It’s not often you come across a book where the main character is mute as is the case in Natasha Preston’s Silence. Oakley Ferrell has been silenced by an unspeakable horror and it isn’t until she finds strength from the unconditional love and support of the boy next door that she is able to name her monster.
The way the author is able to give voice to her voiceless character throughout the novel is truly amazing. Oakley communicates through nods, smiles, frowns, head shakes, and grimaces alone. No words uttered or written yet the exchanges she has with her family, school mates, and Cole are still conversational. Writing a character with such a handicap surely must have been a challenge and yet Preston makes it work.
Another interesting aspect to Silence is the contrast between it being a light-hearted teen romance to the very dark and serious theme of child abuse. Many scenes which should be fun-an ice cream date, a couples’ massage in Italy- are soon marred by foreshadowing of Oakley’s big secret. Because of this dichotomy, the book can sometimes be uncomfortable to read.
Fans of Preston’s Silence will delight in knowing that while the book concludes with a satisfying ending Silence is the first of a 4 book series which readers can check out at their local library.