Abbie Greaves’ The Silent Treatment will remind you that even dark times can lead to happy endings

Photo: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves. Image Courtesy HarperCollins Publishing
Photo: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves. Image Courtesy HarperCollins Publishing /

The Silent Treatment tells the heartbreaking story of a husband and wife who refuse to give up on each other even after their family falls apart.

Every family is faced with tragedy at least once. Whether or not the people who make up that family can withstand the test of darkness depends, not on how deep their grief, but on their willingness to hold onto one another through that grief.

Abbie Greaves’ debut novel, The Silent Treatment, introduces readers to a couple who have weathered years of struggle, and who seem to finally have reached their breaking point. Throughout its pages, glimpses into the past uncover the loss that threatens to separate them forever.

The book begins with the husband, Frank, calling emergency services because his wife, Maggie, has collapsed. This happens within the first few pages, and at this point, you can’t help but feel emotionally detached from the situation and the characters involved … and that’s exactly the point.

You get the feeling Frank and Maggie haven’t been getting along lately — perhaps their marriage is nearing its end. You don’t know why things have gone to such a dark place. In fact, it’s easy to almost dislike both of these characters. Clearly, one or both of them has done something to upset the other so much that they’ve stopped speaking entirely.

And that’s how this story pulls you in. You know you’re supposed to care about these people. You don’t know why. Just as your curiosity starts to grow, you learn there’s a secret — something Frank never told Maggie but should have. Now, with her trapped in a coma, this is his last chance to say what he never did before. So he starts from the beginning.

However, instead of Frank retelling his and Maggie’s entire love story and leaving it at that, we also get the darkest chapters of their life together retold from Maggie’s perspective in the final third of the book. It’s in this portion that we learn both Frank and Maggie have been keeping one secret from each other — and confessing those secrets might be the one thing that can prevent their love story from ending too soon.

Greaves builds suspense in a unique way throughout this book, slowly inching the reader closer and closer to the two big reveals toward the end of the story. Because the narrative shifts from the past to the present and back again, each chapter pulls you away from the answers you want just when you think you’re finally getting them, convincing you to keep going.

So you keep turning pages, knowing there are terrible things ahead. Knowing that there has to be one tragic event that lands Maggie and Frank in the moment where the story begins. It takes nearly 200 pages to get there, but it’s worth every single line.

The Silent Treatment is a beautifully written, captivating, and heartbreaking story about love, loss, and second chances. It’s a much-needed reminder that we will all witness terrible things in our lives, especially when it comes to the ones we love most. Giving up in the face of darkness may be an option, but it doesn’t have to be.

In times such as these, it’s stories like this that offer a truth we all need to hear right now: that no matter how devastating things may seem, it’s the ones you love who are going to help you ride out the storm. You’re not alone. None of us are.

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You can find The Silent Treatment on sale April 7 wherever books are sold.