Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breaking the Silence” as Want to Read:
Breaking the Silence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Breaking the Silence

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,953 Ratings  ·  808 Reviews
Laura Brandon's promise to her dying father was simple: to visit an elderly woman she'd never heard of before. A woman who remembers nothing—except the distant past. Visiting Sarah Tolley seemed a small enough sacrifice to make.

But Laura's promise results in another death. Her husband's. And after their five-year-old daughter, Emma, witnesses her father's suicide, Emma ref
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Mira (first published March 19th 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Breaking the Silence, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 16, 2016 Mo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 sad stars.

“My husband shot himself in our bedroom. When I got home, Emma was standing at the bottom of the stairs, screaming.”

Since that awful day, Laura Brandon’s little girl hasn’t uttered a word. When a psychiatrist suggests that Emma won’t talk because she’s terrified of men, Laura is guilt-ridden. To help Emma, she needs to know what unspeakable secret lies behind her husband’s suicide.

This one was intriguing but heartbreaking.

I have read two other books by this author and they were
Mar 13, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so in love with this book. I was asked the other day what book I would pick if I could only have just one, and I think this book just might be it. It was one of those books that had me thinking afterwards. I was still making connections and asking myself questions about how one person knew another person in the past, or why somebody did what they did. This book involved so many different types of relationships and characters. I was very surprised at the amount of truth in this story. Chambe ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Nicola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to not compare Diane Chamberlain with Jodi Picoult (even the book cover does this) but I didn't really feel like I was reading a Picoult book. Chamberlain's writing is still very distinctive and unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

This book was nearly impossible to put down. It's full of fascinating characters and tons of mystery. The whole time I was just so eager to know what the truth was and there was plenty of keep me entertained until the final truth came out
Mar 22, 2013 Lauralee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can you say obsessed? My obsession with reading Ms. Chamberlain's works just keeps increasing. I don't know how I made it to the age of 44 without discovering this author. I am working my way through all of her books now.

Breaking the Silence was another winner, full of wonderful twists and secrets and surprises.

I used to work with clients who had mental illness and my mind went back to those people and how I would feel if the disturbing type of treatments were performed on them. It was disturb
Nov 10, 2013 Christa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I've read a number of Diane Chamberlain's books, and I tend to find them pretty enjoyable. They're the literary equivalent of a good made-for-TV movie--the characters pull you in, the story moves quickly, and you can just kind of relax and go along for the ride. They're easy to immerse yourself in, and good for the days you want some light entertainment.

This one had an interesting premise--right before Laura's father dies, he makes her promise that she'll take care of an old woman suffering from
Jun 11, 2011 Natalya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute book, nice drama, complicated situation. Really liked that the characters are not perfect, act in questionable ways (Laura confronting Dylan, Laura's father keeping such secrets), feel remorse for it, get hurt. Chamberlain has a gift for making an outlandish situation come realistically to life. Liked the Dylan character and the psychiatrist. I did not see the last twist coming, thought it was a bit too much. I hated the book cover, it was this garish red and gold affair with an antebellum ...more
Jun 08, 2010 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid but predictable mystery..., January 28, 2010
After reading a few of Diana Chamberlain's more recent novels, including my favorite, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, I could tell immediately when I started this one that I was reading one of her earlier books. That's not to say that this novel isn't good, it is -- but it is a fairly predictable story and the revelations at the end come as no surprise to any mystery reader. There are multiple things going on in the book but all eventually co
Jun 27, 2011 Louise rated it liked it
Forty-year-old Laura Brandon and her sixty-one-year-old husband, Ray, lived a hectic and hurried life in the town of Leesburg. They have a five-year-old daughter named, Emma.

A few minutes after eleven on Christmas night, Laura receives a phone call from the nurse at the hospital where her father, Carl Brandon, is currently dying of cancer. Laura got dressed and headed out the door leaving Ray at home to watch Emma as she felt there was no point in waking her daughter at this time of night and dr
Feb 11, 2015 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eileens bookclub choice - I enjoyed the quick flow of the book and the easy reading for a change with a good storyline. Missing bookclub and I would love to have discussed the undertone of this book which is true guilt and felt guilt.

