I have always been fascinated by how people survive in seriously cold climates. I love snow and the way it transforms a landscape but we hardly ever get any here by the sea. I enjoy reading stories of people living in icy places and finding out how they cope in such extreme conditions. I had read both Rosamund Lupton’s previous novels which I had enjoyed. So I was really keen to read this, her latest novel, following a mother and daughter travelling across the ice roads of Alaska to try to find their husband/father who is believed to have been killed in a fire, along with the entire population of a small village.
So I’ll start by saying that Rosamund Lupton’s writing is as beautiful and atmospheric as always. Her descriptions of the cold, bleak landscape made me shiver. The cold was almost a character in itself, creeping up menacingly. As Yasmin, with her deaf daughter Ruby, drive a huge truck north over an ice-road through a storm, I got a real sense of the isolation and challenges they faced. The ice truckers must have a real respect for the weather and physical landscape to survive such conditions. I had to suspend disbelief a bit here as I thought it unlikely that Yasmin would attempt such a perilous journey. Setting that aside though, Lupton’s writing made me understand just how extreme the temperatures were and the dangers faced by Yasmin and Ruby, not least from whoever appears to be following them.
However, the ending of this novel fell a bit flat for me. I thought it was a bit preachy against oil companies, pushing an agenda. The twist didn’t ring true to me. It just all seemed a bit unlikely and a disappointment after what had been an excellent read up to then. There were just a few too many coincidences and unlikely scenarios. I’d give this 3.5/5 stars. Better than just an okay read, but not up to the standards of her previous books.
My thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown for providing a review copy of this book. It will be published on 2nd July 2015 and you can pre-order here: The Quality of Silence.
What the book is about:
On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrive in Alaska. Within hours they are driving alone across a frozen wilderness. Where nothing grows. Where no one lives. Where tears freeze. And night will last for another fifty-four days. They are looking for Ruby’s father. Travelling deeper into a silent land. They still cannot find him. And someone is watching them in the dark.