BookView Review: A History of Silence: A Novel (The Heartland Trilogy, Book One) by Cynthia J. Bogard

BookView Review rated it:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Pub date: March 7, 2023

Retail Price: $19.99 Trade Paperback

ISBN-13: ‎978-1-63988-633-3

Page Count: 422

Distribution: Ingram

Author interview

 

Bogard’s marvelous novel offers a deeply moving exploration of individual and generational trauma. Trying to escape the demons of the past, Jenny runs away to Madison, finding refuge in drugs and sex.  Emotionally damaged Jane begins an affair with her history professor. Grief-stricken Maddie is trying to get over her breakup with her Black colleague. Conservatively raised Liz is desperate to reconnect with her estranged daughter. As the lives of these four women interweave, each learns the power of resistance and human connection. Bogard’s characters, especially the main protagonists, are beautifully developed. The narrative alternates between different timelines and Jenny, Jane, Maddie, and Liz’s perspectives, allowing the story to strike an excellent balance between vastly different viewpoints. The story, which is confusing at first, with so many characters taking center stage, becomes extremely gripping as the characters’ tumultuous backstories begin to unravel, bringing devastating secrets to surface. Bogard deftly examines the underpinnings of her novel’s setting while examining complex, heavy themes ranging from rape, suicide, adolescent and young adult angst to Black sufferings, generational trauma, and how path to healing is never straight or easy, but facing the past head-on is the only way to go forward. A tender, hard-hitting, and sometimes darkly unsettling tale that excels in portraying the complex intensity of its characters.

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