“Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.
With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company.
Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…”
You wait ages for a historical crime fiction novel to turn up then TWO arrive on the blog in the space of a couple of weeks! Okay, so maybe this isn’t a crime novel in the strictest sense but my copy made it’s way into my hot little hands via my Theakstons Crime goodie bag back in July. That ‘sort of’ makes it a crime novel! Okay, okay maybe I’m talking rubbish. What this book definitely is is a wonderfully creepy ghost story which I absolutely devoured. And you can too! That Theakstons Crime goodie bag I mentioned? Well, it was actually TWO goodie bags – both with a copy of The Silent Companions so I shall be giving one of my proofs away later on. Hold tight for that though, I have my review to share with you first.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started to read The Silent Companions. I had put a couple of requests out on Twitter for some scary book recommendations and this book was mentioned. More than once in fact; more than any other book which is something quite amazing when it hadn’t even been published at that point! There is obviously a lot of love out there for The Silent Companions and, because of the hype, I really wanted to love it too. And I did.
When reading a historical novel it sometimes takes me a little while to adjust to the author’s sentence structure. After all, they spoke and acted quite differently to modern day life back in 1865. But that wasn’t the case with Laura Purcell’s writing, I found it very easy to absorb and before long I was lost in this wonderfully dark and eerie tale. Purcell’s writing is expertly atmospheric and adds multiple creepy layers to her story.
Elsie Bainbridge is newly married, and newly widowed. She is also expecting her late husband’s child so is sent away to the family estate to wait out her pregnancy. The house, known as The Bridge, is nothing like what she expected. The mansion is crumbling around her, the staff are sloppy and she longs to return to London and spend time with her younger brother. Her husband’s cousin is her only companion, a dowdy woman named Sarah. When Elsie hears a recurring noise late at night she is both curious and irritated. Upon investigation, she discovers a locked door leading to the garret. There is no key, the housekeeper is unable to provide any answers so Elsie decides to call someone in from the local town to open the mysterious door. Before she is able to do that, however, she stumbles upon the door and it is curiously unlocked. Elsie ventures into the room but what she doesn’t realise is that the door is locked to keep certain items in, rather than her out….
My imagination was running overtime picturing the vivid scenes created by Purcell. I think this book is a prime candidate for being turned into a movie or a televised drama! I did, unfortunately, see the twist in the story coming from fairly early on but that’s because I’m a sceptical, wannabe detective and others may not be as suspicious as me!
Would I recommend this book? I would! Don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of ghost or horror stories as this is well worth a read (and who knows, you may change your mind a little!). Chilling, eerie and oh so good. I’m looking forward to reading more from Laura Purcell in the future.
Four and a half stars out of five.
I chose to read and review an ARC of The Silent Companions. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
I have one paperback proof copy of The Silent Companions to giveaway to a UK/IRE winner! All you need to do is click the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions. Due to postage costs I’m afraid this giveaway is open to UK/IRE residents only. The winner will receive a proof copy of The Silent Companions, there is no cash alternative on offer. The competition will be open until midnight (BST) on 11th October 2017. The winner will be required to provide their postal address so I may send their prize. Their address will not be passed onto any third parties. Give the link a click and GOOD LUCK!
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell was published in the UK by Bloomsbury Raven on 5th October 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats |
Laura Purcell writes biographical fiction about the Georgian Queens and ‘spooky’ Victorian novels. She lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Laura is represented by Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens Literary Agency.
THE SILENT COMPANIONS will be published by Bloomsbury in October 2017 (US Penguin, March 2018).
QUEEN OF BEDLAM (2014) and MISTRESS OF THE COURT (2015) were published by Myrmidon and are available from all book retailers.