Caryl McAdoo’s Silent Harmony is set in her beloved Red River Valley, North Texas. Occurring after Civil War around the year 1867, the story revolves around the three Parker sisters. The eldest, Lucinda (Lucy), is a war widow with a deaf and dumb four year old daughter named Harmony. Next in line comes the outspoken, often snarky, tight-wad, middle sister, Servilia, nicknamed Vili. But is she really a villain? The youngest of the three sisters, sweet natured Melody (Mel), constantly finds herself at odds with Villi.
Since Silent Harmony by Caryl McAdoo is an historical novel with romantic threads, the question becomes, will romance find these three very different sisters? This reviewer will never tell, but will hint.
Lucy finds a very helpful neighbor, Earl Draper, frequently at her barn doing chores and otherwise being helpful. She scarcely notices him since she has Harmony to look after, but he comes so often to help her, the reader begins to wonder if something will come of this friendship.
This worries Vili to no end. What will become of her if Lucy marries him and moves to his farm? True, they’ll be neighbors, but . . .
When the new teacher at the school for the deaf, the Reverend Ezekiel (Zeke) Sheffield arrives in church one Sunday, he stutters so badly that he must communicate using sign cards. Seems his disability is why he learned sign language. Thus he becomes the teacher of the local school for the deaf. A truly extraordinary hero, what he lacks in language skills, he more than makes up for in good looks. Youngest sister, Mel, finds herself instantly smitten in spite of his disability. Likewise, she draws his eye, yet the reader wonders what chance these two have for a future given his disability?
With Lucy’s romance well under way, and sweet Mel drawing the teacher’s attention, that leaves snarky Servilia to wonder if she will ever find a beau. Seems Zeke has a bachelor cousin, Professor Rupert Sheffield, University of Chicago math professor. But what good will come of writing him letters do, if he continues to live so far away from Texas? How will they ever meet? Not to mention, can a true relationship be forged through the U.S. Mail?
These are such cute stories about three very different sisters. This reviewer loves the Parker sister’s interactions, their equally unique beaux, and little four year old Harmony. What a cutie! The author, Caryl McAdoo, really drew her well. Likewise, this reviewer loves the flawed hero Zeke. (Very few authors have heroes who are differently gifted.)
Many plot lines in Silent Harmony by Caryl McAdoo capture the reviewer’s attention. The initial scene plunges the reader straight into the story. Zeke’s disability ties nicely into Harmony’s deaf mute troubles. The three sisters need for stability and their desires for lasting relationships also provide the reader with many remarkable scenes.
Caryl McAdoo’s writing itself contains many sonorous, almost poetic bits. Permit this reviewer to indulge the reader with a couple of quotes. “Like molasses on a frosty morn, seemed to Zeke, Sunday took twice the normal time to pour from its jar onto his slice of life.” Also, “A round of amens accompanied by various and sundry blessings rose then fell like a wave rushing onto the shore before returning to the deep waters.” This reader also loves plays on words such as “A good long hug accompanied by a few tears ensued, but as sweet as it was, it couldn’t mend the tear in her heart.”
Truly this delightful novella provides the reader with an engrossing day flipping pages to see what comes next. There’s only one major down side. It is way too short! But then, it is a novella. That’s this reviewer’s two cents. I remain, Cass Wessel