“Body Language” By Dahlia Salvatore
Review by Wendy Dawn
Carmen Andrews hasn't spoken for a year, not since she was viciously tortured by a psychopath. Forced into silence by the trauma, she finds a new life in a new town.
As a dancer, she can get away with not speaking. In her head is a mess of memories, withheld frustrations, and a host of wingless dreams. When her psychologist exhausts all of her resources, she sends Carmen to a speech therapist.
Fresh out of graduate school, Jacob Weller hopes to help those suffering from mutism and other speech disorders. When he meets Carmen, he finds her attractive, but his ethics keep him from acting on his impulses.
When tragedy strikes, his own sanity is challenged and his professionalism takes a hit. Believing that he has failed and with few visible changes in Carmen, he considers referring her to a new doctor.
Carmen has other thoughts on the matter, but struggles with her demons, ones that keep her mouth firmly shut and her heart desperately wanting.
“The Reviews are in”:
A novel that will draw you into the storyline from the first words. Well written and developed storyline. You will hear the music in your head, from classical ballet music to the raw and emotional blues/jazz. The music becomes one of the supporting characters.
Prima ballerina, Carmen, is attacked and tortured. After her physical wounds heal, she chooses not to speak aloud. Her current therapist is baffled and not able to make any progress with Carmen. The doctor refers her to a colleague, who is just starting his practice, specializing in speech problems.
It’s a strange way to end a relationship, with a handshake. All my life I’ve thought a handshake was the way you greeted someone or agreed to something. ~Carmen musing on her Doctor referring her to someone else and shaking her hand
Her new doctor, Jacob, is fresh out of college and ready to help people. His personal reasons for specializing in speech disorders make him compassionate and willing to try unconventional therapies.
My focus has always been on people with speech disorders; anything ranging from Dysarthia to Aphasia. As a pathologist, I more often diagnose and study than treat these conditions, bit I aim to do it all with my new practice. I suppose my obsession started in my childhood. I had a bad stutter. ~Jacob discussing his new practice and why he chose his specialty
Part of what makes Dr. Jacob Weller interesting is his drive. He set aside friendships to pursue his degree. The completion of the degree leaves him lonely with time on his hands for once in his life, causing him to be reflective.
The two letters before my name are at the zero mark. I long for someone to celebrate with, a friend to have drinks with, but I can’t thing of a single soul with whom I could sit in a bar and feel comfortable. My sister is just about the only person that comes to mind, but a sister - even your twin sister - is not the same thing as a buddy. ~Jacob musing on how he let relationships go to pursue his Doctorial Degree
As Jacob deals with personal tragedy, Carmen walks away from dancing and the company where she had previously been the star. Both confused and troubled souls find themselves in one of the cities nightclubs.
Carmen is drawn to the elderly blues singer, Ms. Mabel. She sees something wonderful and special in the songstress and thru a misunderstanding becomes her assistant. They develop a friendship and Ms. Mabel gives her many pearls of wisdom, to use in the next phase of the young dancer’s life.
“My name came to me so early, it’s like I’ve been two people my whole life,” she says. “Onstage, I’m Ms. Mabel. Off-stage, I’m Hilda. They’re so different, the both of ‘em.” She chuckles. “I think it’s because to let go of the pain you feel as a real person, you’ve got to become something else. But to get rid of the pain, or at least to get away from it, most people would de anything, least of all give up their name.” ~Wisdom from blues/jazz singer Ms. Mabel/Hilda to Carmen
Seeing Carmen as a strong survivor, Jacob envies her strength and ability to push forward. He knows someday she will use her voice again. His personal issues have him crying and feeling weak, which is why he admires Carmen.
Like a little boat on an ocean with a one-man crew, she has drifted alone for a year, navigated treacherous waters, weathering the typhoons. I find myself minimized by her bravery. Above everything else I want to know about her, I wish she would tell me how she does it. I wish I could know what it’s like to be truly strong. ~Jacob admiring Carmen’s strength
Truly fascinating to see the patient and doctor relationship evolve, as both Jacob and Carmen work thru their own problems. A murder mystery is woven into the storyline for interest and intrigue. It doesn’t disappoint, this draws you in and holds your interest well beyond the love story which is developing.
There are so many possibilities for the talented character, Carmen. Her choices to speak or not…dance or not…and more.
Can the sexy doctor heal her? Can she heal him?
*The rating system is based on 1-5, 5 being the best and 1 the worst.
Hero - The main male character of the story. Heroine - The main female character of the story. Story/Plot/HEA (Happy Ever After) - The over all story line and culmination of the main plot or theme.