Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Silent Hearts"

Gwen Florio grew up in a 250-year-old brick farmhouse on a wildlife refuge in Delaware and now lives in Montana. Currently the city editor for the Missoulian, Florio has reported on the Columbine High School shooting and from conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. In 2013, Montana, her first novel in the Lola Wicks detective series, won the High Plains Book Award and the Pinckley Prize for debut crime fiction.

Florio applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, Silent Hearts, and reported the following:
From page 69:
The ice clattered in her glass. Liv braced her wrist against the arm of the chair to stop her hand from shaking.

“It’s a two-year appointment. Minimum. We’ll need that long to get things up and running. After that, we can decide whether we want to stay on.

Liv tipped the glass against her lips and let the whiskey burn down her throat. “We?”
In this passage, Liv Stoellner’s husband has just told her about a job offer to run an organization, Face the Future, aimed at helping Afghan women. It’s a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, and foreign aid groups are pouring into Afghanistan following the Taliban’s departure. Martin Stoellner is an academic whose area of expertise, Central Asia, was considered a backwater until the attacks. His career had been languishing, and he’d begun an ill-advised flirtation with a student. Liv loves her job as a researcher in a college library, but also senses that her marriage hangs in the balance of this decision. Martin’s job offer comes with a sweetener—a job for Liv, too. Face the Future’s executive director assures Liv that she and her husband will be true partners, seducing her with this vision.

And indeed, when she arrives in Central Asia, she finds that she actually loves the work of interviewing Afghan women and assessing their circumstances. Especially rewarding is her growing friendship with their interpreter, a local woman named Farida. But even as Liv thrives, Martin struggles, not nearly so enamored of their new situation as he’d imagined—just as Face the Future is not the cure-all to their marriage that Liv had hoped it would be, especially as it becomes clear Martin is also drawn to Farida.
Visit Gwen Florio's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Gwen Florio & Nell.

My Book, the Movie: Silent Hearts.

Writers Read: Gwen Florio.

--Marshal Zeringue