Silence is Golden

Written by Jeanne M. Dams
Review by Steve Lewis

Although only a maid in a wealthy mansion, Hilda Johansson has a strong sense of justice (and injustice) in the world. The year is 1903; the locale, South Bend, Indiana. In this third of her adventures, the theme is child abuse — in particular, men who prey on small boys.

In one sense the title should be Silence Is Not Golden, as crimes such as this are usually hushed up quickly. But when a small friend of Hilda’s 12-year-old brother Eric is a victim, and he may be next, her protective instincts go into action immediately. And when Eric sees the perpetrator in action, the title is correct: he must not speak up and draw attention to himself. Equally important to the story is the Swedish Hilda’s ongoing romance with the Irishman Patrick Cavanaugh, and some cracks in their respective families’ opposition are starting to show. And in the background, always present but not ostentatiously so, are the characters’ reaction to new items in their everyday lives (aspirin) and old favorites (circuses and ice cream).

All in all, nicely done. I’m looking forward to my next visit to this ongoing turn-of-the-century saga.