Elevate Difference

Now Silence: A Novel of World War II

Usually novels about World War II occur in Nazi Germany, Poland, or some other place in Europe. Tori Warner Shepard, however, places her story in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of the men from this area had to go through the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. Soon after, they were transferred to a prison camp in Japan. Shepard's focus is on the women who wait for their men to return from war. Now Silence reveals their painful history to her readers.

Throughout the novel, Shepard impresses her readers with women’s stories. The first is Nicasia, a mother who lost both her husband and one of her sons and continues to wonder about her remaining son, Melo. Then there is the robust and voluminous LaBelle, betrothed to Melo. Anissa is a disciple of the “I AM” cult, a new age following who prays to end the war. She is also a widow. Her husband lived with Phyllis, who came to Santa Fe to return a shotgun to Anissa.

Phyllis is the most intriguing character in the novel and teaches the most to the readers through her actions. Originally from Scotland, she comes disgraced to an off-the-radar job in Canada. She meets Anise’s husband and runs away with him. When she is informed of his death, she jumps on a bicycle and rides to Texas to hand over the rifle. Readers know the roller coaster ride is just beginning.

Shepard does a great job with plot development, but leaves readers wanting to know more about the characters. Her writing style is quick-witted, vivid, and spicy especially when it comes to character description. While she gives pieces of all the women, Phyllis takes most of the novel, and readers may want to know more about the men, who are also a part of the story as well. Short chapters are enticing, but better organization would enhance her story even more. Overall, _Now Silence is an interesting read.

Written by: Mona Lisa Safai, August 4th 2009

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