In life you don’t find your voice. It finds you.
Violet Hayes knows how to survive the year living with her grandmother in the small town of Wandorah, Tennessee.
• Make Rose happy
• Don’t sing or play guitar
• Avoid Sally Shaw
• Ignore Carter Jenkins
It seems simple enough, right? Wrong.
• How do you keep a depressed sister happy?
• How do you deny yourself your dream?
• How do you avoid a friendship?
• And how do you ignore a boy when he’s everywhere you turn?
Violet’s to-do list just became a whole lot harder.
14+ due to adult situations
He smiled and reached out to pull the guitar toward him. He strummed his fingers over the strings and played a few chords before glancing over at me proudly.
He offered me the guitar. “Your turn.”
“And what makes you think I can play?”
I snorted out a laugh and clapped my hand over my mouth in horror.
“Play away,” he said, ignoring my snort, and pushed the guitar into my hands.
I stared down at it with my mouth hanging open. The way my heart raced you’d think he’d pulled the pin on a grenade and handed it to me. Relax Violet. It’s an instrument. It can’t hurt you. Unless I tripped over it and broke my neck. And that could happen. Probably not entirely realistic while I’m holding it, but if I dropped it and then got up and tripped, it … oh dear god, what is wrong with me?
His mom called out his name and he gave me an apologetic shrug. “I’ll be right back.”
He left the room and I remained where I was, the guitar still burning my hands. It had been months since I’d played. Months since I’d felt that wave of joy I got whenever my fingers ran over the strings.
A yearning, so strong it sent butterflies fluttering in my stomach, washed over me and my fingers moved. They ran over the strings, playing whatever came to mind. I closed my eyes and let myself be swallowed up by it all. I allowed myself to forget and be something else. Someone else.
I didn’t know how long I stayed like that but a shuffle behind me forced me back to reality. I opened my eyes and twisted around. Carter stood in the doorway, a look of wonder on his face and it made me squirm. I dropped my hands, rested the guitar on his bed, and scrambled to my feet. “I should go.”
He moved toward me slowly, as though scared a sudden movement would startle me. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I mumbled and folded my arms across my chest, tucking my hands into my armpits where they’d be safe and wouldn’t stray towards anymore strings.
His brow creased and I saw him trying to work out what had happened but I didn’t want to talk about it. I tried to duck out of his room before he asked me anything. He gripped my arm, stopping my quick exit. “It’s okay,” he said. “You’re allowed to enjoy things. You’re not betraying your sister by having fun or doing the things you want to do.” His voice, filled with sincerity and kindness, caused a lump to take up residence in my throat.
His hand ran along my arm and towards my hidden hand. He tugged on it until he freed it and he squeezed my fingers gently. I shook my head because he’s right, but he’s wrong at the same time. It was guilt over Rose that stopped me doing things but when it came to music, there was so much more to it.
Music destroyed Gran’s life. It ruined Mom’s childhood. I couldn’t love something like that because if I did, I’d open myself up to the same hurt. And I’m not anywhere near as strong as Gran. It would destroy me. It would be my trigger.
I wanted to tell him that. I wanted him to understand. But the words wouldn’t come out of me.
Posted by Unknown on 2nd May 2016
I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Violet is struggling to come to terms with her dad leaving her mum, and having to deal with her mum and sister's depression. After moving to her famous grandma's house she is finding it even harder to keep a balance between having her own happiness and being there for her mum and sister.
With an unexpected twist, this book is definitely worth a read.
I absolutely loved this book, it even reduced me to tears and that hasn't happened in a very long time. So for that Birdie Blake, I applaud you. This story is so beautifully written that I was drawn in from the first page and finished it within a day.
If you're looking for a book that'll pull on your heartstrings then just go and get this book. Like now.
Posted by Confusedagony on 18th Apr 2016
"A Distant Voice" was so well written, I never knew what was really going on until the last couple of chapters. Violet and her family have been through a lot, they’ve suffered greatly and have many issues. When Violet and her mother move in with her grandmother, things get a little crazy but I think it’s a good thing. They not only get the help they need but Violet gets surrounded by people who love and care about her, even if she doesn't want it.
I read this book in a couple of hours; I couldn’t stop reading. The characters made it come to life but it did make my heart hurt seeing how much Violet was suffering. You could tell she was going through something but you can’t quite figure it out until you get to those last couple of chapters and everything slips into place. If you're really paying attention to the story you’ll get a vague idea that something's up. Birdie Blake did a great job writing "A Distant Voice" and I’m glad that not only Violet but her family got the help and support they needed. This is a book I have no problem recommending.
Posted by completedreviews on 24th Jan 2016
They say that moving to a new place can be a chance to start your life over again. What happens when all of your old problems come along for the ride?
Depression doesn’t only harm the person suffering from it. It also hurts the patient’s family members. One of the things I liked the most about this story was how much time it spent showing both the small and big ways in which this disease disrupts relationships. I’ll admit that it was sometimes difficult to see Violet and her family struggle so much because of how much detail the narrator went into about the nitty gritty realities of living with someone with this disease. Then again, depression is never an easy thing to deal with for anyone. All of their reactions were incredibly realistic and well done. Honestly, the dark stuff had to be talked about so thoroughly in order to show why Violet and her family were behaving the way they did.
I would have liked to see more time spent developing the romantic subplot. The characters involved in it didn’t share many of the same hobbies or interests. They didn’t seem to have compatible goals for the most part, and they were also both dealing with issues that are quite difficult to solve. All of these factors lead to me being pretty surprised when they started flirting. It wasn’t at all what I would have expected them to do given their backstories and what was going on with their lives. Having more information about why this change took place would have made it a lot easier for me to root for them to end up together.
The Wandorah community was fascinating. At first I was a little unsure of what to make of the people who lived there because of how unflappably cheerful so many of them were. This was odd because it stood in such stark contrast to the main character’s often pessimistic understanding of how the world works and what she should expect from others. Once I figured out what the intentions of the the people from Wandorah were, though, I really enjoyed seeing how Violet reacted to her new neighbours and friends whose attitudes were so completely different from her own. The contrast between their world views was handled nicely.
A Distant Voice sensitively deals with some tough topics. I’d recommend it to anyone who has watched a loved one battle with depression or is curious to know what this experience is like.
Posted by Snow Story on 8th Dec 2015
Violet Hayes struggles through life. Her father walked out on her leaving her to deal with her mom and her sister Rose all alone. Ever since her father left her mom is not leaving her bed, let alone the house and Rose mostly doesn't even leave her room. They pack up their stuff to live with her grandmother Iris in a small town called Wandorah.
Iris O'Connor once was a very famous singer but her career went out like a flame after a performance that went bad. Violet has a lot to deal with. Her mother is depressed and her sister Rose wants her all for herself. This results in Violet pulling back from the rest of the world. She doesn't think she needs or deserves friends. Happiness isn't in her cards either so she pretty much keeps to herself. Unlucky for her, Wandorah has some great residents who are not willing to let Violet fade into the background.
Sometimes you read a book that you feel all the way to the middle of your heart. A Distant Voice is one of those books. Violet is beating herself up for the tragedies that happened which she could do nothing about. She feels selfish and puts herself aside for her family members who need her. I felt for her! Such a young girl who has to endure so much. I was rooting for her to find her own voice again and to understand that she can be who she wants to be without feeling guilty.
Some of the events in this story were really difficult for me to read about because they hit very close to home. I never saw the ending coming. It surprised me and brought me to tears. I finished this book literally with tears in my eyes. Bridie Blake did an amazing job with making the reader feel the emotions and she doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. This is an author I will keep following and I am really looking forward to be drawn into her world again.
Posted by Patricia statham on 4th Nov 2015
This story revolves around Violet Hayes. Her life has been turned upside down . Her dad left them and now her mother won't get out of bed and her older sister is in a deep depression. They move to a small town in Tennessee to live with their grandmother. Violet fights tooth and nail when she enrolls in school. She doesn't think she needs friends an when a boy walks into the picture she fights him and doesn't want a relationship. But she can't live with just Rose as her friend . Her whole life gets thrown for a loop.
This story is a great coming of age story. What would you do if all you had was a mother and sister battling the dreaded disease of Depression. You would do anything to help them out, even give up on your dreams . That is what Violet does, she thinks that she is enough for both Rose and her mother. Violet is a fighter but also flawed, you see her fight to keep her family together and you see her fighting the new friendships that are forming in her new school. She does a lot of growing up as you read along . She goes through so much and grows up. Carter is a great character , he helps Violet realize that she needs to have a life outside her family. They fight like cats and dogs and become friends. Then we see them blossoming into so much more. Carter helps Violet follow her dreams and finally find her voice, I really liked all the characters that Violet encounters , they all seem to push her and help her realize that there is more to life then her sister and mother .
This book is a good book for teens and young adults . They do touch on some very dark issues like depression and what it does to a family. The author handles this situation with great ease and honesty. She doesn't pull any punches when it comes to what happens when a person suffering through the disease . It all shows us a young woman growing up and finding her way in the world . Not knowing what to do when she is faced some tough decisions. You will shed some tears and smile and shed some more tears. But over all you will enjoy this read . So if you want a good read check it out
Posted by Mary on 29th Oct 2015
A Distant Voice follows Violet Hayes, a girl who is trying to find her place in the world. Violet's dad has walked out on them leaving her to look after her mom, who won't get out of bed, and her sister Rose who won't leave the house. They pack up their car and move to a small town in Tennessee to live with her estranged grandmother. Here Violet tries to fight new friendships because she doesn't think she needs anyone in her life except Rose but she finds herself liking the people she meets. Especially Carter Jenkins. It's not an instant love romance, or an instant like one at that. The two don't get along right away but slowly begin building a friendship that blossoms into something more. I really like Carter and the way he is with Violet. He is patient but he also calls her out when she needs it. They're a good balance for one another. Violet is a flawed character and some of her choices and reasoning can be frustrating, but you can't help but sympathise with her and root for her. I really liked the book and the characters. I wanted it to keep going! Oh, and have tissues on hand when you read it.