Review: The Silent Waters by Brittainy C. Cherry

Reviewed by Joanna

Maggie May was a sweet little loudmouth who fell in love at aged ten with her stepbrother’s best friend. Brooks tolerated her chatter and her plans for their wedding, but the day he was late to their rehearsal, deep in the woods, little Maggie witnessed a murder, then was attacked herself by the murderer.

She escaped, but was traumatized and lost the use of her voice, unable to tell anyone what happened. The poor child became mute. For years.

You’d think that most pre-teens would steer away from the weird silent kid in their mix, but Brooks blames himself for what happened to Maggie, and their bond only grew stronger.

As she grows up, housebound Maggie becomes a source of frustration to her mother and stepsister. She has Brooks and stepbrother Calvin to love her, as well as her beloved father, but her world shrinks to only what she can explore in books. She reads voraciously, but her trauma doesn’t heal no matter what therapists and berating her family try. Brooks loves her dearly, but when his big chance comes up to make something of the band he’s formed with Calvin and two friends, he has to take it, and Maggie needs to decide if she can go with him or forever live in her childhood bedroom.

I liked a lot about this story–a standalone in a very loosely connected series. How faithful Brooks started out, with his dedication to his friend ‘Magnet’, and how sweet and caring he was. He found a way for her to communicate with a whiteboard and pens, and included her in everything. When they start dating, he finds ways for her to not miss out. It’s tender and cute.

Maggie managed to be sarcastic and funny without words. She survived a horrible experience and though I liked her a lot, with her friendship with an elderly neighbor, and her notes in books to share her thoughts with Brooks, I also found myself increasingly frustrated by her. I’m glad the author didn’t leap to her being insta-cured by love as soon as her and Brooks had sex or had the big ILY moment, but the amount of time it took dropped the tension for both her healing and the resolution of the murder.

In the meantime, Brooks is off being a rockstar. He also dates other people, and pretty late in the story he’s in a relationship with a model. I didn’t like this. I lost momentum with the love between him and Maggie. The persistent factor—the murder—didn’t arise again until right at the end, so the vast majority of the book was Maggie going on with her trauma, missing out on life and living in one room. Even Brooks life on the road was barely glimpsed and this missed a huge opportunity to add energy. Instead the story relies on further misery to bring the couple back together, which just felt mean.

It’s HEA, and all the loose ends tie in. I’d had this idea about how the murder was going to be solved…

Spoiler – the body had been disposed of in water, and that plus the title and the fact Brooks and Maggie spent an awful lot of time on this lake – well, dead bodies eventually float, right? But unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Overall, this has tender love but in a bleak and somewhat frustrating and claustrophobic (though beautifully written!) setting. This is my third by this author and I’ve found the lack of life and action in her female leads to be irking. That couldn’t be more real here and I wished Maggie could’ve had more substance to her and taken control.

Rating: C

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Silent Waters
by Brittainy C. Cherry
Release Date: September 22, 2016

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