Skip to main content

Recommended For You

Loading...

Shopping Cart

You're getting the VIP treatment!

Item(s) unavailable for purchase
Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item(s) now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout.
itemsitem
itemsitem

Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5
5 Stars
15 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
3 reviews have 4 stars
3 Stars
3 reviews have 3 stars
2 Stars
1 reviews have 2 stars
1 Star
0 reviews have 1 stars

Share your thoughts

You've already shared your review for this item. Thanks!

We are currently reviewing your submission. Thanks!

Complete your review

All Book Reviews

  • a slow burn thriller

    “We’re all liars… It’s not a question of whether we lie or not, it’s a question of what lies we choose to tell. And to whom.” The Silent Listener is the first novel by Australian editor and author, Lyn Yeowart. George Henderson, a respected member of the Blackhunt community, is dead. His daughter, Joy, called back after a seventeen-year absence to care for her dying father, might be expected to grieve, but does not. Senior Constable Alex Shepherd, summoned to the scene by George’s doctor, is suspicious: did Joy murder her father? If so, why? In 1942, after a very short courtship, Gwen marries George Henderson and is brought to his newly-purchased dairy farm at Blackhunt in rural Victoria. From his detailed instructions, his rigid rules, his tight control of every aspect of her life, and his physical abuse, Gwen understands that this marriage will never be what she had expected. Having no alternative, Gwen works hard to keep George happy and seeks refuge in her chooks and her flowers and the tiny room where she makes bouquets and wreaths to earn a few pounds. Within a decade, Gwen has given birth to a son, Mark, and two daughters, Ruth and Joy. She tries to protect them, but without a clear example of mothering in her own life, is less than successful. Her children grow up learning to fear their father’s mercurial moods, which might deteriorate from the amount of rain that falls or the size of the butter factory cheque or the vet’s bill, or the perceived breaking of one of his countless arbitrary rules; they live in constant fear of the corporal punishment he seems to relish in dishing out to his “dirty, filthy sinners who are going to rot in Hell”. George is a pillar of the community: an Elder of the Church, active in Rotary, a member of the High School PTA, the Fire Brigade, and the Shire Council committee, always helpful to neighbours, loved and lauded by all. When nine-year-old Wendy Boscombe goes missing two days after Christmas in 1960, no one in the town of Blackhunt could imagine he would have anything to do with it. But Wendy is never found, and Alex Shepherd is plagued by his failure to find her. The story plays out over three time periods and is told from three perspectives. Readers are likely to wonder from the start about reliability of Joy’s narrative, and will feel vindicated about certain aspects as the facts are revealed, but there are still plenty of red herrings, distractions and twists to keep the pages turning. The building tension in the story is sometimes relieved by neighbour Robert Larsen’s amusing word confusions (fire distinguisher, a quick trump call, obliviously, a fine lemming meringue pie), Joy’s insidious little acts of revenge, her musings about God, and the images and feelings that certain words convey to her. The easy acceptance of Gwen’s search of the Death Notices for “good ones” highlights the distortion of normality in this family. Yeowart’s portrayal of setting and era are faultless, and the mindset of this small Australian rural community in each of the time periods is likely to strike a chord with many. Her character development is particularly skilful, and her depiction of coercive control is chilling. Her cop, if tenacious, is not terribly clever, but he does (sort of) get there in the end. This is a slow burn thriller that richly rewards the reader’s patience. More from Lyn Yeowart will be eagerly anticipated. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Penguin Australia.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Dark and gripping. Loved it.

    Dark and gripping. Rich characters with an utterly believable sense of menace threaded throughout. It builds nicely to a satisfying ending. Really excellent.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Stunning debut, a dark and compelling family drama

    This book was amazing, even more so as it was a debut! A dark, claustrophobic and harrowing journey that tells the story of the Henderson family in a small, Australian rural community where the father, George, is outwardly a pillar of the community and the church but his family know differently. It is told in three timelines - the early 1940s while WWII is still raging and many goods are rationed, the early 1960s when daughter Joy is 11 and 12, and 1983 when Joy comes home to care for her dying father. This is a story of a toxic family, of lies and secrets, of damaged children and religion wielded as a whip. It is also about resilience and the extraordinary lengths people can go to when desperate. In 1942 George Henderson meets Gwen at a dance and sweeps her off her feet. They are married 2 months later after a whirlwind romance. When Gwen is whisked off to the marital home, a rather marginal dairy farm miles from anywhere, her world changes completely. George has rules, lots of rules. By and by the children are born. First Mark who learns from an early age that crying is against the rules and later Joy. There is also Ruth but Ruth had an unfortunate ‘accident’ so we don’t really talk about her much. We join the family again in 1960 when Joy is 11. In this time period she makes a friend and loses another as 9 year old Wendy Boscombe disappears, never to be seen again. Mark is beaten down and desperate to leave home and Ruth is the only one keeping Joy sane as they plot against their father. In 1983 Joy returns home to care for her dying father (or not)! In this time period all the toxic pus leaches out and a lot of things become clear. Senior Constable Shepherd who was part of the search for young Wendy all those years ago, a case that still haunts him today, is called when George finally fizzles out. He is now the only police officer in the little town and the circumstances of George Henderson’s death are ambiguous to say the least. Shepherd is determined to pin it on Joy but as he investigates and learns more about the family he finds that nothing is as it seems and nothing is clear. This book was chilling, spellbinding and compelling. It is not a thriller but a dark domestic drama that leaves you intensely unsettled most of the time. When you learn how George managed to evade the draft for the war you just want to slap his horrid fictional face! There were some mixed reactions to this. It is rather long and rather bleak but I read it in record time as I couldn’t put it down. I had to know how it ended. This will be one of my favourite books of the year and I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next. Just one comment on the blurb - it mentions gothic, there is nothing gothic about a small, struggling, Australian dairy farm so if that’s your schtick you may be disappointed. Other than that I highly recommend this book. I received an advance review copy for free from Netgalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Great read

    Thoroughly enjoyed Lyn's magnificent debut novel. So well written, so many twists and turns, it kept me guessing until the end.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Terrific read

    Loved this book from start to finish. The eloquence of the words used to tell the story adds to the intensity of the story line. Well worth the read, impressive for a first novel!

    Thanks for your feedback!

    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

You can read this item using any of the following Kobo apps and devices:

  • DESKTOP
  • eREADERS
  • IOS
  • ANDROID
  • TABLETS