Her fathers dying words send astronomer Laura Brandon down a path that will change her life. The last request Lauras father makes of her is to take care of a woman named Sarah Tolley. But Laura has never heard of Sarah before and has no idea why her father was so insistent.

Although Lauras retired sociology professor, husband Ray Darrow vehemently objects, Laura decides to track down and meet with Sarah who resides in a nursing home for Alzheimers patients.

The visit yields no clues as to the connection between Sarah and her father, but Laura finds herself drawn to this woman whose long-term memories are all she has left. Upon her return home, Laura is horrified to discover that her depressed husband Ray has committed suicide in front of their five-year-old daughter Emma.

From this moment on, Emma refuses to speak, leaving Laura searching for a way to break through her little girls terror. Emmas therapist suggests that bringing Emmas biological father into her life might help her get over her fear of men.

Laura had never told Dylan Geer, a man she hardly knew, that he was a father. Breaking the news to Dylan is difficult, but he agrees to help his astranged daughter, Emma.

Laura feels compelled to unravel the mystery that is Sarah Tolley. Somewhere in Sarahs failing memory is the key that will unlock secrets, but those revelations may reveal more pain and tragedy.

Award-winning author Diane Chamberlain draws a vivid, complex and disturbing image of the way mental patients have been treated in this country. BREAKING THE SILENCE is a riveting puzzle that slowly comes together, drawing readers along every step of the way. (Feb., 416 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith