29 August 2011

BREAKING THE SILENCE by DIANE CHAMBERLAIN





I have heard about Diane Chamberlain for quite a while, but this is the first actual book that I have read by this author. I am not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was an amazing read from an author that I cannot wait to read more from.

This book is actually two stories. The first is the story of Laura Brandon. At the beginning of the book Laura's father has just died and her husband commits suicide. As a result, her 5 year old daughter Emma quits speaking. Laura's story centers mostly around her resolve to help Emma get over the pain and trauma of the two deaths that come so close together. It is the story of a mother's love for her child, confusion over exactly how to help her, and the resulting feeling of hopelessness for not being able to "make it all better". Ms. Chamberlain crafts a good story in this regard that will have you hoping for Emma and Laura to get their lives back on track.

The real story in the book, though, is the story of Sarah Tolley, a woman in her 70s who is suffering from Alzheimers. Laura promises her dying father that she will visit Sarah. A woman that she has never heard of before her father tells her his dying wish. Through Laura's visits to Sarah we begin to find out about Sarah's life story, and it is definitely a fascinating one. As the stories progress, we find out that all is not what it seems, until the final clue is revealed in the end.

I loved Sarah's story. I found it compelling and at times I actually wanted to skip the Laura and Emma parts and just get back to Sarah. As Sarah revealed more and more about her life, I found myself trying hard to guess where her story was leading, which is a real plus in my book. The more the story engages me, the more I want to know about the characters, the more I enjoy. And Sarah was definitely someone I wanted to read more about. Not that Laura's story wasn't good. It was definitely engaging also. And as the book continued, both stories really got me involved.

The best part of the book, I have to say, was the ending. The way that the author tied all the elements in the stories together to bring us to her conclusion was fascinating. In addition, she took the story in a direction that I never anticipated. In fact, at one point, certain elements of the story were revealed, and I actually pumped my fist and shouted, "Yes", much to the laughter of my son. Ms. Chamberlain is definitely a master at crafting a story and knows how to keep readers interested and engaged. I have several other books by her on my list and am anxiously awaiting a chance to read them.