Title: In the Quiet
Author: Eliza Henry-Jones
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Read: July 2015
A moving, sweet and uplifting novel of love, grief and the heartache of letting go, from a wonderful new Australian author.
Cate Carlton has recently died, yet she is able to linger on, watching her three young children and her husband as they come to terms with their life without her on their rural horse property. As the months pass and her children grow, they cope in different ways, drawn closer and pulled apart by their shared loss. And all Cate can do is watch on helplessly, seeing their grief, how much they miss her and how - heartbreakingly - they begin to heal. Gradually unfolding to reveal Cate's life, her marriage, and the unhappy secret she shared with one of her children, In the Quiet is compelling, simple, tender, true - heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.
In the Quiet is a touching story told through the eyes of Cate, a young mother and wife killed under tragic circumstances and yet able to remain near her family in a kind of ethereal dreamlike state, watching them from the afterlife yet unable to make her presence felt. As Cate watches her teenage children’s journey through grief and their coming of age without her, she manages to gradually piece together the circumstances surrounding her own death and reconcile the past.
I picked up this book both with curiosity and trepidation, having lost my own mother at the same age Jessa is in the book when Cate is killed and therefore expecting it to reawaken a lot of old buried emotions. However, whilst I enjoyed the rural setting and related to aspects of Cate’s family’s journey through the grieving process, I felt it difficult to emotionally engage with the character of Cate herself. Although Cate talks about her pain and frustration about having to watch her family suffer, these emotions somehow did not come through for me and I would have liked to see a bit more passion, anger, pain. Yet Cate seemed a rather passive observer, watching her children and husband from a safe distance.
Whilst not the emotional roller coaster I had expected, In the Quiet was an enjoyable, unusual story about family, death and the afterlife, and I loved the rural Victorian setting.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.