The Quality of Silence is the third book from Rosamund Lupton. I've quite enjoyed her previous two books.
Yasmin leaves England to connect with her wildlife photographer husband Matt, currently in Alaska. The visit was planned, but Yasmin moved up the timetable after the two argued on the phone. With Yasmin is their ten year old daughter Ruby. But, when they arrive, Yasmin is told that her husband has died in a terrible accident. She refuses to accept this and instead sets out to find him or more concrete answers as to what happened. She takes Ruby with her. Ruby is profoundly deaf...
"My name is a shape, not a sound. I am a thumb and fingers, not a tongue and lips. I am ten fingers raised old - I am a girl made of letters. R-U-B-Y. And this is my voice."
Lupton's previous books have featured a female protagonist thrust into extraordinary circumstances, going beyond what they thought they could do.
Yasmin is thrust into that position as well as she attempts to navigate the unyielding cold and darkness of the Alaskan winter, searching for answers. This made for an excellent backdrop for the story - the dark, the danger and the unknown. The desolation of the landscape mirrors Yasmin's angst and fears. But Alaska is beautiful as well and this is mirrored in Ruby's observations and hopes. Lupton does a great job describing her setting. The cold became a palpable entity, chilling me as I read. But, I did have some reservations ....Spoiler alert - stop here.
Could Yasmin really have really driven a heavy duty hauler loaded with a pre-fab house over the treacherous ice roads that are the Alaskan winter? In a storm? Risking their lives? When the 'real' drivers pull over? Yep, I've watched Ice Road Truckers.
It seems someone is just as determined that Yasmin not search for Matt. Again, Lupton does a great job building tension making an ordinary pair of headlights quite ominous.
For me, The Quality of Silence belonged to Ruby. She was a wonderfully engaging character, I loved her outlook on life and her determination to decide how her 'voice' is heard. Her emails to her missing father are quite heartbreaking. I had a hard time with Yasmin - quite frankly, I just didn't like her.
Lupton ramps up the tension as the book progresses. I was invested in the journey - and then the road to the final answers came (too) quickly into view - and I was slightly disappointed. I guess I was looking for more a traditional thriller ending - which was there. But, I thought it too stretched credibility.
Still, The Quality of Silence kept me reading to the last pages. Not my fave of Lupton's three books, but I will pick up the next one without question. Read an excerpt of The Quality of Silence.
You can connect with Rosamund Lupton on her website, on Twitter as well as on Facebook.