My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Don't Say a Word is a mystery thriller though it is also about relationships, love, family, and freedom. The story revolves around a girl named Julia DeMarco. Her mother, Sarah, has just died six months earlier from cancer. She is still very much grieving and feels that her world is on very unsteady ground. Her boyfriend, whom she has been engaged to for a year, is pushing her for a wedding date. On their way to the venue where they intend to have the wedding, Julia comes across a photo exhibit. As she was browsing through the photographs, she is drawn to one which shows a very young girl looking out from beyond closed metal bars.
The girl in the photograph has eyes very much like Julia's and is wearing a necklace with a swan pendant that is very similar to the one her mother had given her. She feels she knows the child but the picture was shot in Russia and is of a child in a Russian orphanage. Julia has never travelled outside the US and she was not an orphan; so how come the picture was really disturbing her. Julia decides to find answers regarding the girl by contacting the photographer who shot the picture. However, the photographer is dead but has a son so Julia decides to ask him questions.
Alex is a famous photographer just like his father. He has just been released from a jail in South America and is taking some days off from work. A knock on his door brings him in contact with a woman named Julia who wants to know about a very famous photograph that his father took many, many years ago. The photograph is something that Alex is not comfortable talking about because a few days after that picture was published, his father died. And to complicate matters, his father made him promise not to say anything about that picture.
Julia's curiosity about a girl in a picture starts a chain of events that changes her life, her relationships, and brings her closer to learning about a mystery that threatens the lives of everyone close to her. Yet she feels compelled to learn the truth about who she really is.
Don't Say a Word is an exciting book to read. There are elements of a mystery, a thriller, and a romance. It is also about complex relationships and how they are affected when things change in one's life. Barbara Freethy's story involves many facets. There is Julia who finds herself making big decisions without really confronting what she truly feels and wants. She is grieving the loss of her mother who has been a major force in her life. The story is also about how grief affects different people in different ways.
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