A Chilling Thriller: Everyday eBook reviews The Quality of Silence

News 16th February 2016

A Chilling Thriller: Rosamund Lupton’s The Quality of Silence

Reading bestselling author Rosamund Lupton’s newest thriller, The Quality of Silence, this time of year is to feel the cold as if you are standing outside naked. Set in Alaska at the height of winter, the weather is its own character. As with Afterwards, Lupton again features a mother and daughter as the center relationship; Yasmin has brought her daughter, Ruby, to Alaska to visit husband and father Matt. Upon arrival, they are told he has died in a horrible fire that obliterated the small village, Anaktue, where he was staying. Unwilling to accept his death, Yasmin sets out to the remote village in the Arctic Circle, despite a horrible storm barreling down. Yasmin brings her ten-year-old daughter along; she would rather have Ruby by her side than leave her in an unknown place with a person they don’t know. Especially as Ruby is deaf — thus making communication with others more difficult.

While the plotline can occasionally pass the line of believability, Lupton’s writing allows the reader to suspend that disbelief as she gets caught in the propulsion of the journey. As Yasmin and Ruby attempt to outrun the storm, they also realize that there may be someone following them in an attempt to railroad their hunt: two blue lights not far behind, always finding them. As the story continues, it is hard to decide which is the greater danger: the blue lights behind them or the Alaskan winter weather.

Lupton tells the story from two points of view: Yasmin’s and Ruby’s. This allows the reader to experience the journey through both of their eyes and to learn about their relationship from both a mother’s and a daughter’s perspective. While Ruby’s deafness adds a different prong to the story, the problems that it causes in their relationship still boil down to issues that underlie a lot of mother/daughter conflicts. The dual narrative also gives the reader insight into the complex dynamics the two have with Matt, and the misperceptions they have of the other’s relationship with him.

Alaska, in all its glory, is its own character. Lupton’s portrayal of the bitter, dark winter weather is always present, even in small details. The clothing and gear that Yasmin and Ruby have. The speed at which frostbite sets in. The danger of hypothermia. The last tree as one continues north. The barrenness of the land. Lupton’s talent as a writer really comes through in these passages. She writes at one point:

“The land’s purity and huge aloneness, its balance of details in a larger whole, made it feel to him more like a living poem than a place.”

This is also the story of a marriage. We learn early on that Yasmin and Matt’s marriage is at the brink of failure. Matt has kissed another woman, and the silence between the two has grown as they have become more complacent in their relationship. However, Yasmin’s love is obviously deep and true as she refuses to believe he is dead and embarks on this dangerous journey to find him.

The Quality of Silence will have you turning pages into the deep, dark night, rooting for Yasmin and Ruby while shivering under your blanket.

Visit the review on Everyday eBook’s website here.