Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Julie's Review: The Weight of Silence

Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Series: None
Publication Date: June 28, 2009
Publisher: Mira
Pages: 384
Obtained: on loan from a friend
Genre:  Mystery
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Riveting
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice. Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.  

Review: The Weight of Silence is a taut mystery/thriller that happens over the course of 24 hours. At first it is easy for the reader to believe that these disappearances are related but it quickly revealed that they are not. We know what happens to Callie but the real mystery is what happened to Petra. Most of the novel is spent on the back-story of the Clark family. It is not the happiest back-story and we find out why Callie is mute, which is sad and disgusting.

My favorite character was Ben. The way Ms. Gudenkauf describes him, he sounds imposing but his actions are caring and gentle. No one could be a better big brother to and for Callie than him. He watches out for her and takes care of her when their mom has other things on her mind. It is Ben who runs into the woods to look for his sister. It is Ben who is distraught when she is not in all their special places and he is the one that continues to go looking for her.

Ms. Gudenkauf writes a riveting story about two best friends who understand each other so well that one doesn't even have to speak for her friend to know her needs. How many of us would love a friend (or husband) that can do that? Several times you think you know where the story is going and then she takes you down a different path. She does a fantastic job of describing the woods by the Clark's house. You really feel like you are with Ben searching for Callie.

The ending wasn't really what I expected but not in a bad way. I really enjoyed how it ended and how Ms. Gudenkauf gave us a glimpse into the future. I will definitely be looking to read her other books.



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