Be Still by Tania L. Ramos
Genre: General-fiction, Romance, Adult
Published: Published May 19th 2012 by iuniverse
World-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Jack Silver has been through hell and back. After he and his wife, Shannon, lose their daughter when she is just three days old, their family is left shattered. The effects of the tragedy are devastating. Shannon withdraws from the family while harbouring a dark secret. Jack emotionally abandons his wife and surviving teenage son, Travis, and dives into his work. But years later, on the exact anniversary of her daughter’s death, Shannon is killed by a speeding motorist under peculiar circumstances. As he grieves next to his wife’s lifeless body, Jack makes the fateful decision to lock away his faith and hope forever.
In a futile attempt to preserve his wife’s memory, Jack hides the bleak facts of Shannon’s death from Travis. As more time passes, the already strained relationship between father and son becomes estranged. Desperate to alleviate his loneliness, Jack befriends the young and witty Dr. Christina Amity-while hiding troubling symptoms that seem to increase by the day. But when Jack receives a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Amity, everything changes.
Heart-breaking and gripping, this is a tale of sorrow, pain and redemption. Ultimately general-fiction isn’t my favourite thing, generally because it’s sad and full of hurt and too close to real life. I prefer to escape into a fantasy world where I can immerse myself in something entirely unreal. However, there was something quite poignant about Ramos’ novel. It really had lots of twists and turns. At points I felt like Ramos needed to reign things in a little and it was outstretching too far into the absurd for reality, but mainly the novel was kept on track and really drove with a painful father/son relationship that had lots of deep rooted issues at the basis. I think this novel certainly had the epitome of problems that wasn’t built up into being nothing and I found I could appreciate that more. I do feel a little more conciseness could have served to allow this novel to flourish a little more, but overall it was a solid, emotive piece.
“There was still unfinished business; that was the most he could acknowledge for fact. Still demons in his head to fight. Still reflections in the mirror that haunted his waking hours.”
There was definitely a deeper emotional level to ‘Be Still’ that I wasn’t quite expecting. I gathered it would be an emotional journey, but it really did reach into some real issues with wellbeing and sanity and the realms of heaven and hell. I guess the religious touches pushed me away from liking this novel since I tend to stray away from them, but I could appreciate the otherworldly aspects. I also felt that the development between Jack and his son, Travis was working, but it would have served better to have a different resolution to the end because it didn’t quite feel closed. However as characters the growth was clear to see and I think Ramos really worked wonders on this. The characterisation was clear and whilst I felt scenes and characters were a little jumpy in behaviour at times, I could definitely interact and get a feel of the characters.
“Yeah, I know, busy. Do you ever just stop and be still? Ignore the banter in your head and be still? I promise, it’ll change your life.”
The title definitely links into the novel and some might argue Ramos overdoes the ‘Be Still’ again on occasions, but I liked the reminder to the title and the connections Ramos tried to make. It felt like a centre for the novel to revolve around more.
Definitely ‘Be Still’ is a novel that tissues are most needed for, a strong heart and an iron will to plough on even at the toughest times. On the other hand, we develop a beautiful dynamic between Travis and Dr. Amity who develop a relationship that whilst it has its turbulence serves to add lighter moments and a little romance blossoming never fails to melt the heart and endear. At times you will want to bash their heads together and at times you will wonder how schizophrenic they’re going to behave, but despite the dysfunctional behaviour they work and it’s quirky and cute and I liked it.
Overall, I think Ramos has a good general-fiction novel that I enjoyed and whilst I probably wouldn’t read it again, I’d recommend you to try it out if you like general-fiction otherwise it probably wouldn’t be your cup of tea. I think this book is definitely designed for a specific audience, but it’s good nevertheless!
More stalking available here: