Published: January 22, 2017
n the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.
His body was never recovered.
As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?
It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.
Silent Child tells the story of a parent’s most fervent prayer answered after their worst nightmare, but with complications. While Emma Price’s son Aiden is returned to her after ten years, he is far different from the energetic, little boy whose red jacket was fished out of the flood swollen river. His body tells the tale of imprisonment and sexual assault that he can’t bear to utter and so he remains deliberately silent.
By the time Emma received that phone call from the hospital, she’d finally come to terms with Aiden’s disappearance and supposed death. No longer with his father, her high school boyfriend Rob, she is currently married to a man named Jake and is pregnant with his child. Aiden’s reappearance back into her life initially evokes obvious joy, but when she realizes how broken her son is, her happiness quickly turns to horror, grief, and an eventual terror and uncertainty about what Aiden might do to his new baby sister. Her husband and the ex-boyfriend who’s now back in her life only serve to complicate matters more.
Right off the bat, Jake (the husband) comes off as a complete asshole. There’s a part in the beginning where he fat shames her. Um, she’s your wife, and she’s pregnant with your fucking child, but it was when Emma mentioned how he had to “train” her that my suspicion meter really went up.
Jake is an excessively tidy person whereas Emma is much messier, but when she moved in with him, she learned that in Jake’s house everything has its place. Rob (the ex) points this out a bit derisively, and there’s a point where Emma recalls how Jake moved her beloved childhood desk to the garage, replacing it with a newer one (that Emma in no way asked for or wanted), because it didn’t fit in with his perfect scheme. Throwing a potentially unpredictable Aiden into the mix upsets everything, though Jake does try to be supportive for Emma’s sake.
The author does an excellent job of showing how uncaring the media can be when there’s a story to be had. The well-being of those involved means nothing, and a perfectly valid outburst is ripe fodder to be used against you, as Emma learns to her regret.
This is one of her many hard lessons. Some of us are lucky to have a sheltered youth, but then as adults, we have a better understanding of what the world is, but there’s often more than one awakening to this truth, and the lesson Emma learns about masks and the ones who wear them breaks down her trust and that shelter even more.