Dylan has guilt of a plane crash, not his fault
Gilbert (Ray) has guilt for what his work did to a child's family
Laura's father has guilt for keeping a secret of daughters roots
Laura has guilt for working too much
Sarah has guilt for not doing more for her patients
May 19, 2016 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me it was just an ok read.
Feb 15, 2015 Eomicheli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read with a happy ending! I liked the unexpected twist. Not sure why I didn't see it coming!!!
Heather L
Wow! Wow! This is going to be another favorite for me. The suspense, the love, the confusion, the heartache and heartwarming feel of it. I can't wait to discuss this one at book group. Diane has a style of writing that is effortless but at the same time gives so much power and emotion. What a story!!
Booklover, Indianapolis
(Nov) This was my first Diane Chamberlain book. When reading the descriptions of her books, they always sounded a bit Jodi Picoult-ish to me, who is, for me, hit and miss. I was not sure what to expect from this, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I found this quite gripping in parts and really had a hard time putting it down, as I really did't know how the various storylines were going to intersect and wrap up together.

Laura promises her dying father she will check on an older woman - a w
Jun 14, 2015 Betsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good story with unexpected turns that save it from cliche. I do not, however, recommend the audio version. The narrator is good with voices of the different characters, but she uses an annoying whisper for the general narration.
Laura Brandon, renowned astronomer, promised her dying father she would look after Sarah Tolley, a woman with no family who lived in a retirement home. Despite the fact that she'd never heard of her and had no idea who she was or how her father knew her, Laura felt obligated to fulfill his dying request. However, when she told her husband, Ray, about it, he tried to dissuade her from doing it, shocking her with his uncharacteristic display of anger when she refused to reconsider. Ray accused Lau ...more
Lucy Stevens
Mar 05, 2016 Lucy Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book! Found the descriptions of the 1950s psychiatric practices absolutely fascinating and the story was very gripping. I found all of the characters interesting to read about and very well written - some were truly hateable!
The twists were a little predictable by the end and I'd guessed who some of the characters really were before it was revealed - although admittedly not too far ahead!

I think Diane Chamberlains books are very easy to read and can be concentrated on even
Pooja Jeevagan
May 20, 2012 Pooja Jeevagan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one of Diane Chamberlain's novel which just sucks you in (I completed it in less than 24 hours after all ;) )

Not that the story is completely believable, but the background premise is on true happenings of that period (like is the case with most of her work)...and I kind of liked almost all the being on the psychological side probably adds to the charm (don't we all wonder how psychological fit and sane we are...why we do things the way we do...)

It's nice to see the lead
Laura Brandon’s promise to her dying father was simple: to visit an elderly woman she’d never heard him speak of before. A woman who remembers nothing – except the distant past. Visiting Sarah Tolley seemed a small enough sacrifice to make. But Laura’s promise results in another death – her husband’s. And after their five-year-old daughter, Emma, witnesses her father’s suicide, Emma refuses to talk about it…or to talk at all. Frantic and guilt-ridden, Laura contacts the only person who may be ab ...more
Bree T
Laura’s father is slowly dying and the nurse has called her to inform her that his time has come. Laura rushes to the hospital where her father makes her promise that she will take care of a woman named Sarah Tolley. Laura has never heard of Sarah Tolley but seeing as this is her father’s dying wish she assures him that she will go see her and make sure that she is okay. When she goes home and tells her husband Ray of her father’s request, to her surprise, Ray is very hostile about it. He says t ...more
This book was full of so many different stories, and they were all intertwined so well. I didn't have any idea of the relations of the characters to each other until it was all revealed toward the end of the novel. I suppose if I had been paying closer attention I might have, but I like to escape into most of the books I read rather than analyze them all.

It's hard to believe the craziness of the experiments in the 50's in regards to psychiatric facilities. Having taken several psychology course
Mar 23, 2010 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Rather far-fetched and a little too "happily ever after, everything tied up in a neat litle bow" for my taste, told in well-written if generic prose, this novel nevertheless was a fast and entertaining read. An excellent "beach book", or perfect for when you want to take a break to read something light. I'm not terribly fond of children or books with children as main characters, but Ms. Chamberlain graciously refrained from making 5 year old Emma overly cutesy and precocious. Of course, it proba ...more
Oct 04, 2013 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I give this 3 and half stars. The writing was good, as it always is with Chamberlain, but I found myself wishing it would move along a little faster. I loved the mystery of Sarah and her story, in fact, that was what kept me turning the pages. The suspense of wondering about Ray's suicide, the father's request, Sarah's long lost husband, and other little intriguing bits and how it would all tie together kept me coming back for more. However, I quickly got bored with the mute daughter a ...more
Oct 18, 2011 Hollie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good, book at the beginning of the book you learn about the death of Laura's father and him telling her to look after Sarah Tolley a woman that Laura has never heard of before, the aftermath of this is that Laura's husband Ray seems to be completely against her doing this and gets very upset at her saying that she will find out why this woman is so important to her father.

