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Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain

Breaking the Silence (edition 2009)

by Diane Chamberlain

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229950,561 (4.08)4
Title:Breaking the Silence
Authors:Diane Chamberlain
Info:Mira (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Read, Your library

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Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain


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Another page turner by Diane Chamberlain! I stayed up until 3:30am so I could finish (the twist regarding Laura, Joe, and Ray/Gilbert, was brilliant). This book reminds me a little of Jodi Picoult’s subject matter as highlights (muteness, suicide, and Alzheimer’s, the mentally ill, and other controversial topics). If you begin reading and feel it starts a little slower than most Diane’s books, do Not give up, as trust me as you will find the same suspense and excitement as you move along and will not be able to put it down.

I loved Brandon and Laura’s characters as you fall in love with them and you could really sympathize with Sarah and Emma. Ray sounded like a jerk from the beginning, so never understood how Laura could fall for him (will not spoil this to say more). The Alzheimer illness was very realistic as my sister cares for a woman who is similar in that they remember the past, but not present.

A heartbreaking story about a dying father’s wish for his daughter Laura to locate a woman in a retirement home with Alzheimer’s with no clue of the relation or connection (which he has been funding for years) with warnings and threats from others to stay away. A husband with hidden secrets and mental problems commits suicide while his (adoptive daughter), Emma witnesses the tragedy and become mute.

In the meantime, as Emma begins therapy, Laura seeks the biological father Brandon, from nine years earlier, who has no idea he is a father and a bachelor. The request from her dying father was to take care of Sarah in the rest home and Laura enjoys her visits weekly and hears stories and experiences from Sarah set in the 50’s, detailing a time when she was married and in the middle of a huge scandal while working as a nurse in a mental hospital (which they were doing some very unethical procedures and research nightmare). Combine this with whistleblowing, and undercover work, and threats to your family and you have a nightmare!

It all comes together in the uncovering Emma’s silence, the memories of love, despair, and evil and the much awaited connection between Joe/Laura/Emma/Ray. A must read!
( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 27, 2014 |
This is well written on the whole - which is typical of Diane Chamberlain, and I did enjoy the characters. However, I have to say the plot twists are simply ridiculously melodramatic and a couple of times I just had to laugh out loud and do a lot of groaning. This is the sort of thing a good editor should pick up on and tone down - so I do admit that I grew rather fond of the Evil Doctor (capitals deliberate) and thought he'd make a brilliant main character of his own novel. I think I was supposed to hate him, but I thought he was wonderful.

Not the best Chamberlain novel around then. Oh well. ( )
  AnneBrooke | Aug 22, 2013 |
It's hard to not compare [a:Diane Chamberlain|93345|Diane Chamberlain|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1256484241p2/93345.jpg] with [a:Jodi Picoult|7128|Jodi Picoult|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1305417712p2/7128.jpg] (even the book cover does this) but I didn't really feel like I was reading a Picoult book. Chamberlain's writing is still very distinctive and unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

This book was nearly impossible to put down. It's full of fascinating characters and tons of mystery. The whole time I was just so eager to know what the truth was and there was plenty of keep me entertained until the final truth came out- which I was pretty satisfied with, in the end.

I'm not usually a fan of alternating narrators but I didn't mind it in this one- it worked and it was very easy to follow. Laura is a really likeable character though certainly not flawless or over the top. Emma was interesting, well developed, believable. Dylan was much more likeable than I expected him to be and Ray and Stuart angered me a lot.

The ending was good. Some bits of it were a bit predictable for example Dylan and Laura, but the rest I definitely did not see coming and I loved how it all came together and made sense after so many pages of being confused and wondering how it all could work out. Overall, it was an excellent book and I'm really looking forward to reading more of Chamberlain's work.

For more of my reviews and recommendations, visit my blog: here ( )
  nicola26 | Mar 30, 2013 |
An Amazing book. I could not have predicted the outcome if I had tried. Such an insightful story into 1950s psychiatric care. One of the best books I have ever read. ( )
  lozbeth1 | Mar 16, 2012 |
This book was a real attention grabber with a typically clever Chamberlain plot that hooks you as a reader right from the start. This novel actually has two narratives that cleverly interlink by the end of the story though at first it seems implausible that they are connected at all- one set in the present day and one forty something years previously. The structure works though, with clever flashbacks that really take you into the characters minds. Overall this was emotional and a story of real depth, combining suspense, intrigue and mystery against a family drama. Chamberlain is a writer that really grips you.

The premise of the story is a fairly simple one; a deathbed wish from successful astronomer Laura's father leads to deeply hidden secrets being uncovered that will have dramatic consequences for everyone involved. Though the premise is simple though, this is a novel with twists and turns, trauma and deceit. The plot is fluid and fast paced with lots of bolts out of the blue to keep you guessing. It is admittedly very bleak in parts but mostly emphatic and moving. You do have to wonder how you would handle the same situations if you were faced with them yourself which as an author is a really skilful question to pose your readers.

There were many plot devices that worked: one in particular was acknowledgement after people's deaths and how we really see them in hindsight which was quite insightful and layered excellent retrospective dimensions to the plot. The author has also clearly researched into mental illnesses, mutism, post traumatic stress disorders and their effects as well as the impact a debilitating illness like Alzheimer's can have and also how such cases were treated in the past- some of the archaic methods to treat such conditions were really horrific and made me shudder, but again were woven into the text skilfully.

Generally, all of the characters are excellently drawn with flaws and personality traits that make them believable, if not always likeable. I loved Dylan and Laura and Emma was such a beautiful child and I really felt for her predicament. Halfway through the novel there is the suggestion of what is eventually going to happen but that doesn't detract from the books enjoyment- if anything it makes you as a reader want to read faster to get to the end!

I have deducted one star because one plot twist that I never saw coming, I just felt that it wasn't really needed and it felt a bit creepy (you may understand when you read it)! All in all though, this was an excellent piece of contemporary fiction- suspense, mystery and family drama with a nice dash of romance. I would recommend this if you have never read a Chamberlain book before, or if you are a fan of Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah or Anita Shreve.

*This review also appears on Amazon.co.uk* ( )
  CookieDemon | Mar 8, 2012 |
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To David,
my Tex-Mex and Amana guy.
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The phone rang a few minutes after eleven on Christmas night.
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When fulfilling her father's dying wish leads to a chain of unexpected events, including her husband's suicide, Laura begins to discover secrets in her family's past.

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