Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

This is a novel that pulls readers in immediately because there’s so much at stake for Yasmin and her daughter, Ruby. The pair hope to rescue Matt, Yasmin’s husband and Ruby’s father, from an outpost in Northern Alaska that burned to the ground.

Despite a terrible childhood, Yasmin has found the love of her life in Matt whose adventurous spirit matches her own. Even with a few challenges–like her daughter’s disability and Matt’s tendency to wander, Yasmin believes in his love.

Police, however, have decided there are no survivors. Refusing to give up hope, Yasmin and Ruby make their way North by convincing a truck driver to take them to DeadHorse. From there they hope to take a taxi plane to Anaktue.

Yasmin takes matters into her own hands when he becomes ill; she drives the truck herself across dangerous icy roads.

Fans of psychological suspense will love Lupton’s foray into the world of ice trucking. This is a complex novel about motherhood, disability, and ethical choices.

On one hand, Yasmin has felt that becoming a mother (especially a mother to a child who is so vulnerable) has made her invisible:

“It shocked her to realize that for years she’d felt bland, dull even to herself. Around her, everyone else’s characters were clearly defined, the borders of their personalities etched sharply, but not hers. She’d had tasks and chores and love for Ruby, huge love for her, but how would she have described who she was? Somewhere along the line she’d lost the idea of herself.”

Thus, the mother’s dangerous quest to find her husband is also quest to find her lost self. Yasmin endures the bitter cold of the Dalton highway, a possible stalker and the hazards of trucking during a storm.

Equally brave, Ruby decides how and when she’ll use her voice. Despite her mother’s repeated requests that she use her real voice, Ruby uses “Voice Magic” and twitter. In one courageous move at the end, Ruby uses this technology to thwart the evil doers who wish to harm her family.

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