The place and time of this story are never specified, but I'm guessing colonial era America. After two years missing, Judith comes home with her tongue cut out. Her friend, Lottie, who disappeared around the same time as she did is dead. The villagers of Roswell Station, including her own mother, are ashamed of Judith and she is treated like a pariah. All she can do is silently pour out her heart to Lucas, the boy she has loved since childhood, but he is now engaged to another girl. When the village is attacked by "Homelanders" Judith and Lucas effectively save it, but their actions bring them both into disrepute. What is the mystery surrounding Judith's disappearance? Can she learn to talk again? Will she and Lucas survive their disgrace and end up together? These are the questions that Judith's narrative slowly resolves.
At first, I found this book a little irritating. It's written in the first-person present tense, and Judith addresses herself to Lucas who is referred to throughout as "you". Some of its chapters, or sections, are only a few lines long. These factors combined to make me feel the book was bitty and difficult to get into. What changed my mind was taking it with me to Glasgow Women's Library's Reading Hour for Book Week Scotland - a whole hour of concentrated reading got me gripped, and I started to care what happened to the characters. The book is more than just a romance or a mystery - it raises important questions of what defines our identity and how we treat those who are different from the norm. I'm glad I persevered.
My thanks to Templar Publishing for supplying me with a copy of this book.