Beyond the Silence

Written by Kimberly Woodhouse Tracie Peterson
Review by Lauren Miller

It’s 1891, and seven-year-old Jimmy Colton hasn’t spoken a word in the year following his mother’s death, and his father, Woody, an olive farmer, is plum worn out. Inexperienced, but compassionate, Miss Lillian Porter has travelled from Indiana to Angels Camp, California, to be Jimmy’s nanny. Her timing couldn’t be worse – half the town suspects Woody was involved in the death of his wife, and it’s clear to Lillian that something traumatic occurred. But if she can draw Jimmy out, will the truth paint Woody Colton in a better light, or will it endanger them all with a killer still at large?

The story features some real historical characters in minor roles, and the reader gets an interesting look at how an olive farm operated in the late 19th century. The storytelling was to me, surprising, the authors having five points of view in a single trade paperback, but too often villains have no redeeming traits and their association taints everything; here, we see how a twisted sense of morality can lead someone to the unthinkable.  Peterson and Woodhouse also tackle a sticky thematic subject – being hurt in a church environment – without the message becoming overbearing. Recommended.