were realistic although I get that this story was really a love conquers all, or does it? themed book.

There were clues to the mystery scattered amongst the pages but I don’t think anyone would struggle to work out what might have happened to Matt. The consequence of this is that the tension which would have tightened this story was removed.

I really enjoyed Sister which was this author’s debut novel and her second book Afterwards was also an interesting read but for me this one just didn’t work despite the brilliant descriptions of Alaska and other elements which were genuinely interesting the story didn’t quite gel for me.

I’d like to thank the publishers Little Brown Book Group for my copy in return for this review. The Quality of Silence was published on 2 July 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (July 1)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

Well it’s July, summer is here and I am currently reading The Quality of Silence by Rosumund Lupton from the chilly climate of Alaska.

The Quality of Silence
Blurb

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska.
Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness
Where nothing grows
Where no one lives
Where tears freeze
And night will last for another 54 days.
They are looking for Ruby’s father.
Travelling deeper into a silent land.
They still cannot find him.
And someone is watching them in the dark. NetGalley

I have just finished The Girls by Lisa Jewell, another winner from this author.

The Girls

My review will follow shortly

Blurb

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?
Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Utterly believable characters, a gripping story and a dark secret buried at its core: this is Lisa Jewell at her heart-stopping best. NetGalley

Next up a break from the review books and onto my 20 Books of 2015! Challenge – I’m woefully behind having only read 3 so far… The Maul and the Pear Tree by P. D. James and T. A. Critchley

20 books of summer logo

The Maul and The Pear Tree

Blurb

In 1811 John Williams was buried with a stake in his heart. Was he the notorious East End killer or his eighth victim in the bizarre and shocking Ratcliffe Highway Murders? In this vivid and gripping reconstruction P. D. James and police historian T. A. Critchley draw on forensics, public records, newspaper clippings and hitherto unpublished sources, expertly sifting the evidence to shed new light on this infamous Wapping mystery.
This true crime novel begins amid the horror of a dark, wintry London in the year 1811. Using elegant historical detection P.D. James and police historian T.A. Critchley piece together new and unpublished sources in an original portrayal of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders.
P.D. James, the bestselling author of Death Comes to Pemberley and Children of Men, here explores the mysterious and intense emotions responsible for the unique crime of murder, with authority and sensitivity. Her only work of true crime, this novel uses forensics, unpublished sources and forgotten documents to create a vivid image of early-nineteenth century London and a gripping reconstruction of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (February 20)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

A quiet week on the book front for me this week with just two finds, both from NetGalley. Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly MacMillan is due to be published on 27 August 2015 by Little Brown Book Group UK.

Burnt Paper Sky

Blurb

Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon?
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton whose debut novel Sister was a huge hit and although I wasn’t quite as impressed by her second book Afterwards, I’ve been looking out for her next book for quite a while. The Quality of Silence will be published on 2 July 2015 also by the Little Brown Book Group UK.

The Quality of Silence

Blurb

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska.
Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness
Where nothing grows
Where no one lives
Where tears freeze
And night will last for another 54 days.
They are looking for Ruby’s father.
Travelling deeper into a silent land.
They still cannot find him.
And someone is watching them in the dark. NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?