Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Song of Silence

Song of Silence
By Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon, 2016


Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.

Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.

My thoughts

Poignant … elegant … intelligent … funny … compelling … a classic. An inspirational gem of wisdom, healing and hope. A musical composition that speaks to the innermost recesses of the heart.  Song of Silence is all this and more. Serious life situations are dealt with, but the injection of delightful wit and humor keeps readers smiling.

On the one hand, this is an engaging story with complex characterization. But look further and you will discover spiritual depths that cry out to be plumbed. Song of Silence hooked me from the beginning and never let go. It made me laugh and cry … encouraged me to identify with the characters in a personal way … led me to think, look inward, and reflect on how God has worked in my life. In fact, these things can be said about all of Cynthia’s books.

Cynthia’s lyrical writing style alone makes this story worth reading, one example being her gift at vivid descriptions, such as, “Sam’s face looked like tolerance with a thin mask of interest.” And the spiritual insight packs a punch. I don’t know when I’ve connected so strongly with the very essence of a book, identifying with the main character and all that happened to her. Lucy, a gifted musician who had lived her passion for almost twenty years of teaching music to children, abruptly finds herself shut out as a result of school board budget cuts. Too young to retire but too old to retool, her life and emotions began spiraling out of control. I suspect many readers can identify with Lucy’s thoughts along with me . . . Lucy entertained a mental picture of God flailing His arms to get her attention. He was thinner than she’d imagined. Probably from all that exertion.

From the themes of dealing with life’s disappointments, to a loss of identity derived from what we do, I was struck with thoughts of “been there, felt that.” Song of Silence will force you to examine your life's passion - Is it God's also? And what if that passion was suddenly stripped away? But of greatest impact to me is Cynthia’s overarching musical theme woven throughout. The parallel between musical compositions and the seasons of life, as well as the spiritual purpose of musical rests/pauses/silence is eye opening. Being still and waiting patiently doesn’t always come easily.

Lucy’s husband, Charlie, might seem oblivious to certain things, but he loves Lucy and their children with a fierce passion that outweighs all else. In another theme that hits close to home, I could relate to Lucy’s frustrations – and I loved the “He’s home all the time” (HHATT) book club! Song of Silence also speaks to the various stages of marriage, offering meaningful thoughts like . . . This was what an enduring marriage looked like. Giving undeserved passes for the relatively small things as practice for giving undeserved passes for the big things.

Magnificent works of art are described as masterpieces, and that aptly describes this story that is relevant for readers of all ages. Song of Silence is encouragement for those times of disappoint and loss, times when God seems silent, and a vibrant reminder that we serve a God who gives new songs.

Highly recommended.


Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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  1. I loved this line too - "Lucy entertained a mental picture of God flailing His arms to get her attention. He was thinner than she’d imagined. Probably from all that exertion." - I just love how Cynthia interjects this dry subtle humor in the midst of such deep spiritual moments. So delightful and soul-stirring all at once! We do indeed serve a God who gives new songs. Wonderful review, Carole!

    1. Thank you, Carrie! Coming from a master reviewer, I really appreciate your words. There's so much more I wanted to say, especially about personal experiences, but this wasn't the place. A truly exceptional book!

  2. Great review again, Carole! You expressed all the things I wanted to. I knew with your music background you would connect with this book. But even I, who can't carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, found this novel a joy. Real, real life!

    1. Beckie, you're right about the music element touching me, but it's really everything - humor, character depth, the way it makes you think. In fact, it hit a little close to home for me, but I'll share that with you another time. Like you, I think this is a story any reader would enjoy, even without the musical connection. I suspect you underestimate your musical ability, though.

  3. oh wow sounds like a great read!!!

    1. Alecia, if you enjoy character-driven stories, I can't imagine that you wouldn't enjoy it. Cynthia Ruchti has become one of my very favorite writers. Thanks so much for dropping by.