The Silence of Juliet Mann by Joanne Phillips

Review of the new novelette by Joanne Phillips

Cover of Joanne Phillips' new noveletteThis neat novelette contains Joanne Phillips’ trademark mix of thoughtfulness and humour, telling the story of a young woman struggling to overcome the lifelong affliction of a stammer.

It’s all but transformed her into a hermit, doors of opportunity slamming shut at every turn, and will continue to do so for as long as she’ll allow it.

The resolution isn’t obvious but it’s satisfying, making this a heartwarming, thought-provoking read.

Wintry rather than Christmassy

Although not really a Christmas book, it’s very atmospheric for the festive season, from the opening contrast of the white-bedecked winter bride burning up with embarrassment as she struggles to make her vows at the altar, to her transformation in the final snowy scene, which I’m not about to spoil for you here. This scene got me thinking of other classic jiltings – Jane Eyre, and, more modern, Elaine Robinson the movie of The Graduate (boy, I love the ending of that film!)

Subtle help for self-doubters

Stammering (NOT stuttering, as we’re firmly told throughout) is a tricky, sensitive subject, handled well here, explaining how it feels to be the stammerer with stark contrasts between the heroine’s eloquent written narrative and her hesitant speech.

If you doubt that anyone could make it into adulthood before properly addressing her stammer, think again – it can all too easily happen. I know of someone with similar issues (stress-induced Tourette’s) that, astonishingly, were never actually spoken about in her family, sentencing her to a life of relative isolation and lost opportunities. Well done to Joanne Phillips for putting the case so well for those in such situations. Anyone who reads this book can’t help but be more sympathetic and supportive should they meet anyone like Juliet Mann in future. That in itself is an excellent reason to buy, read and share this book.

Find out more about Joanne Phillips and her many other books on her author website: www.joannephillips.co.uk

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