The Silence by Susan Allott

Published: August 6th, 2020
Publisher: The Borough Press
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Crime Thriller

Today is my stop on the tour for this riveting debut. Thank you Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and The Borough Press for the gifed copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

It is 1997, and in a basement flat in Hackney Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father, Joe, phoning from Sydney.

30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of summer 1967, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared. Joe claims he thought she had gone to start a new life; but now Mandy’s family is trying to reconnect, and there is no trace of her. Isla’s father was allegedly the last person to see her alive, and he’s under suspicion of murder.

Back home in Sydney, Isla’s search for the truth takes her back to 1967, when two couples lived side by side on a quiet street by the sea. Could her father be capable of doing something terrible? How much does her mother know? And is there another secret in this community, one which goes deeper into Australia’s colonial past, which has held them in a conspiracy of silence?

Deftly exploring the deterioration of relationships and the devastating truths we keep from those we love, The Silence is a stunning debut from a rising literary star.

MY REVIEW:

“This is the community she grew up in. Where people know everything but say nothing.”

Susan Allott is an author to watch. In her debut novel, a dramatic family saga that I couldn’t put down, Allot has captured a sense of time and place so vividly that you can see the outdated wallpaper and feel the acrid heat. It is a mysterious, foreboding, emotional and layered story that takes the reader back to one of the darkest times in Australian history, merging it with the tantalising tale of a woman missing for thirty years and long-held secrets finally being revealed. 

Told using dual narratives, we simultaneously follow neighbouring families the Greens and the Mallories during the summer of 1967. A summer that will leave them inextricably linked after Mandy Mallorie disappears and Joe Green comes under suspicion. In 1997, Isla Green returns home to support her family and tries to get to the bottom of what happened thirty years ago. As Isla delves deeper into the past, shameful secrets resurface that threaten to rock her whole world. Could her father have killed Mandy? And how much does her mother know?

This was a powerful and affecting read. Examining relationships, secrets and lies, the author handles difficult subjects such as domestic abuse and alcoholism in a real but sensitive way. The characters are flawed but intriguing and I couldn’t help but feel invested in their fates.

Atmospheric, haunting, utterly compelling and with a strong emotional resonance, this novel drew me in, transporting me back in time and to the other side of the world. One I would highly recommend, it kept me guessing right until the unforgettable finale. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Susan Allott is a fiction writer whose debut novel THE SILENCE was published in e-book and audio formats on 30th April 2020 by Borough Press (Harper Collins, UK) with the hardback edition due to be published on 6th August 2020. The UK paperback will follow in April 2021.

THE SILENCE was published in North America on 19th May 2020 by William Morrow (Harper Collins, US) with the paperback to follow in May 2021.

In Australia and New Zealand THE SILENCE was published by Harper Collins on 1st May 2020.

Harper Collins will publish THE SILENCE in the rest of its English language territories in August 2020.

In Italy THE SILENCE will be published by Harper Italia and in France by Editions Belfond.

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