Cover Image: THE SILENT LISTENER

THE SILENT LISTENER

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A solid debut mystery set in rural Australia. The lives of the characters drew me in and kept me reading long past my bedtime.
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I took too long to read and review this book, but have had life problems going on. I finally took the time to read it and I really enjoyed it. I'm always concerned with books set in another country due to different words and sayings. I did have to look up a couple things, but for the most part you could understand everything going on with out looking anything up. Chooks are birds would be the most helpful. This was a book where I was annoyed being interrupted. It hooked me in and kept me there. My heart broke for Gwen, Joy and Mark. It had a nice twist at the end. I had an inkling that there would be something along those lines, but never fully guessed it. This has  child/spousal abuse as triggers in it, I wouldn't recommend to anyone that has experienced this in their life. It's so hard to imagine how someone can live like that or to hurt your loved ones like that. It's an outrage. It kept me turning page after page wanting to find out what the real story was. The ending did leave me wanting more information, but it did tie up nicely, I just wanted to know more. I will be checking out other books by this author. Thanks Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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This book was really hard to read. Not because it was not written well because of the topics it covered. A girl is consistently reminded growing up she is not good enough. Worthless. Yet fast forward to her adult life and she is back where she started nursing her dad in his final days. It is heartbreaking. Hard to read. And covers brutally honest topics of abuse. It  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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A debut novel from Lyn Yeowart, with echoes of Jane Harper at the start with psychological twists and turns from the outset. There's a move towards a more of a horror/ thriller midway which isnt my kind of book, with lots of violence which might be triggering to readers. Im not sure who I would be able to recommend it to, its quite an unusual mix.
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I had trouble with this story. I couldn’t get into it, even though the concept really intrigued me.  It just didn’t work for me, but it could be someone else’s great read. So I encourage people to give it a read because it could be your favorite.
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This just want for me I didn't feel invested at all with the characters.  Not sure what it was just I thought it didn't strike the right chords.
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Ok, so I'n not gonna lie, I figured out the whole "Ruth plot twist" at around 20% and the ending at around 50%. It didn't make me enjoy the book less, though. The writing isn't ideal, but as a whole it's a very interesting and readable story.
It's quite depressing, so don't expect any feel-good parts. Everything here is depressing - the George/Gwen parts, the Joy/Ruth parth.. the poverty, the abuse, the turning a bling eye to the abuse. This book left me drained and depressed.
I totally recommend it.
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This is a great debut novel, an emotional read. The story is told through three time periods and three perspectives set in a rural Australian community. A few good twists keeps you reading. Highly recommend.
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It is truly shocking to learn that The Silent Listener is just the author's debut novel. The story is gripping and atmospheric with very well-developed, intriguing characters. The book is set in Australia and told in three timelines - 40s, 60s, 80s. The 80s timeline serves as present day when George Henderson is found dead with a belt around his neck. His daughter Joy came back to nurse him back to health leading her to become a suspect in his murder. The 60s timeline is when Joy was only 11/12 years old and shows her abusive childhood. The 40s timeline is when George met Gwen (Joy's mother). The story is part psychological thriller, part family drama, part mystery. It's truly a gripping novel. Highly recommended!! Be sure to check out The Silent Listener today.
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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ -- WOWZA!

This by far is the best book I have read this year! It completely blew me away that this is the author's debut novel! The writing was phenomenal. It was well paced. The setting was atmospheric and bleak. The characters were well developed and intriguing. The plot was intricate and compelling. Each minor revelation akin to peeling the layers of an onion. And that ending...WOW! I honestly don't know what else to say about it other than if you can only read one book this year, this should be it!

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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This book jumps back and forth from the past to the present as we try to untangle the death of George Henderson, who ruled his family with violence.  I liked Joy and the way her brain sees images for words.  At the start of the book these descriptive images really got in the way of my reading progress as I got hung up on them, but then I learned the way Joy expresses her thoughts and was able to read through them faster.  This gave me a hint into her father's death and I was able to guess very early in the book how it would end.  I was right in my prediction and yet I was still surprised by the actual events that took place, and by Joy herself.  For me, the last third of the book was far better than the first two thirds, as it picked up speed with Shepherd and Vicki working together to solve the mystery.  Vicki is completely unbelievable as a doctor with the private client information she shares willy nilly with Shepherd, however the story wouldn't be interesting without her.

Two things I was left confused by.  First, unless I missed it, we did not find out how Joy's mother died.  Second, what did her father actually confess to on his death bed?

I did not find this book to be the electrifying literary thrilled it claims to be and had a very hard time making myself read it at times.  

Thank you NetGalley and Joffe Books for the ARC digital edition of this book in exchange for my review.
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I tried to read this twice. The first time I DNF. The second time I slowed down and really tried. It was definitely easier to read but I had to talk myself through it. The story did get better and the murder mystery was more interesting than the rest of the story. I did suspect the truth about the murder from the beginning so that wasn’t a shock but there were some shock elements. Unfortunately, even when I was interested I did find myself skimming through a good portion of the text. I think the book would’ve benefited from being shorter in length where the bulk of it could’ve then been just rich, edge-of-your-seat mystery plot. This was labeled as a thriller but I was missing the thrill. Posted to Goodreads, Amazon and my bookstagram
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Another debut, another 5-star rating, and another new and talented Australian author to follow!

I absolutely love reading debut novels because I'm always on the hunt for new authors and books to fall in love with. This was such a stunning novel, and the writing was of such high quality that Lyn Yeowart has just scored a massive new fan.

Have you ever read a book where you just knew instantly that you were going to love it? Well, that's what happened to me here. I hadn't even read a full chapter when I just knew that this author and this book were for me. The writing was fantastic, the scene setting was amazing, the characters were so vivid and alive in my mind, and the story itself was riveting. The setting, being a desolate farm in rural Australia just gave me all the feels and I can't think of a better setting for the things that went on in this novel. 

I've seen this book described as a psychological thriller, but that it is not. This is definitely a dark, emotional family drama, a mystery and a suspense novel all rolled into one. There are some despicable characters who I despised from the start, and then there are characters that I loved the one minute and didn't like the next. And that's because this is a constantly evolving story. Nothing is as it seems in this novel, and nothing is ever stagnant. The plot is constantly evolving, and the characters are changing all the time, twisting, turning, and showing you new sides to themselves, and shocking you with what they are capable of. This is an intelligent novel that might not be for everyone. It's not what I would describe as an easy beach read. It's heavy, it's emotional, and it's extremely haunting, but it's so frikkin' good!! (Not the best English that I'm using here, but I just needed to say that. :-))

At its base, this is the story about an 11-year old girl named Joy, and her relationship with her extremely abusive father and her strange, evasive and unprotective mother. But it's also a story that's so much more than that. It's about sibling loyalty and love, murder, religion, revenge, deceptive appearances, lies, jealousy, the haves and the have nots, and how we should never judge people based on what they portray themselves to be, because their true natures might just be far removed from the side that they show the world. Some people hide behind facades, and religion, and all things good, and this book highlights exactly that. But trust me, even though the main character in this book is an 11-year old girl, this is an extremely adult novel, so don't be put off by Joy's age.

Ah, I just absolutely loved this story. The strange thing is that I found it slightly slow on the one hand, but yet I couldn't stop turning the pages on the other. It pulls you in so slowly, but trust me, it will pull you in. There are murders to be solved, mysteries to unravel and atrocious people to try and understand. And the twists and turns in the second half, oh boy, they were quite something. As I've said already, nothing is as it seems when it comes to the lives and the relationships of this family. But be warned, this is not an easy book to read, and it will make you uncomfortable at times. There's child abuse, woman abuse, violence, opinions on God and religion, and some other aspects that had my stomach turning. Anyone care for some eel stew for dinner, with fresh eels just caught in the muddy dam? I'll say no more. Argh! 

