Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

Cover Art
Tracie Peterson was one of the first Christian authors I ever read (the Alaska series) and I remember waiting no so patiently between books.  Her heroines are strong, resilient, and inventive and the villians are SO dastardly.  When given a chance to review her newest book written with Kimberly Woodhouse, I hopped right to it and signed up for the blog tour.  Check out this Litfuse page for more information about Peterson, Woodhouse and the book; you can also sign up for a contest.

BEYOND THE SILENCE is set on a California olive orchard in the late 1800's as Lillian Porter struggles with two powerful silences in her life -- one the complete break with her grandfather, the only living relative she has, and two, the trauma-instilled silence of her young charge at the Angel Camp olive grove.  The plot lines of this book have been done before.  First, a young woman faces family alienation after making a decision to strike out on her own.  In this title, Lillian's defiance against her wealthy grandfather's control causes a complete rift, leaving Lillian totally alone as she travels west.  Of course, her new job as a nanny leads to her falling in love with her young charge and the child's father.  And the father's past and present are shaded with mystery and suspicion.  And another familiar plot twist is the young boy's silence -- He has been traumatized by witnessing his mother's murder and has been silent ever since.  No one realizes that the murderer threatened to also kill his father if the boy spoke a word about the attack.

Despite the familiarity in plot, I enjoyed this book.  The setting of the olive grove was refreshing, and the town of Angel Camp's suspicion of father Woodward Colton in the murder of his wife presents ample opportunities for lessons about gossip and misjudgment.  Like Peterson's first novels I read, the villain in this book is REALLY, REALLY villainous, made even more apparent by the juxtaposition of his actions and thoughts with those of his brother Harry, a clearly simple minded young man whose past has been filled with mistreatment and cruelty by everyone except his mother.  When Harry stumbles upon Lillian and young Jimmy, the book takes a turn that makes it refreshing and redeeming.  I received a copy of this title from LITFUSE for my honest opinion.

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