I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Silent Treatment today. This is a wonderful novel and one that I recommend if you need something a little comforting in these strange times.
Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.
For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.
Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.
Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?
With characters that will capture your heart, The Silent Treatment celebrates the phenomenal power of love and the importance of leaving nothing unsaid.
The Silent Treatment tells the story of Frank and Maggie. They’ve been married for some 40 plus years, but – at the start of the novel – Frank hasn’t spoken to Maggie for six months. The reason for this isn’t clear – there is no apparent animosity between them, and Maggie is at a loss to explain the situation. Frank has never been particularly loquacious, but to not speak to someone at all for six months is out of character even for him, particularly when they’ve had a good marriage up until this point. As Frank is forced to speak once more, he tells their story, gradually building up to what caused his silence.
Frank’s story of their relationship is lovely. He tells the reader how they met and his instant fascination with the vibrant and outgoing Maggie – someone who seems to be quite at odds with his own more studious demeanour. His infatuation is obvious although he’s extremely tentative at first, unsure as to whether she feels the same. If it’s not quite love at first sight for Frank, it’s close to it. Their relationship develops, they marry, and Frank takes the reader through their life together. What is clear throughout is Frank’s utter devotion to Maggie, and this of course raises the question of what caused him to stop speaking to her for so long. I couldn’t see the usual reasons for a relationship going south applying here, and so I was at a loss to explain his behaviour.
There are two sides to every story, and the reader gets Maggie’s version of events through her diary. While Frank focuses predominantly on the good, Maggie’s thoughts tend more toward those incidents that she feels a need to explain or atone for, giving her diary a confessional feel. Some incidents are small and relatively inconsequential, others carry more significance. I think that it’s a structure that works brilliantly, and I like the way in which Frank gives his side of the story first rather than the usual alternating perspectives. It’s a structure that allows the reader to understand the background to their lives and relationship, whilst still raising a few questions that aren’t answered until Maggie’s perspective kicks in. I particularly enjoyed seeing Frank through Maggie’s eyes as opposed to his own view of himself.
The Silent Treatment is the story of one couple’s journey through life, marriage, and the inevitable high and lows that everyone faces at some point. Frank and Maggie are such an endearing couple, and I was rooting for them throughout – I wanted them to find a way past whatever caused Frank’s silence. It’s a novel that is humorous, uplifting, and at times heartbreakingly sad. It’s a wonderful story, and I fully expect The Silent Treatment to feature on many books of the year lists, my own included.
The Silent Treatment was published on 2 April by Century. Many thanks to the publisher and Georgina Moore for the early review copy, and to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the blog tour.
Make sure you check out the other wonderful bloggers taking part in the tour: