cover image The Raging Quiet

The Raging Quiet

Sherryl Jordan. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $17 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82140-0

Jordan (Winter of Fire) transports readers to a craggy seaside town for this sweeping story of a blossoming friendship between a young woman outsider and a young man whom the townsfolk deem mad. Marnie arrives in the village of Torcurra to live in a rundown and isolated cottage with her new husband, Isake Isherwood, the son of a nobleman. After a mere two days of marriage, Isake dies in a freak accident for which the villagers unfairly blame Marnie, whom they suspect is a witch. In this hostile environment the parish priest and an outcast boy Marnie dubs Raven are the young widow's only allies. She realizes that Raven is deaf rather than--as the superstitious townsfolk believe--possessed by demons, and develops a sign language with which the two young people communicate (fueling suspicions of witchcraft). Jordan blends a zealous supporting cast with the flavor of Hawthorne with the societal forces of Hardy as she plays out Marnie's tortuous fate. A few elements may be familiar to adult readers (e.g., a mysterious hidden treasure), but Marnie's ordeal at the hands of witch-hunters and Raven's efforts to learn to communicate make for riveting reading. The land itself takes on a hypnotic presence, culminating in a primal dance on a Stonehenge-like stage. Even if readers see a few developments coming, the anticipation is pure pleasure. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)