Goodness, was it really March when Terry Lynn Thomas joined me here on Being Anne? You can read her guest post again here. It might have taken me rather longer than I intended to get round to reading The Silent Woman – published by HQ Digital in April – but it was most definitely well worth waiting for.
Would you sell your secrets?
Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.
Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.
Can she clear her name before it’s too late?
The setting for this book was a little different from the usual darkness of wartime, and refreshingly so – 1937, life going on much as usual, the threat of war barely visible but steadily escalating in the background. The prologue is an absolute cracker, so well done, setting the context and scene for one of the characters – with clues aplenty around later twists and turns of the story for those who choose to look for them. But red herrings abound in this book, and when the publishers called it “gripping historical fiction” they really did get it absolutely right.
The household where the story is primarily set feels more late Victorian than pre-WW2, but is absolutely perfectly drawn for the tangled web of lies and secrets in this well-told story with a gothic edge that had me absolutely engrossed throughout. Cat Carlisle is a wonderful focus for the story – brave, feisty and independent, passionate about what she believes in, fierce when defending others and righting wrongs. There are though so many excellent characters – the obnoxious sister-in-law with her charitable works and bitterness, her subservient companion, Cat’s cold husband, the brandy-drinking lodger and the rather wonderful bohemian aunt. And everyone’s favourite – other than Cat – will surely be little Annie, fleeing from her home only to land in the middle of a world considerably more dangerous.
The world of espionage isn’t my natural milieu, but maybe I need to try it more often – I really loved this world of cryptic phrases, secret missions, potential assassins and the passing of papers on park benches. As well as being a great read, this book is real fun, edge of seat drama lightened by wonderfully sassy exchanges, and a surprise around every corner. I have only one – very minor – criticism, and that’s the occasional use of “gotten” in a book that’s otherwise as English as cream scones and tea. But I can easily forgive it – I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and absolutely raced through it. More, please…!
About the author
Terry Lynn Thomas grew up the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches, windy dunes, and gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.