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Ayesha is a petite, soft-spoken primary school teacher with a love of literature and words, whose mothering instincts extend far beyond her own children.


Her sister, Rafiqah, is a tough cop, a single mom with a fierce love for her son and a strong desire for justice in a harsh and brutal world.

Bethany is a stylish, efficient doctor, strongly committed to her patients. Despite her generous spirit, she sometimes lacks the time, amidst her punishing work schedule, to notice the really important things in life.

Faith is a naïve young woman who wants to believe that love can conquer everything against all the odds but is horribly betrayed. Despite this, she fights to restore the damage that has been wrought in her life.

Lindiwe is a dedicated lawyer with a dark and troubled past which motivates her to prosecute every case she takes on as vigorously as she can.


‘The Silence of the Shadows’ is about five different South African women. Cape Town is home to each one of them and, surrounded by its mountains and seas, but also by the struggles and difficulties of a young post-transformation country, each one lives out her separate life. But fate begins to intertwine their lives through a series of circumstances. 
Faith, who has taken on a job as part-time receptionist in Bethany’s practice, is physically abused by her manipulative and controlling husband. Between Bethany and Rafiqah, the detective who investigates her case, they manage to persuade her to prosecute him and this involves the legal help of Lindiwe, the public prosecutor. But Lindiwe’s nightmare past means that her involvement in cases of abuse can never be totally objective. Ayesha, who teaches Bethany’s young daughter notices subtle changes in her behaviour and, together with Faith, make a shocking discovery, one which almost escapes everyone’s notice amidst the all-consuming drama of the trial. 

This is the story of five ordinary women and of how their presence in each other’s lives brings hope and support. It tells the powerful truth that being there for another person and carrying them when the going gets tough are the most certain predictors of healing. ‘The Silence of the Shadows’ is a novel about the strength and frailty in each of us, the recognition that at different times we can be either the helper or the helped and that it is totally acceptable to be both.

The Silence of the Shadows by Cathy Donald

SKU: 9781776056323
  • Cathy Donald was born and educated in Gqeberha / Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. From an early age she loved writing stories, and later became involved in speech and drama, as well as script writing for dramatic productions and musicals. Her career path, however, led her in a different direction and she qualified as a medical doctor at the University of the Witwatersrand, subsequently working in rural hospitals as well as urban private practices. Since her children have become adults, she has again been able to indulge her passion for words and stories.
    She has written and published five novels over the past eight years; "The Reluctant Cuckoo" (2016), "Miles to Go" (2018) "The Silence of the Shadows" (2020) “Breathless” (2022) and “The First Stone” (2023)
    In 2022, her novel “The Silence of the Shadows” was awarded the Jury prize at the Milan International Literary Awards. 

    She lives in Somerset West with her husband, Roy, and has three adult children.

    All her novels celebrate family and friendship and the life-affirming values that mean so much to her. Most are set in South Africa and handle issues that are relevant both to fellow South Africans and to the world at large.

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