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Now Silence: A Novel of World War II    by Tori Warner Shepard order for
Now Silence
by Tori Warner Shepard
Order:  USA  Can
Sunstone Press, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Tori Warner Shepard takes a different point of view for her novel about World War II. The focus is on the people of Santa Fe, New Mexico, especially the women waiting for their men to return. Many of those men had to endure the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, only to be transported to a prison camp in Japan, and we get some of that history as well.

But it's the women who impress. First is Nicasia, a mother who has already lost her husband and one of her sons and is now wondering about her remaining son Melo. Then there is big and powerful LaBelle, betrothed to Melo. Anissa is a follower of the IAM group, a proto-New Age bunch who pray to end the war. They are kind of out-of-step with the local Catholicism. Anissa is also a widower. Her husband was living with Phyllis, who has come to Santa Fe to return a rifle to Anissa. We really learn the most about Phyllis. From Scotland she came disgraced to an out-of-the-way job in Canada, where she met Anissa's husband and ran away with him. When he died in Florida, we know we are in for an adventure when she attempts to bicycle to Texas to hand over the rifle.

I think I would have liked this story better if the plot had been more clear. Phyllis' story takes up much of the novel, but yet the focus seems to be on the people of Santa Fe. We are left wanting to know more about the other women's lives. Then there are some strong male characters whose background would also have been of interest. There is probably another novel in the fact that a prison camp full of Japanese is located so near that the prisoners are allowed to come to the town to shop. It really surprised me that the author said so little about them. This book is interesting reading, but I wanted it to be better organized.

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