In The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf, Calli, a seven-year-old with selective mutism, and her friend and neighbor, Petra, who is also Calli’s voice, go missing on the same night. Calli’s mother, Antonia, is married to a drunk, abusive husband, and has a history with the sheriff who is investigating the disappearance. Petra’s father, Martin, is determined to find the girls, and he is convinced that it was Calli’s father who took both of the girls.
The story is told in alternating viewpoints from Antonia, Martin, Calli, Petra, Deputy Sheriff Louis, and Ben, Calli’s brother. Heather Gudenkauf utilizes this method well and is able to dispense the story and history of everyone involved. Sometimes when you have this many characters, it becomes a bit cumbersome. All the characters were handled deftly, as their history and the current situation was doled out. The author has a great writing style that tells a story very simply, but very well. I could picture everything, and the situations with Calli and her dad left me with adrenaline pumping through my body.
Heather Gudenkauf does an amazing job of ratcheting up the suspense in the first chapter and keeping you on the edge of your seat all the way through to the end. I would have read this book in one sitting if I’d had enough time, but unfortunately my day job got in the way of my reading. It’s really a race against time as the families and sheriff try to find the girls, hoping they haven’t been taken by the same person who took and killed a little girl two years ago.
Calli and Petra have a really sweet relationship. Petra met Calli after she’d already gone mute, and still she befriended her. Petra’s disappearance and her absence as a narrator add to an already tense situation.
Switching topics slightly, there is a passage that I wanted to share with you, more because of what it talks about than because it shows the authors writing. But I think the author makes a great point and since I agree, I’ll share it with you. 🙂
Antonia’s mom is talking to Antonia about marriage:
People say that being a mother is the most important job you will ever have. And it is very important. But it is even more important, I believe, to be a wife, a good wife….I don’t mean you have to be a floor mat. That not what I mean at all. I mean, who you choose to walk with through life will be the most important decsion that you will ever, ever make. You will have your children and you will love them because they are yours and because they will be wonderful….But who you marry is a choice. The man you choose should make you happy, encourage you in following your dreams, big ones and little ones.”
I know I haven’t done the book justice. So please just believe me when I say I loved this book and will be passing it around to everyone in my book club.
Rating: 95 out of 100
You can buy The Weight of Silence at a discount! Use the coupon code SILENCE10 at eharlequin.com for 10% off of The Weight of Silence, and it’s effective aug 1 – sept 15 at eHQ for print or digital.
Make sure you check out Heather Gudenkauf’s website.