Guest Post: Girl Without a Voice by Chris Bridge

As a bookblogger, it’s frustrating not to be able to accept every review request that comes your way.  After all, there are only so many hours in the day.  However, just because my own review pile is verging on the mountainous it doesn’t mean I should hide away what might be your next perfect read. So today I’m delighted to welcome Chris Bridge, author of Girl Without a Voice, to talk about the starting point for his book.

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Girl Without A VoiceAbout the Book

When you don’t speak the world is a very different place.

Childhood trauma robs Leah of the power of speech and forces her to be a watcher on the margins of society. But when her mother goes in search of the child she gave up for adoption, Leah is tempted out of the shadows. At first Patrick is everything she could hope for from a half-brother, but is he too good to be true? Leah makes a shocking discovery that leaves her with a moral dilemma and the need to take on not only her half-brother but the ruthless cult he belongs to.

Format: ebook (pp.)                Publisher: Peach Publishing
Published: 20th March 2018  Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller

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Guest Post: ‘Girl Without A Voice – the back story’ by Chris Bridge

Have you ever watched one of those family reunion programmes?  The format is predictable. Either a mother who gave her child up for adoption, or a child who was adopted, ask a broadcaster to help them find their son/daughter/birth-mother/biological father.  The programme works because of its intimacy. When a match is made, first photos, then the only handwritten letters in modern times are exchanged. We watch it for the reunion tears and everyone is pleased with the outcome.

That’s what I don’t understand. There are no rekindled jealousies from having a new person hurled like a grenade into the fragile truce between acknowledged siblings. No one asks if this changes the parental will. No one carefully checks the DNA sample to see if the fledgling is genuine or a cuckoo. (I’ve always presumed that the makers of the programme do that off-screen).

That was one of my starting points for Girl Without a Voice.

After her husband’s funeral Izzy goes in search of the son she gave up for adoption.  Izzy already has four children. Throwing a fifth into the family mix allows for sibling fireworks as new alliances are forged and the family dynamics are altered forever.

Another starting point is stated in the title. Izzy’s daughter, Leah is the girl without a voice. She doesn’t speak. She exists on the edge of society and watches. Humans are talkers not listeners. When we are not talking we are often thinking about what we might say next. If you don’t talk all, that vanishes from your life. Instead you observe and you listen. Leah is bright and a formidable observer.

So many interesting things happen if you don’t talk. For instance, Leah has a lover, called Martin. They make love wordlessly without having to muddle the activity with epithets about love. Think how much of our courtship is done through words.

As in Back Behind Enemy Lines, I am always interested in the way people change and grow. Leah is mute and has no qualifications. Martin is an unsuccessful bookseller. There is nothing smartly dressed or sassy about either of them. So I have teamed them up and sent them into battle with one of the greatest evils of our time: a fundamentalist cult. Think ISIS, think Exclusive Brethren, think any group that believes it knows what God thinks and exactly what he wants them to do. Add overwhelming male dominance. Sprinkle with the leadership’s sense that everything is permitted if you only believe. Such movements recur throughout history and wreak havoc.

What can a mute girl and a failed bookseller do against that?

© Chris Bridge (This article first appeared on Chris’s blog)

York Digital Image Studio PhotographyAbout the Author

Chris Bridge was born in Hull, UK in 1947.  He studied English (and Philosophy) at Nottingham University.  His career has been in teaching, eventually becoming Headteacher of Huntington School, York.  In 2006 he was appointed a National Leader of Education.

He has been a regular contributor to poetry magazines and his poems have featured in the winning lists of Hippocrates and Stanza poetry competitions. Back Behind Enemy Lines, his first novel, was published in 2014.

Chris currently lives in North Yorkshire and can frequently be found working as a volunteer on the Operations Team for the Yorkshire Arboretum, where he is also a Trustee.

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