The Silence of Water is the debut novel of Australian author Sharron Booth, a historical fiction of tragedy, hope and acceptance.
1906, Agnes Johnson moves her family from Adelaide to Fremantle so she can take care of her estranged father Edwin Salt, although she has not seen her father for quite some time she feels it is her duty as a daughter to take care of him in the time he has left.
Young Frances (Fan) is not happy about moving. She doesn’t know her grandfather, all that is familiar, comfortable, and beloved is being left behind filled with happy memories. She is displeased with her mother and makes a point of showing her.
England 1840’s, Edwin Salt falls in love and marries his first love Mary Ann, he tries to become rich quick as an official responsible for collecting excise duty, but when a transgression occurs he is classed as a convict and transported to Australia in 1861. He remarries Cath, they have two children Agnes and Walter; their childhood is not a happy one and once an adult Agnes distances herself from her ill-tempered father.
When Fran meets her grandfather, she finds him bewildering and decides to form a pact with him, what better way than to annoy her mother. She listens to stories about his life in England and how he came to Australia as a convict. There is a dark secret behind his stories that she is eager to unravel.
The characters are well-fleshed-out, and they provide a sense of authenticity to the narrative. Edwin is a complicated man, there is conflict to his character, one could dislike him for his past actions, but it makes him intriguing. Agnes is a wonderfully complex yet likable character who you just want the best for especially with mending family ties. Fan is an absolute delight, the curiosity of a young child wanting to know her grandfather’s secrets, she has a spirit of daring adventure.
The story captures simple yet profound moments and is a nostalgic depiction of its characters’ hopes and memories. It takes the audience on a moving journey through many light-hearted and difficult moments. The dialogue and descriptive narrative are well constructed. Sharron Booth did her due diligence, researched, and then used that knowledge to write a compelling story that I connected with immediately.
Filled with hardships, family, resentment, and love, The Silence of Water was so much more than that. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves to read historical fiction and family drama.
Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Fremantle Press for the opportunity to read and review.
Copy courtesy of publisher: Fremantle Press
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Silence of Water by Sharron Booth. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.