Friday, December 26, 2014

The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence
by Heather Gudenkauf

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: 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, and 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.
from the book jacket

Review:  This is my second book that I have read by Heather Gudenkauf.  After reading this book (and One Breath Away) I am in awe of her ability to write about major situations that are relatively short lived and make a 300+ page book and manage to keep and hold my attention while providing back story.  The majority of this book happened in about 14 hours but yet I learned so much about all the characters.  It was hard to put this story down because I needed to know what happened to Calli to cause the selective mutism and then what happened to make her finally talk.  I also needed to know what happened to the girls.  Gudenkauf also has talent when writing from different points of view.  This story is told from the perspective of Calli, Ben (Calli's brother), Martin, Antonia and the sheriff, Louis.  The one weakness in this story for me is the perpetrator.  I won't tell you who it is and what he/she did but it just didn't fit in the story and there wasn't enough motive.  We don't find out until the very end who the perpetrator is and that really brings down the whole book.

Rating: 4 stars

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