Laura, against her husbands wishes, visits Sarah Tolley at the nursing home and finds that she has altzimers
Feb 01, 2012 Maggie61 rated it really liked it
Another great book by Diane Chamberlain.
While she tells a great story as always, this one had more serious and upsetting tones than some of the others I have read and was more difficult to read. Her stories always touch the emotions of the reader, but this one was so tragic in so many ways that your heart breaks at the missed opportunities and devestation that the characters feel.
I have to admit, I had no idea where the story would go, didn't have much of a clue who the characters were in refer
Jul 09, 2016 Nessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well no surprise here but this was another brilliant piece of work from the very talented author Diane.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, loved the story & the characters drew u in straight away. I even learnt a bit of history while reading certain parts of the story.

I would highly recommend this book :-).
Kim Pimental
Jan 26, 2015 Kim Pimental rated it it was ok
My problem with this book was that the character's reactions to each of their circumstances were unbelievable. The whole plot depended on no one having a courageous, intelligent response. The whole tragic story could have been avoided if any of the characters had made the decision to call the police or tell the truth. Because of sheer stupidity I gave it two stars.
Victoria Watson
Feb 21, 2012 Victoria Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diane Chamberlain writes this compelling story of Laura, a woman whose father makes her promise – on his deathbed – to look after a woman she’s never heard of. Shortly after, Laura’s husband kills himself, leaving her daughter mute. The tale that unfolds is so intelligent that I could weep! In fact, I did. This story is so well-written that I could not put it down.

The story has so many layers that there is no way you could not enjoy it. There’s romance, mystery, crime, science and history.

Oct 21, 2014 Paula rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-author
As always, I love Diane Chamberlain's writing - she is one of my favorite authors. Her character development is so wonderful! My favorite part of this novel was the story of Sarah Tolley. The tale of her work in the psychiatric hospital was heartbreaking and absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately, although I loved the characters, I think that some of the relationships among them became a bit too tangled and highly improbable in real life. Laura's husband's tale (and the reason he committed suicid ...more
Jessica Ellis
Oct 16, 2013 Jessica Ellis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate the book a 4.5 (if possible :)) As usual, Diane Chamberlain entertains... I was captivated immediately by the topic of the book - specifically as it related to the treatment of the mentally ill in the 1950's and the far fetched ideas the "asslyms" used to treat the patients.

I probably would have given the book 5 stars, but i had figured out early on the role/relationship of one of the twists within the book. I will admit though, that in true Diane Chamberlain style; i was surprised by
Apr 15, 2010 Glenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast and entertaining read. Laura Brandon promised her father on his deathbed she would check up on Sarah Tolley, a woman she had never heard of. Her husband commits suicide and Laura's daughter Emma refuses to speak after witnessing the event. The story of how Laura unravels Sarah's secrets and gets her daughter to speak again is a good one. I was very interested in Sarah's story and wanted to find out how everything fit together. At the end, everything fit together a little too perf ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Sep 11, 2015 12:42PM  
  • The Kindest Thing
  • A Sister's Gift
  • Goodnight, Beautiful
  • The Good Sister
  • The Son-in-Law
  • What Happened to My Sister
  • Falling Home
  • The Summer We Came to Life
  • These Things Hidden
  • The Secrets Between Us
  • The Surrogate
  • The Woman Before Me (Cate Austin, #1)
  • Hidden Wives
  • Life Without Summer
  • The Slow Moon
  • If You Believe
  • The Kindness of Strangers
  • The Sea Sisters
Diane Chamberlain is the USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and fr ...more
More about Diane Chamberlain...

Share This Book

“Working two part-time jobs and doing round-the-clock research was a snap compared to full-time motherhood,” she said.” 0 likes
More quotes…