The Silence - Katharina Johnson - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

The Silence – Katharine Johnson

 It seems Abby has it all and is perfectly happy. If only you knew about the recurring nightmares and the secrets she thought she had buried in the past …


Abby has it made, she is living the dream. She is a physician, in a happy marriage with husband James, who is about to begin a career in politics, and together they have two daughters. Life is just perfect. But why does Abby have these recurring nightmares about a girl called Philippa? “When Abby allowed herself to think about Philippa, it was never as a pile of bones but as a girl of fourteen,” we read but other than concluding Philippa must be dead, we are left in the dark. Abby’s nightmares used to be more frequent but she had succeeded in blocking them. This is the first time they have returned for many years, but they have come back with a vengeance! Is it fate that she reads in the paper about a Tuscan villa with hidden bodies? That it would never have become news in the UK if not for the British family discovering the bodies? To know what happened we have to follow Abby back in time …


Abby is terrified from the moment she reads the headlines in the paper about the bodies in the Tuscan villa. Somehow the day she always feared has come. The press had a field day with stories about Villa Leonida, haunted according to the villagers. It feels as though every day brings a new story in the Press about the Tuscan villa and then it transpires that the bodies are murder victims and, probably, British citizens. With James thrusting forward in his political career, Abby dreads that their lives will soon be an open book. What if they find her secret and what would happen if James knew? The guilt which has been building up for years now surfaces and, to make matters worse (if possible) Abby has a feeling she is being followed. When the first envelope arrives, Abby is hardly surprised to see her suspicions confirmed.

There is only one person Abby confided in and it is he, her former boyfriend, she now turns to for help. Hypnotherapy is the only way she will ever find out what happened and she has to know now, has to face her biggest nightmare. With Abby, we go back in years and watch the abrupt ending of her childhood with her mother’s suicide. Her father and his girlfriend marry and Abby is sent away to friends in Tuscany. There she meets the sisters Mina and Philippa, opposites in every way. While Mina is grudging and hostile Philippa is vibrant and buoyant, always seeking the next exciting event. Philippa’s sparkly character is contagious and Abby, although determined to dislike the Villa due to her father sending her away, cannot but follow Philippa in yet another adventure. We are all too aware of the approaching wheels of fate and we know danger has to be around the corner.

My Thoughts

What an intriguing novel The Silence is! At first, I had a bit of difficulty getting into the story and was also (very cleverly) put on the wrong foot – but then I read one more chapter, another chapter and voila: I could not stop! From the outset, the protagonists’ characters are clearly defined and it is not hard to see how Philippa’s behaviour is causing a great deal of trouble. I felt sad for the children and how they were treated or, at times, completely ignored by their parents. I love the topic of nurture – nature and in this novel, there are certain aspects related to that topic. The novel did leave out a few things and left some questions unanswered. For the intricate topics this novel touched, I found the ending a bit disappointing but I enjoyed reading this captivating thriller. A promising debut novel, written in an entertaining style, seamlessly spanning the stories from the past to the present.

About the Author

Katharina Johnson Author Image

Katharine Johnson is a freelance writer and editor and has worked for a variety of magazines. She has a passion for crime novels, old houses and all things Italian (except tiramisu). She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children and madcap spaniel. When not writing, she plays netball badly and is a room guide in a stately home.

Book Info 

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 Paperback   294 pages
 Publisher   CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (23 April 2017)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  1545518092
 ISBN-13 978-1545518090
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