Song of Silence

Song of SilenceSong of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti
Genres: Contemporary
Published by Abingdon Press on April 5, 2016
Pages: 320
Also by this author: As Waters Gone By, An Endless Christmas

 

About Song of Silence (from the back cover):
Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. While Charlie retired early, Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice. 

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.

One of the things I enjoy so much about Cynthia Ruchti’s books is her writing voice. It’s graciously down to earth with a dry wit that has me grinning even through tears, laughing even around the lump in my throat, and always always unable to put down the story until I’ve savored every word.

Song of Silence speaks to me on a very personal level in many ways.  As a teacher. As a wife. As a woman whose life is not proceeding according to plan.  My ebook is riddled with highlighted passages that I don’t want to forget. Several made me laugh out loud. (“Was every marriage this schizophrenic? Warmth followed by subzero freezer chill? An act of sacrificial kindness followed by a desire to remove his nose hairs with pliers?” – So glad I’m not alone with these thoughts.) Several others are passages I am cherishing close to my heart because they remind me of the importance of silence… of rest … of finding new ways to sing when life steals my voice. (“In the silence, a song is brewing.”)

Song of Silence speaks to me on a very personal level in many ways.

The characters in Song of Silence come vividly, charmingly, to life. Lucy and Charlie. Olivia. Sam. The ladies of the HHATT club (hilarious). Dr. Hanley. Evan. Sasha.  As the theme of music and silence play accompaniment to the plot, each of these characters has their own song to sing. They may not sing with words. Or even with music that can be heard.  But together they are all players in an orchestra whose starring symphony resonates grace and hope and a lot of love.

Lucy and Charlie reflect a real and honest and witty and heartfelt “marriage in maturity”. It’s not all sunshine and roses, but it endures. They’ve had a lot of adjustments to make in recent years – Charlie’s early retirement (his passion for worm farming! hahaha!), Lucy’s forced retirement, the ebb and flow of their adult children’s lives, new family members that bring unexpected challenges.  And then it really gets tough. Which is when it really gets beautiful.

Lucy and Charlie reflect a real and honest and witty and heartfelt “marriage in maturity”.

There are several things going on in Song of Silence – multi-layered character arcs, life-changing events, poignant lessons. In the hands of some authors, this could easily turn into something about as chaotic as the sound that occurs when an orchestra is tuning up their instruments all together all at once. In Cynthia Ruchti’s talented hands, all of the chords and separate measures harmonize into an absolute masterpiece.  And the character growth from beginning to end is just simply exquisite.

In Cynthia Ruchti’s talented hands, all of the chords and separate measures harmonize into an absolute masterpiece.

With her exquisitely engaging style, each word in perfect pitch, Cynthia Ruchti creates a beautiful story of healing and humor and hope. A story for the forced-to-retire teacher, for the frustrated wife, for the mother of adult children. A story for everyone whose life failed to proceed according to plan. Vivid characters, wry wit, and gentle truth held me captive from the first page to the last. This is a book that will linger in my heart for a long time!

–Carrie


I’m a little slow, but after four books, I’ve finally learned to set aside the afternoon when I’m about to start Cynthia Ruchti’s latest book.  Without fail, I find out that the ten minutes I meant to spend reading has some how turned into two hours.  There is a beauty to her books that makes the reader feel deeply for her characters and makes it very difficult to leave them in mid-crisis.  And in Song of Silence, dear Lucy is certainly facing a multitude of crises.

I’m a little slow, but after four books, I’ve finally learned to set aside the afternoon when I’m about to start Cynthia Ruchti’s latest book.

Often times when I’m not clicking with the main character, it’s difficult to stay with the story.  That was not the case with Song of Silence.  It took a while to warm up to Lucy, but she’s surrounded by such a wonderful supporting cast (love Charlie), that it was easy to stay invested in the story.  Having never taken her journey, at times it was hard to relate to her feelings.  However, I like the way Cynthia took Lucy through this difficult season in her life.  Lucy didn’t perfectly handle things and she showed her flaws, but she went through a healthy process.  Rather than waiting until forced to ask for help, she sought help.  Lucy was open to suggestions and was an active participant in her journey.  She recognized her spiritual needs and family needs.  Even in the midst of the turmoil in her life, she didn’t allow her grief and disappointment to fully take control of her life.

It took a while to warm up to Lucy, but she’s surrounded by such a wonderful supporting cast (love Charlie), that it was easy to stay invested in the story.

This book could have benefited from another 50-75 pages.  While the main storyline is well developed, some of the subplots and minor characters are not given as much attention as I’d like.  One character in particular is not followed up on and it would have been nice to know how she was doing.  But mainly, there is an aspect to this book that only gets partially developed, that could have been such fertile soil for heart-warming moments.  It’s touched on, but not taken nearly to the level it could have been.  I realize that others might not be as interested in these parts of the story, so this could simply be my curious side that’s yearning for more.

Cynthia does a wonderful job of introducing scripture that’s therapeutic to not only the characters, but to the readers as well.

My only true complaint is with Evan.  My sister and oldest son have Asperger Syndrome and my two other children are autistic spectrum.  My son also has three friends with AS, so I do have some knowledge of this disorder.  While there are a number of differences in how Autism presents itself, generally speaking Asperger children have a higher level of function and quirkiness than Evan.  But for me the bigger issue with Evan’s character is not the exact diagnosis, but that we saw more of the difficulty of autistic children and not the reward.  One line in particular bother me.  Lucy referred to Evan as “a broken child”.  To be clear, this line is not offensive to me, it’s just inaccurate.  Autistic children are not broken and it breaks my heart for them to be perceived that way.  In their mind, much of what they do makes perfect sense and when seen from their perspective, can even make sense to us.  They’re beautiful children—difficult to understand for sure—but not broken.

I have learned not to start one of Cynthia’s novels until I’m ready to listen.  She does a wonderful job of introducing scripture that’s therapeutic to not only the characters, but to the readers as well.  Her books are very encouraging and wrap the reader in God’s warmth.

While I have the one issue with Song of Silence, it did not spoil my overall enjoyment of this book.  I love Cynthia’s characters, sense of humor, and the uplifting message.  So clear off an afternoon, grab some tissues, open your heart, and enjoy an afternoon spent connecting with God.

–Melissa

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