At the end of the day, I'm so happy that I read this book and that I tried this new author. It's an instant favourite and it's up there with my favourite reads of the year. I finished reading it yesterday and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. If you're up for it, give this one a read. And I hope you love it as much as I did. It deserves to be loved.
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An emotional and heartbreaking story set in rural Australia, The Silent Listener follows a dairy farmer's family and the outback town surrounding them. Yet, for Joy, it feels a million miles away.

The Henderson's own a small dairy farm, barely scraping by with the meagre profits they make selling milk to the butter factory and mother Gwen's funeral wreaths. The story covers the family, farm, and surrounding community over the decades, from when Gwen is first swept up by handsome and kind George Henderson, to the cusp of their children's adolescence, until the final days of George's life.

The plot progresses quite cleverly with shifts through time, showing the progression of Gwen and George's relationship and how easy it is for a compassionate young woman to fall into an unkind marriage and, eventually, ignore the screams of her children being belted by her husband. We also see Joy, her sister Ruth, and brother Mark navigating a childhood of strict obedience and abuse.

These topics are, of course, all heartbreaking, and at times, intensely difficult to read. But Yeowart writes with such conviction that you feel compelled to witness Joy (and her mother and siblings) suffering and acknowledge that this happened, and still happens, hidden in homes. The addition of a community supporting the family's abuser because, in their eyes, he is a good, righteous, pious pillar of the community makes the story all the more upsetting but believable.

Although The Silent Listener is classed as a psychological thriller and mystery, I would hesitate to say that. While there are some mysteries and crimes, it's more domestic drama, although drama at its darkest and deepest levels.

It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel, with such a difficult story told so deftly and with a striking balance between the beauty of young Joy's imagination and the cruel and unyielding outside world. Lyn Yeowart is definitely a writer to watch.

I don't doubt that The Silent Listener will not be for everybody. Sometimes I thought it wasn't for me, but whenever I considered putting it down, I felt compelled to learn the rest of Joy's story, and I'm glad I did.

4.5/5
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What a debut The Silent Listener by Lyn Yeowart is!   The Henderson family lives in rural Australia and this novel follows them during three decades - the 1940's, 60's and the 80's.  It's very raw and sometimes very hard to read.  But so worth it!   The characters are very well written and will stay with you even after the book has been read.   Highly recommend!  Thank you #NetGalley for an early copy!
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I really wasn’t sure what to expect from The silent Listener but I certainly wasn’t expecting to be enthralled and completely immersed in the way I was.  The Silent Listener is a story of family, revenge and relationships and it blew me away.   Lyn Yeowart has effortlessly (or so it feels) created an atmospheric novel that is uncomfortable to read in places but impossible to tear yourself away from. 
Spanning four timelines, it’s the story of Gwen, George and Joy Henderson (plus Joy’s siblings ruth and Mark).  Chapters from each timeline are interwoven so that snippets of the story are revealed without giving too much away in one go.
In chronological order there is the story of how George and Gwyn meet and set up their life together.  Then we get glimpses into their lives later on when they have children and are a part of the small community they live in.  Fast forward much further and Joy is an adult who has been called home to care for her dying father.  Additionally, there are also some chapters in the present after Joy’s father has died and there is some suspicion over how.  It sounds a lot but the are organised perfectly and written in a way that they flow.  I loved peeling back the layers of the story with each new chapter – it started with the end but that wasn’t the goal.  The goal was to discover they why and the how, the motivation behind choices.  It’s an insightful look into the human mind and builds steadily until it reaches a crescendo of the biggest proportions. 
A superb suspense novel that draws you in.  It’s harrowing and unforgettable and has stayed with me for days.  
An excellent debut novel and I shall certainly be looking out for more writing by Lyn Yeowart.
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What A STORY! wow I loved how atmospheric this was & I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a thriller
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This story takes place over 3 timelines, the 40s, the 60s and the 80s, and each decade is as mesmerizing as the next as we go back and forth in time following the Henderson family as they try to eke out a living on a dairy farm in rural Australia. This is the story of a family ruled with an iron hand, not to mention a belt, by husband and father George, his downtrodden wife Gwen and their three children - Mark, Ruth and Joy, all of whom are afraid of George who uses religion and threats of violence as a means of controlling the family.

