Monday 9 February 2015

Book ~ "Breaking the Silence" (2009) Diane Chamberlain

From Goodreads ~ Laura Brandon's promise to her dying father was simple: to visit an elderly woman she'd never heard of before. A woman who remembers nothing - except the distant past. Visiting Sarah Tolley seemed a small enough sacrifice to make.

But Laura's promise results in another death. Her husband's. And after their five-year-old daughter, Emma, witnesses her father's suicide, Emma refuses to talk about it - to talk at all.

Frantic and guilt ridden, Laura contacts the only person who may be able to help. A man she's met only once - six years before. A man who doesn't know he's Emma's real father. 

Guided only by a child's silence and an old woman's fading memories, the two unravel a tale of love and despair, of bravery and unspeakable evil. A tale that's shrouded in silence - and that unbelievably links them all. 

On his deathbed, Laura's father makes her promise that she will look out for an elderly woman named Sarah Tolley.   Laura's husband, Ray, forbids her to do so and commits suicide when she's visiting Sarah.  Their five-year-old daughter, Emma, witnesses it and becomes mute and fearful of men.  Laura takes Emma to therapy and her therapist suggests that she might benefit from a positive male influence. Laura contacts Dylan, Emma's birth father (Emma is the result of a one night stand), to see if he wants to be part of her life.

Laura begins visiting Sarah, who has Alzheimer's (she can't remember what she did yesterday but her memories of the past are clear) to figure out the connection between Sarah and her father.  As Laura gets to know Sarah (she has no family), she learns Sarah's story.  In the meantime, she and Dylan work together in hopes that Emma will speak again.

This is the fifth book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I liked the writing style ... it was written in third person perspective.  The book jumps back and forth in time but the chapters are labelled, which worked for me.  I found part of Sarah's story farfetched but I went with it. The story comes together at the end ... some of it I bought (there was one twist I didn't see coming), some of it I didn't.

I liked the main characters.  Laura has a lot going on ... caring for her daughter, grieving for her father and her husband, solving the mystery of how Sarah and her father knew each other, etc.  It was interesting to see Dylan's growth during the story.  I felt bad for Sarah because she is all alone and so looks forward to her walks with Laura.

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