The first book in the Wrexford & Sloane series was so much fun! The last couple of books have been less so.
The spark has gone out somehow. The Weasels are still fun, but Wrexford and Charlotte have become less vibrant. I hope the next one gives the MCs a bit more of their previous élan.
Read in Feb.
Regency Mystery. 2021. print length: 353 pages
The Silence is a layered story told in alternating timelines that unfold gradually. Slow paced and character driven, the 1967 backstory reveals the human flaws in two families, flaws that are exacerbated by the situations in which they find themselves.
Steve, a policeman, hates the frequent requirement of removing aboriginal children from their homes and placing them in institutions, and he doesn't believe that the institutions will actually provide a better life regardless of what the government says. The strain builds until he can no longer cope; he is unraveling, coming undone. Mandy, his wife, never grasps the effect the job has on her husband or on their marriage. Steve wants children, but Mandy doesn't tell him that she is still taking her birth control pills.
Next door, Joe, an alcoholic, and Louisa, homesick for England, have marital problems that are only partially revealed until later, but Louisa hates Australia and wants to return to England. All of this is divulged in the chapters that give the backstory.
(Think: "The past is not dead. It is not even past."--Faulkner; "What's past is prologue."--Shakespeare)
In the 1997 timeline, Isla Green, an alcoholic working for sobriety, receives a call from her father. Joe tells her that he is under suspicion for Mandy's disappearance thirty years ago, and Isla returns to Australia for the first time in ten years--to her dysfunctional family and some vague memories of her early childhood.
The characters are not always likable, but they are very human and three-dimensional. The scenes are visual and atmospheric--drawing the reader into the story in a palpable way.
Theoretically, the removal of indigenous children from their parents was colonial Britain’s attempt to improve their living conditions. But in practice, kids were stolen from loving homes and brought to institutions that trained them to work for white people. Abuse, cruelty, and inhumanity filled their new lives. (via Washington Independent Review of Books)
Being silent about past mistakes doesn't remove the influence of those mistakes. Not in families, not in social norms, not in government actions. The problems these two families deal with are both personal and general. The practices of Australian government are not unique, they have been pretty universal, and we have our own situations to atone for.
Audiobook read by Nelle Stewart.
from description: "Darby and Morgan haven’t spoken for two years, and their friend group has splintered. But when the body of their former science teacher is found in the marsh where they attended camp that summer, they realize they have more questions than answers . . . and even fewer memories."
A group of friends who attended a summer camp, can't remember the experience. The two voices, Darby and Morgan's are indistinguishable. I had to stop and think about who was actually speaking numerous times. Difficult to have much character development when the voices don't indicate individuality.
Plot is...less than believable, and the style is disrupted in a number of ways, disjointed and ponderous, and too long.