By Martha Powers
Review by Gregg E. Brickman
In Conspiracy of Silence, Martha Powers sets the stage, issues an enticing invitation, then glues the spellbound reader to a chair.
Clare Prentice, an almost thirty reporter, learns by happenstance that she’s adopted. Shaken to the core, she puts her life on hold—including breaking her engagement—and drives to Grand Rapids, Minnesota in search of her identity. She finds an unfamiliar town filled with friendly and welcoming people. The problem is that everyone is not forthcoming. In fact, some folks are downright rude, putting roadblocks in her path and threatening her life and the lives of others she has come to know and love.
Though the first few months of Clare’s search for her identity aren’t a significant part of the story, the author eludes to the fruitlessness of the effort. Adept description conveys Clare’s frustration and anger at the betrayal implied by keeping her adoption a secret and the mountain of lies put in place to conceal the truth. The reader can share and celebrate each small success with Clare and suffer each painful setback.
Powers skillfully keeps the reader a half-step ahead of Clare Prentice. Having little choice, Clare puts her trust in her new found allies, some deserving, others treacherous.
The culture and people of a small, lakeside town provide the backdrop for a well-told story with true-to-life characters and compelling suspense. The realistic view of the trauma adults suffer when they discover their adoption provides believable motivation for the protagonist to begin and then continue her investigation despite sometimes overwhelming odds.
I strongly recommend this can’t-put-it-down novel.