Today, I am excited to be sharing my review of The Silent Brother by Simon Van Der Velde with you all.
Title: The Silent Brother
Author: Simon Van Der Velde
Release Date: 16th June 2022
Publisher: Northodox Press
Buy It Here (affiliate links): Amazon UK, Waterstones, Book Depository
The Past Never Dies
When his beloved little brother is stolen away, five-year-old Tommy Farrier is left alone with his alcoholic mam, his violent step-dad and his guilt. Too young to understand what has really happened, Tommy is sure of only one thing. He is to blame.
Tommy tries to be good, to live-up to his brother’s increasingly hazy memory, but trapped in a world of shame and degradation he grows up with just two options; poverty or crime. And crime pays.
Or so he thinks.
A teenage drug-dealer for the vicious Burns gang, Tommy’s life is headed for disaster, until, in the place he least expects, Tommy sees a familiar face…
And then things get a whole lot worse.
*Thank you to the author for my copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review*
I received a copy of The Silent Brother from Simon Van Der Velde, and was immediately excited to read it. I previously read his collection of short stories, Backstories (review here), and it was absolutely fantastic, so I had very high expectations for this one and it didn’t let me down.
We dive in to the life of the main character, Tommy, from a very early age, where he witnesses and experiences horrific abuse at the hands of his step-father. It is hard hitting from the get go, but it was impossible to not read on. You’re instantly captured by Tommy’s story and it grips you so tightly that you could never possibly escape. The story continues through different eras of Tommy’s life, and it’s almost like you’re seeing him grow up with your own eyes. You see the challenges that he has to face along the way, and at every turn there seems to be a new villain surfacing in his story, with the old ones still lingering around too. Tommy is subjected to traumas that nobody should ever have to experience throughout his entire life, and the whole way through the book you are desperate for things to finally go his way and for him to find his happiness.
There are so many characters in this story, with a real mix of personalities. There were a few that I loved, and a lot that I hated but only because they were written so brilliantly as the villains of the story. Some of which I was desperate for karma to get them. It was interesting to see how Tommy navigated his way through these characters and their behaviours.
There was a really unexpected outcome at the end, that I really enjoyed, and I thought it was a great twist to the story. It showed a side of Tommy that despite feeling like you knew him after travelling through his life throughout the book, you would never have expected, and I really liked that about it.
This book was at times difficult to read, and extremely emotional, and it brought me to tears on more than one occasion. It is brutal, gut wrenching, and unapologetically dark, and that’s exactly why I loved it. I couldn’t put this book down! I feel that this is one of those books that no matter how much you write about it and praise it, you can never fully do it justice, and everyone should just read it for themselves.The writing is absolutely fantastic, but I always knew that it would be. Simon Van Der Velde is an incredible talent, and I can not wait to see what he has to offer in the future.
I give The Silent Brother a 5 star rating!
About The Author:
Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories.
Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri
New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Short- story Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and two tyrannical children.
YOU CAN FIND SIMON HERE:
Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, GoodReads
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