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Meentje63

The Way She Reads

My thoughts on everything I read; good, bad and indifferent.

The Most Wonderful of Ghost Stories

A Silence Kept - Theo Fenraven

This book is a gem, and it doesn’t reveal its full sparkle until the very last sentence on the very last page. This story achieved the impossible in that it left me both heart-crushingly devastated and joyfully happy. I’m an emotional mess right now and hard pressed to articulate how I feel. I have a smile on my face while feeling sad, and it’s kinda wonderful :)

 

In fact, the whole book is like that. A Silence Kept is a wonderful mixture of spooky and sweet, sad and happy. One minute I would find myself reading with my heart in my throat only to have a smile stretched across my face a few paragraphs later, just before my heart was crushed by the palatable despair one of the characters conveys. And the progression from one emotion to the next was so unforced, smooth, and natural, my own reactions took me by surprise occasionally.

 

I liked Mikal and Seth and how they interacted. The connection between them is almost instant which could have been too much of a good thing, except that the situation they’re in forces them to take it slow-ish. Besides, I’m a firm believer in love at first sight. It happened to me and twenty-eight years later I can vouch for the fact that sometimes what you feel the moment you meet someone is very real and can be very lasting. So, not only do I buy insta-love, I enjoy reading it because it brings back wonderful memories.

 

I liked Mikal’s relationship and connection with Thomas, his ghost, as much as I liked his interaction with Seth. The way Mikal approached Thomas, once he got over his fear, made him a rather wonderful character. It’s hard not to fall for a man who would hug a crying ghost because he’s sounding so very desperate.

 

I don’t want you to think this was a soppy story though. There’s a constant underlying threat of danger. While Seth seemed very certain that Thomas was unlikely to hurt either Mikal or him, I found myself constantly afraid he might be wrong and reading along on the edge of my seat—literally waiting for something (else) to go boom in the night.

 

I’m almost sorry we didn’t also get the story from the ghost’s point of view. Because I have my theories about what might have been going through Thomas’s mind while he observed Seth and Mikal trying to figure out what had happened to him and why. Having said that, the ghost’s actions, and the way they changed, gave a very clear impression of what he had to be thinking and feeling. A clear case of ‘showing not telling’ done very, very well.

 

You’d think I’d be used to it after all the books I’ve read by this author, but his ability to bring a place or person to life using only a few, very well chosen, words still takes my breath away. I felt the heat while reading this story and the chills were so graphic I found myself moving closer to the electric heater, just to stay warm. Theo Fenraven’s skill with the English language takes what are intriguing stories to a whole new level of awesome. I read his books as much to lose myself in the fantasy as to admire the beauty of the language and the masterful way in which he uses it.

 

It’s funny. I rarely read ghost or other scary stories. It never occurred to me to look for Halloween themed books in October as I do for Christmas reads in December. And yet, this is the second ‘spooky season’ in a row during which Theo Fenraven has me reading a seasonal book. Last year I lost myself in The Haunted Maze—a story that still plays on my mind occasionally, and this year I decided to dive into A Silence Kept. The authors for whom I happily leave behind my tried and trusted genres and delve into something new and potentially uncomfortable, are few and far between, Fen is one of them.

 

My copy of this book came with a different cover, one I much prefer if I'm honest: