Thursday, 11 January 2018

Review - The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe is perhaps one of the hardest books that I’ve ever had to review, something which is largely due to its subject matter. With so much time having lapsed since I first downloaded this book, I went into it with very little idea what to expect but have to say that it truly did pull me in and have me hooked from the very first page. Whilst I can’t say that it was a particularly happy or uplifting read, one thing that can definitely be said is that it was extremely powerful and emotive. 

Within this particular novel, eight passengers board coach B of the 10.35 train from Manchester to London Euston and settle into their seats for what will be an almighty journey. All with different reasons for boarding the train, whether to attend a job interview, family wedding or little holiday, many begin their journey full of hope for the future with little to burden them. That is all except for Saheel, a man with terrible intentions who unbeknown to the other passengers has a bomb concealed in his rucksack which he intends to wreak havok with and destroy innocent lives, hopes and dreams in the process. 

The Silence Between Breaths is told from the perspective of the eight different people who are on board the train in addition to Saheel’s sister who is at home when the atrocity takes place. As such it did take me a little while to get into the swing of the novel and remember who everyone was. However, this didn’t last long and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed by how fabulously developed each of the characters were. As we got to know more and more about the lives of each of those on board the train, I found it harder to read without wondering who would survive. 

Cath Staincliffe has created a novel that was extremely powerful, moving and thought-provoking that really highlights the importance of making the most of each and every moment you get to share with those you love. Despite being rather gripping to the point where I struggled to put it down, it certainly wasn’t a pleasant or easy read but was extremely topical in nature. With events such as what took place within this novel, being reported far too frequently, I couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of sadness that this book is not purely a figment of an author’s imagination. I think Cath is to be commended for how superbly she has pulled this novel off, with a vast amount of sensitivity and tact throughout. 

The sort of book that made me want to hug all those that are dear to me and tell them how much they are loved, The Silence Between Breaths was a book that has had an incredible impact on me and is a book that I will not be able to forget for a long time to come. This was the first of Cath Staincliffe’s novels that I have ever read before and I can guarantee that it will not be the last as I’m now looking forward to discovering more of what she has written.