Book Review: The Secrets In Silence

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Author: Nicole Trope
ISBN: 978-1-74331-749-5
RRP: $29.99

The Secrets In Silence has been my long overdue introduction to Nicole Trope, I have read all wonderful things about all three of her novels but this is the first to have come across my desk. I was thrilled to finally get a taste.

This book is a fantastic, gripping story that I have only just finished and it has left me struggling for words. My Goodreads review stands at wow, just wow.

Nicole Trope has brought together a cast that wouldn’t usually make for leading roles, these are often the people we try to have in the background. Minnie is morbidly obese and tries never to leave the house, Tara is the suffering teen who has lost her voice and the memory of what happened, Liam has a terminal stutter and Kate can’t speak for herself yet.

Trope has given a voice to this band of misfits who struggle to be heard on their own. She shows us into their heads and their hearts where we can’t help but empathise with them and gain even just a little understanding of their plight. Do we agree with all their choices, perhaps not but we can see how they were arrived at.

I managed to devour this in about 36 hours which is almost a record for me these days, I just did not want to put it down. There were some very interesting twists and the pacing was perfect. I could put some of the puzzle pieces together early but it was still exciting to watch the pieces come together on paper, to watch the mystery unravel for those involved even though I had already figured some of it out.

secrets in silence

Minnie is big, she’s bigger than big, and she always has been. It was a trait that she shared with her mother, until her passing a couple of years before the book is set. She tries to remain unnoticed, she refuses to make eye contact and she stays at home as often as she can. Luck was on her side the day she found herself in the shopping centre and in need of the ladies room, she made a life changing discovery and one split second changed the entire course of her future. Minnie lives in as much isolation as she can, she works from home and it’s only the neighbours she regularly interacts with in person.

Tara has suffered a traumatic experience that has trapped her voice and only she has the answers to the questions on everybody’s lips. The problem is the answers are locked up behind a wall of blackness in her mind and she has no idea how to access them. The situation she is in, and has dragged her entire family into, won’t go away until they get answers. The media might get bored of the story but the police just won’t let it go.

The story switches perspectives between Minnie and Tara in alternating chapters, letting us into their lives so we can get to know those around them but also deep inside their heads. Trope allows us to learn of their hopes and most of all their fears. This allows us to really understand the situation they find themselves in from their perspective.

All of the time we are wondering how their storylines will come together and what will eventuate. There is so much I want to say but I really don’t want to risk any spoilers because this book really was a fantastic read. The finely drawn characters of Minnie and Tara made me want to cry for them at times even though their decisions were not ones I could ever imagine myself making.

Minnie’s neighbours were a little less defined, they played a relatively major role in the story but their characters were left a little more shadowy. We knew enough to make their behaviours believable but not enough to understand their motivations. And to tell the truth I didn’t really want to know any more about the louts living down the street.

The ties between these characters are tenuous at best, coincidence plays heavily in the unfolding drama. Unless you put faith in a higher power, or fate, because either one of those could have played quite a hand in making sure events lined up just so. Things could so easily have been completely different with minor split second decisions. The Secrets In Silence is actually quite a convincing demonstration of the butterfly effect in all its glory.

The Secrets In Silence offers the reader so much, there is a heavy dose of suspense, there is numbing heartbreak, there is fear for the safety of the characters and there is the heartwarming power of love. If you haven’t read Nicole Trope I recommend you start.

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