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2.0 out of 5 starsIt was just ok.
Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2020
Positive first- I enjoyed the past to present style of writing. The story was interesting and the pace was just right. It was a good tale of what is or isn’t honest and the importance of the meaning of family. The bad- The author clearly is into fitness and it would have been obvious even if it weren’t in her profile. The blatant PSAs in the story interrupt the flow and they are numerous. The main character seems likable at first, but her attitude about weight and exercise, while well intentioned, come off as elitist and extremely judgmental. I love to exercise and I know the importance of a healthy diet but I certainly wouldn’t judge another for having soda or a bite of dessert after they’ve already eaten one. Maybe the good intentions are ok for some, but this really rubbed me the wrong way. After it got to be too much, I just finished the story to find out what happened. I do think it ended well and I’m glad I finished it.
The Disharmony of Silence is a lovely book. Its dual structure, today and the early twentieth century, works well. Carolyn’s voice is absolutely authentic, and a trustworthy omniscient narrator relates the earlier sections. Its plot unfolds like a mystery. Both baseball and Yiddish expressions, then and now, help to establish character and setting. Ultimately, this fine novel explores the price of secrets and what family really means.
We go between 1915 and 2010. Carolyn who is in the present time is facing the loss of her mother and that she has no other family in her life. The portrait her mother always had hanging in her home that Carolyn would talk to when she was a child, only now discovers is wearing the same cameo as the one her mother use to wear that she found in her jewelry box. So Carolyn talks to her friend Anita and then starts investigating this intriguing cameo. So much depth to this book found it captivating.
5.0 out of 5 starsEvery family has secrets-will these remain hidden
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2020
This was a story that touched my heart in ways I never expected. It made me think —Is half a truth still a lie? Is holding back what you know being deceitful? What do we not say to protect those we love? This was a very well written book that will have meaning for every generation. I recommend this book and thank the author for writing it.
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020
Fascinating conundrum, and one I've struggled with myself - if you suspect a family secret, do you try to ferret it out? And, if you know a family secret that no one else does, is it yours to tell, even decades later? Carolyn, in the present day, begins this book determined to find out the answer to a mystery. As she gets closer to the secret of almost a century before, she needs to weigh the effect of its revelation not just for herself, but for the rest of her family. Full of period detail of early 19th-century New York, and modern-day California, the novel had me turning the pages to find out what Carolyn decides. I couldn't predict the ending, which I always like in a book, yet it felt like the right one.
Strong emotions and misunderstandings reoccur through several generations causing pain and desperate situations. Inner conflict between the individual's own strong desires and the possible greater good creates a tension in this story that adds depth amid the struggle in this well developed story.
The Disharmony of Silence is a fast-paced, multi-generational novel whose main plot centers around solving the mystery of the origins of a unique cameo in a painting. The novel examines the themes of grief, loneliness, and friendship, questioning the meaning of what makes a true family. The characters of Carolyn, Kate, and Ben are well-drawn and fit nicely into the present-day story. Lena, Jack, and their mothers form a fascinating counterpoint in the "origin" story, as well as a believable look at the complicated jealousies confronting many immigrants at the turn of the century. I read this quickly, getting involved immediately and staying with it until the satisfying ending that confronts the responsibility of the holder of genealogical knowledge. A compelling look at the long-term, life-altering consequences of family secrets.
In 1915 Jack and Lena begin their relationship in secret, due to a family fall out. Eventually the couple become clean and when Jack and Lena marry. A true is called.
Meanwhile in the present. Carolyn mother is poorly. As she begins to sort her mother's belonging out. She stumbled across some questions about her family history. A secret... She cannot ask her mother so it's time for Carolyn to do some detective and find the truth.
This book is brilliant. The chapters change from past to present. Which is one of the things I love about it. I feel like I'm kept on the edge of the seat, trying to figure out the family secret.
The author builds up a great story and I found myself reading it in one sitting.
I would recommend this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
2.0 out of 5 starsA very good beginning, but it peters out to an unsatisfactory ending
Reviewed in Canada on September 7, 2020
With a title like The Disharmony of Silence you might expect a weighty story with plenty of substance and it sure appears to start that way. Fluctuating between the early 1900's and nearly 100 years later to encompass a century of passing time, we are introduced to some Jewish immigrants from Russia, The Roth family, and The Pearl family who began their journey from Russia as best friends and end up parting company after a disagreement about a business they were originally supposed to open together. Eventually they stop speaking to each other. But like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Jack Roth and Lena Pearl fall in love and marry. Eighty-five years or so later, the daughter of these two is in an old age home near death and her only visitor is her daughter, Carolyn. Carolyn is packing up her mother's house and selling all her possessions as her mother will never be able to return to that home. Amongst her mother's things she finds two items of interest, a cameo broach and a portrait painting which has hung in the dining area during her entire lifetime. The woman in the painting is wearing the distinct broach. Such begins Carolyn adventure to find out who the woman is in the portrait. Sounds great right? So how did it turn into a the end product, a silly book which spends several chapters talking about diabetes and exercise, which should have been fact checked by a doctor for just the errors I noticed after experiencing diabetes in my own family. The beginning is great and promising but the middle and end are slow, tedious and eventually unsatisfying.