THE SILENT LAND by David Dunham

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Today I’m happy to take part in THE SILENT LAND blog tour through HFVBTours!

This is a touching and memorable novel, taking place at the turn of the century and during WWI. The writing is beautiful (check out the excerpt below!). The main character is unforgettable.

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The Silent Land by David Dunham

Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 300 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Rebecca Lawrence reached a count of sixty in her head and slid her finger into the back pages of her mother’s diary. Mistaking the diary for a book granted her innocence the first time she’d opened it. She had no argument for innocence now.’

Just when Rebecca Lawrence believed joy had come into her life, she learns the truth about how her mother died years before. Marriage to her first love and motherhood pulls her back from resentment, only for the First World War to threaten her peace when her husband is sent to fight.

When she discovers another lie which could fracture her world, she is faced with the choice of ignoring it, or letting the scars of the past corrupt her.

Set between 1903 and 1919, The Silent Land explores the complexities of love and the pursuit of truth in grief. The inspirational purity of the heroine will draw readers in, demonstrating how strength can be found at times when it would have seemed inconceivable.

The Silent Land explores the different shades of grief – the loss of a mother through assisted suicide, the loss of a father through a heart attack, and the loss of a husband through conflict. Comparable to works by Colm Tóibín and Sebastian Faulks, this is a moving and eloquently written tale of the overwhelming struggle faced by women left at home during the war.

A poignant tale through a woman’s viewpoint that won’t scare the horses or male readers with an especially effective second half.” – the bookbag.co.uk

I loved the story… makes you appreciate life and what you have.” – Mojomums.co.uk

A detailed story that shows what happens when there are dreadful and terrible secrets within a family and how the shadow of the great and terrible Great War was a long a dark one.” – thatsbooks.blogspot.co.nz

Amazon UK | WH Smith | Waterstone’s | Whitcoulls

Excerpt

The boys were sat at the table, their hands on their laps.

‘Please, begin,’ said Rebecca, pulling out her chair.

James and Sebastian began to eat. Rebecca waited until their mouths were full and said, ‘I’ll be coming with you in the morning. I’ll meet you after school and we’ll travel home together.’

James swallowed. ‘Why will you be in Worcester all day?’

‘I’m not, darling. I’ll be in Birmingham.’

‘Why are you going there?’

‘To visit your Uncle Teddy.’

James looked confused. ‘Why is he in Birmingham?’

‘He’s in hospital.’

‘Is he poorly?’

‘I don’t believe so.’

‘So why is he there?’

Rebecca hesitated and said, ‘I expect he’s hurt.’

‘From the war?’ asked Sebastian.

‘Yes.’ Rebecca took a sip of wine, hoping the questions would stop. James was soaking a potato in melted butter and Sebastian was chewing on a piece of bread.

‘Was Uncle Teddy with Papa?’ said James.

Rebecca remembered what Edward had written: Giving his life to protect mine. ‘He might have been.’

‘How do you know he’s in hospital?’

‘He wrote to me.’

‘What did he write?’

Rebecca took a longer sip of wine. ‘He told me the hospital he’s in and the time I could visit.’

‘Can we come?’ asked Sebastian.

‘No, you need to be at school.’

‘Can we go on Saturday then?’

‘Perhaps.’

James stabbed another potato with his fork. ‘Why didn’t he tell you what was wrong with him?’

‘I really don’t know, James.’

‘Can I read his letter?’

‘No, you can’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because you can’t.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘It was addressed to me, that’s why.’

‘But…’

‘That’s the end of it. No more questions.’

James released his cutlery on to his plate.

‘James!’ snapped Rebecca, banging her fist on the table. ‘You will not behave like that.’

James dropped his head. He finished his dinner in silence and was excused from the table, taking Sebastian with him. Rebecca looked at the three empty chairs and reached for the wine bottle. She poured herself a second glass and then a third, and a fourth, not touching her food. The boys had gone to Rupert whenever she had raised her voice. Now they only had each other.

About the Author

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Having spent his career in the media industry, David Dunham has worked as a reporter, deputy editor, senior producer and homepage editor. David lives in New Zealand, where he was born, though from time to time can be found daydreaming about Worcestershire, England where he was raised.

For more information please visit David Dunham’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 21
Review at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Tuesday, November 22
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, November 23
Review at Beth’s Book Nook

Tuesday, November 29
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 2
Guest Post at Man of la Book

Monday, December 5
Review at Creating Herstory

Wednesday, December 7
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, December 8
Guest Post at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, December 12
Guest Post at Books, Dreams, Life

Tuesday, December 13
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, December 14
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, December 16
Review at The Paperback Pilgrim

Saturday, December 17
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Monday, December 19
Blog Tour Wrap-Up at Passages to the Past

TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum

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I grabbed this YA title as it was on sale for kindle, and I was so thrilled with it that I bought it (in hardcover!) for my teen daughter.

Here’s the overview from GoodReads:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

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I had never read anything by Julie Buxbaum and this is her first YA book, but I can hardly express what a treasure it is! I loved the characters, I loved the storyline, I loved the writing. I could not put it down and welcomed my insomnia so that I could continue reading during the night.

Poor Jessie is dealing with so much — her mother’s death, being new at school, moving from a “typical” Midwestern place to a wealthy part of LA, and being part of a new “step-family”. I think most teens can relate to at least one of these things.

I got it for my 13 year old, and had to ponder this as it is really geared to high school and up (some sexual content/discussion), but she is reading it now and loving it.

Highly Recommended!

Review: “Wild – from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed

My friend Alison suggested I read Cheryl Strayed’s new book “Wild” (thanks, Al!). I tend to stay away from Oprah book club suggestions (purely because I find EVERYONE is reading them and talking about them) but this one looked so intriguing that I purchased it from Amazon.

You probably have already heard about this book, but in case you haven’t, “Wild” follows Cheryl Strayed’s trek along 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (the western cousin to the East’s Appalachian Trail) as she seeks to heal and redefine her life. At the start of the book we find Cheryl as a lost soul. Her mother has died (which devastates her), her relationship with her family of origin is shaky, her biological father is out of the picture, and she’s recently divorced her husband (who seems like he’s still a steady “beacon” in the mire her life has become). She’s been dating a guy who gets her into heroine. She’s openly honest about her sexual promiscuity. In a word, Cheryl is a bit of a mess. Then she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to save and heal herself. It’s a classic “journey to find oneself” story, but it’s Strayed’s own memoir.

I have to say when I started reading this novel, I did not relate to or care for our protagonist. She seemed incredibly self-centered, to the point of hedonistic. She was drifting around her in her life, making bad decisions. She was suffering but dealing with her suffering through self-indulgence. Then she almost randomly decides to hike the PCT with little to no preparation or experience. I actually found that part funny. It was then that I started to connect with Cheryl as her first hiking days were basically bumbling and mishaps. I’d think to myself: “Gee, that would probably be my experience, too: blisters, rattlesnakes, a too-heavy pack, and band-aids that blow away”. By the time Cheryl got to Northern California I was rooting for her to finish. I was hoping she stayed safe (personally, the thought of trekking 1,100 miles alone is terrifying). I was hoping she figured out that her drug use and abuse and her sexual behaviors were not the way to deal with her pain and grief. I was hoping she would come through the journey stronger and wiser and healed.

I’ll leave it to you readers to discover how Cheryl makes out!