The story is told mostly by Joy who has been convinced from a young age that she's a dirty sinner and who bears the scars from her father's liberal use of the belt. Being a lover of words myself, I loved the pictures Joy saw when she heard certain words. The story keeps returning to a young girl from the area who went missing in the 60s and has never been found and that event becomes central to the whole story. In the 80s Joy has returned to the farm where she grew up to care for her dying father but when he does die, the local police get involved. This is where the story stuttered a bit for me because Senior Constable Alex Shepherd was so intent on getting Joy to confess to the murder of her father that it got annoying. If anybody deserved to die it was George Henderson. Still a 5-Star book in my opinion.

There are mixed reviews for this book but I think it's one of the best books I've read so far this year. It's a longish book although it's hard to tell when reading an ARC on a Kindle but I was engrossed in the story throughout and look forward to another book by this author. Excellent title and cover and highly recommended.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Joffe Books for access to an ARC of this book.
Publication Date: June 24, 2021
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<i>"We're all liars, Shep. 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."</i>

This was an interesting mystery. It's told through a few timelines and from multiple POV. I got a little lost sometimes, with Ruth and Joy and Gwen, but the story was pretty straight forward. A father is dying and his daughter is called back to help nurse him at the end. She really shouldn't go back. He was an abusive awful person and really tortured her and her siblings when she was younger. But Joy wants revenge. She wants him to confess to what he did when she was a kid. 

The mystery is of the missing girl from Joy's childhood. Joy believes in her very bones that her father did it. And she wants him to confess now that he's dying and tell her where the body is and what he did. Because the community knew he was abusing his kids but because he did so many other great things in the church and community that they all loved him anyway, and Joy wants them to see him for the monster he is. 

Other than that, the chapters are slowly showing you all the abuse - which were hard to read and really awful. They are also slowing fleshing out Gwen, the mother and wife, and Joy through the childhood and early days of marriage. They were a little confusing, but at least ever chapter starts with a year and who's POV you have to give you a clue to keep the timelines straight.

The ultimate reveal was rewarding after reading so many pages and I did like the mystery and wanted to know what happened. 

<i>A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.</i>
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Gwen married a man whose real identity is hiding behind a respectful and honored man named
George. She had realized this too late and now faced with a marriage way off from what she
had expected. She soon gave birth to her three children a son named Mark and two daughters
Ruth and Joy. Gwen is too terrorized by George and she wants none of it to happen to her
children. But she lacks the example of being a good mother so she had failed to do so as well.
So the three end up fearing their father. But outside their household, people in their community
see George as something who has their respect. George is almost a god amongst these men.
So when a young girl went missing just two days after Christmas, George is most likely not
going to be a suspect. And not solving this case haunted Alex for decades.

In the present time, Joy had come back from her absence for taking care of her dying father.
And George being at the death`s door had come to its senses and confess his sins. Not too long
ago, they found George dead with a belt around his neck. Along came again Alex shepherd to
investigate what had happened. Alex was fed with nothing but lies from the Henderson's. And
questions why would they do this and soon he was led that George has something to do with
the disappearance of Wendy the young girl who went missing decades ago and tarnished his
career.

This story had me at a never ending turn to which is which. It had three different timelines with
three different narrators. Each perspective was vivid and told precisely as you could almost feel
that you are also living their lives. A lot of hidden secrets are waiting to unfold. This is a brutal
story and yet beautiful. One thing to consider just like any other book is to not expect too much.
I am saying this because the ending was somewhat a bit bland it is like it has been Waterdown
by how great the story was that it cannot continue its greatness until the end. Nevertheless, this
is one great story worth sharing with a lot of people.
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