Where are we?
When are we?
What are we doing here?
What key is it in?
Can a group of handbell ringers find artistic fulfillment, esprit de corps
, and (possibly) love when their annual week-long tour goes suddenly and wildly awry?
Yes (sort of) if they are moved along by the capable manipulations of author Sherry Grahm. The Silent Bell
is the adventure of true-to-life, everyday characters in their frantic yet comical struggle to complete their journey safely and avoid the wrath of their demanding director. Each chapter moves the Byers Ford Bells briskly along on a tour none of them could have imagined, and none of them will ever forget.
The story is told from the point of view of Paula Keyes, part-time handbell ringer and full-time librarian. Paula's own private passion, in addition to her bells, is the darkly mysterious Bjorn DiCecco, who has joined the group as an emergency substitute. In her unanticipated role as Bjorn's confidante, Paula is the first to know when he receives the unexpected gift that will so dramatically alter the course of the tour.
The Byers Ford group is a motley crew of mostly lovable miscreants: "Helen is sarcastic, Brandon is pushy, [and] Jane is judgmental." Kelly's ringing skills are apparently not improved by stress. Iona, drafted when the need arises for yet another
emergency substitute, is something else entirely. And nobody likes Amanda, the insufferable psychiatrist. Yet, as Paula explains, "Nobody's perfect ... We need each other, though, and we cut each other some slack."
As they try with increasing desperation to complete their tour, the Byers Ford Bells need each other as never before.