It’s Friday and we have a treat today. A lovely big hello to Nicola Avery and the blog tour for her new novel, Within The Silence.
Jon Stone is a revered psychiatrist, doting husband, loving father. But he has many secrets.
Maddy Stone, Jon’s daughter, has her own secrets. But she can’t tell anyone.
Zara, Maddy’s stepsister and best friend, faces a race against time. Can she unearth the family’s dark secrets before a tragic history repeats itself?
Two girls: one living and lost, the other scarred and silent, must join forces to prevent the unspeakable…
I have reviewed the book below but first, Nicola has shared an extract.
***** start of extract*****
‘You’ve been swimming already!’ Pippa scolded.
‘Less of the attitude, missy,’ said Zara, unwrapping her towel just enough to envelop her wriggling, laughing sister.
‘Can we go swimming now?’ Pippa asked, her smiling face lifted towards her sister’s.
‘You can come in with me in a minute,’ answered Zara, acknowledging Jon’s presence on the pool terrace.
‘Morning, Zara,’ Jon said, moving towards her and kissing her on the cheek. ‘Did you sleep well? And where’s Gareth?’
Zara smiled. ‘Last time I looked he was flat on his back, catching flies and snoring loudly.’
‘Some of us don’t have such luck, do we?’ said Jon, pointedly looking at Pippa, who bounced off across the grass towards the pathway leading down to the beach.
‘Have you seen Maddy?’ called Pippa, looking out at the Phoenix.
‘No, I haven’t seen her yet,’ replied Zara, watching Pippa’s shoulders drop in disappointment. ‘Are you sure she’s not still asleep?’
‘Nope,’ said Pippa, returning to the patio. ‘Her bed’s made up, so she must be down on the beach or on her boat. Can I go down and get her? We’re going out to the secret beach today, and she’ll need a good breakfast. And I want to check if my stuff’s already on board.’
Zara laughed as she attempted to hold onto her excited sister. ‘Wait a moment, sweetie, you can’t go down in your PJs.’
‘Oh!’ Pippa exclaimed, laughing as she peeled off her favourite Frozen pyjamas and tossed them under the table before running to get her tiny red swimsuit which was hanging by the showers. ‘I forgot. Nearly ready,’ she shouted, wriggling into the tight costume.
‘Here, let me help you,’ Jon offered, moving towards her.
‘No thank you, Daddy. I can do it myself,’ she answered.
Zara smiled at her sister’s feisty independence – and the fact that her bathing costume straps were all twisted around one armpit. Quickly readjusting the tiny costume, Zara grinned. ‘Why don’t we leave Maddy for a bit? She could be sleeping on the beach; you know how she loves the early mornings down there. She’ll come up when she’s ready.’
‘But it’s late. We’ve got lots to do today. She told me. And I need to make sure she hasn’t forgotten our plans.’
Zara dropped to one knee, pulling Pippa towards her and kissing her on the nose. ‘It’s still early, especially after a party. I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten.’
Pippa moved away from Zara, standing perfectly still as she stared longingly out to sea. Then, turning back towards her sister, she tried again.
‘Please come with me, Zara. I can’t go down there on my own. You know Daddy’s rules …’ Pippa tilted her head in her father’s direction, then gave Zara one of her lopsided grins.
Zara laughed. ‘Ok, you win! Let me find some shoes and I’ll take you down.’
‘Thought we were going to have breakfast?’ asked Jon, returning to the table with his laptop.
‘We will. I’ll just take Pippa down to the jetty and collect Maddy, if she’s down there. We won’t be long, I promise,’ she said, looking around for some footwear. ‘Now, shoes … where did I leave them?’
‘There!’ Pippa pointed and ran onto the grass, returning with a pair of well-worn flip-flops. Flinging them over to Zara, she crammed her little tanned toes into her own bright pink jellies.
Zara laughed at Pippa’s eager face, then threw an oversized T-shirt over her damp swimsuit, running her hands quickly through her waterlogged curls.
‘Back soon,’ she told Jon, who had made himself comfortable at the table.
‘Tell Gareth, if he’s up, where I’ve gone,’ she added, before running to catch up as Pippa started the descent to the beach. ‘Careful, Pippa. Remember, I don’t like this uneven bit. Please keep to the garden side … and slow down, you’re making me nervous.’
The rocky pathway, steep and winding in parts, had been responsible for a number of Pippa’s holiday tumbles. On the garden side stood a high bank planted with shrubs and trees, some native Majorcan, others imported, but all carefully chosen for privacy purposes. On the other side was just a steep drop onto the pink-coloured rocks below. This route up from the beach did little to encourage trespassers into the gardens.
‘Don’t worry,’ Pippa’s sing-song voice replied as she deliberately tucked herself closer to the bank, her little legs and feet braced to accommodate the uneven causeway. ‘I’m being careful.’
Zara quickened her pace to catch up.
Jon watched the girls as they made their way down the pathway, up to the point where the tall trees and foliage hid them from view. Then, turning, he smiled to himself and made his way back to the table, now being laid for breakfast by Lisa, her dark damp hair swept up into a nest of curls. She kissed him quickly on the mouth as he patted her curvaceous bottom through her swimming costume.
‘Girls?’ she asked, folding a napkin and tossing it onto a white side plate.
‘Collecting Maddy for breakfast.’
‘Haven’t seen him yet. Must still be in the guest house.’
‘Should we call him for breakfast?’ Lisa asked.
‘No, he looked exhausted last night. Let’s leave him. He’ll join us later when he’s ready.’
‘Orange juice?’ Lisa asked, a jug poised over Jon’s glass. As she began to pour, a piercing scream cut through the air. ‘That’s Pippa!’ she cried.
Dropping the glass jug, she kicked back her chair and ran in the direction of the scream.
Slower to react, Jon had time to observe the glass jug drop, shattering on contact with the table, the broken glass, together with slices of blood oranges, now lying in a haphazard pile. He experienced a momentary flash of disquiet before running towards the beach descent, shouting for Nathan and Gareth as he did so.
***** end of extract*****
My verdict on Within The Silence:
Maddy has a secret that she has kept for years.
Jon is a revered psychiatrist but does he have skeletons he wants kept hidden?
For Zara, it’s a race against time to find the truth.
The premise for this book interested me a lot. The plot is a compelling one and has been approached in an unique way. Nothing like I have read before.
It became very difficult to put this book down for longer than a few moments. I was reading it whenever I could.
There isn’t a lot else I can say about the plot as I don’t want to give anything away.
It is a mixture of paranormal and crime. It’s put together really well. The writing style draws you in and many of the characters are like puzzles to solve. It had me guessing all the way through.
Within the Silence has mystery, a great plot, interesting characters, secrets, lies. It’s a fantastic read. Thank you Nicola for this brilliant novel. One of my favourites of the year.
Nicola Avery was born in Surrey England, moving to Australia in her early twenties. With an artist and writer as a father and a ballet dancer for a mother, Nicola was destined to go back to her creative roots.
Returning to the U.K. as a single parent, she continued her career within the corporate world of finance, also finding time to launch her own costume design business. Once her daughter finished full time education, and fascinated by the concept of a previous existence, she studied and qualified as a past life therapist/hypnotherapist in order to personally understand, investigate and validate any claims where possible. Her first novel Whispered Memories was written for all those seeking such answers.
Her second novel, Within the Silence, is a thriller where a dark subject matter is explored and exposed. It was written in an attempt to highlight the difficulties society has in keeping its young safe.
Her writings are fictional, always with a paranormal twist and cover controversial subject matters, but always encourage the readers to form their own opinions.
Nicola lives now in Surrey England, with her partner and two feline friends. She has one daughter and one granddaughter. She is currently working on a children’s book and another thriller.
For more information, visit Nicola’s website: http://nicolaavery.com/
Within the Silence by Nicola Avery was published on 22nd November. Click here to view on Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk