#BookReview | #Giveaway: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (@spookypurcell) @BloomsburyRaven

the silent companions.jpg“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.

#GIVEAWAY

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 |

about the author3

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Author image and bio (c) http://laurapurcell.com/

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.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

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damppebbles is 1 year old today! #blogiversary #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #giveaway

200Grab yourself a glass of fizz, stick a silly party hat on your head (you look great, honest!), gorge yourself on cake and boogie on down to the dance floor.  All in honour of my little blog.  Today, Saturday 14th January 2017 is damppebble’s first birthday.  Today I celebrate my first ever blogiversary, whoop whoop.  Did I think one year ago today that I would be celebrating this landmark occasion?  Well…no, I didn’t.  I had dabbled in book blogging before and hadn’t got very far.  (If you would like proof then please click here, you have been warned!)

To celebrate I have a fabulous booky prize bundle to giveaway to one lucky winner but more about that in a moment or two.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a book blogger over the last year.  I have read books that I wouldn’t have had the chance to read otherwise.  I have met the most amazing group of people, also known as the book blogging community and have made some true, lifelong friends.  I have met authors on and offline, OH MY GOSH…AUTHORS!  You wonderfully talented people are my rock stars and if I seemed like a gibbering wreck when  I met you then that’s the reason why.  Utterly starstruck.  I have participated in numerous brilliant blog tours (apologies to anyone I’ve missed)…

giphyI was voted Fahrenheit Press‘ Blogger of the Week (well, fortnight as it turned out but I wasn’t complaining!).  As well as appearing on a number of other fabulous blogs talking about my book obsession.  And I finally made it to a blogger/author meet-up in Birmingham (the first of many I hope, so I can continue to gibber at you lovely authors).  All in all I think my first year has gone rather well!

But enough of my wittering, where are the prizes you ask..?!  I have a rather lovely bunch of Orenda goodies on offer to one lucky winner.

First up I have my original copy of the phenomenal A Suitable Lie, my book of 2016.  If you missed my review then click here.  Oh, and don’t worry.  A very kind person sent me a signed copy of ASL so I do still have one on my bookshelf (phew!).  I also have a crimey magnetic bookmark with the 50 best crime novels.  I’m not sure who they asked as my list would be quite different but it’s an interesting discussion point.  And finally, being sent from damppebbles HQ, there is a pretty turquoise notebook with accompanying pink pencil and butterflies printed on the pages.  It’s lovely and one for the stationery addicts out there.  But wait, there’s more…

The incredibly lovely Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books has offered the winner a SIGNED copy of Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson (paperback published 15th January 2017) and a SIGNED copy of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings (paperback published April 2016).  A special thank you to Karen for offering such fabulous prizes and wanting to be a part of my first blogiversary.

So there we have it.  What a prize bundle, huh?  So now all you need to know is how to enter.  The giveaway is open to existing and new followers of damppebbles.com.  UK ONLY please (sorry but postage is a killer!).  The winner will need to provide me with their postal address which I will then share with Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books, no one else.  The giveaway ends at midnight (GMT) on 18th January 2017.  Click on the link below to enter.  Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So here’s to my second year as a fully fledged book blogger.  I am honoured by the support I have received over the last year and by the way I have been welcomed into the booky community with open (warm and fuzzy) arms.  For each tweet, retweet, share or mention, each comment, like and follow…thank you!!  I am hugely grateful and still find it hard to believe that there is someone out there who is interested in what I have to say.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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One final thing before you go (if there is anyone still reading at this point!!) here are my most popular posts of the past 12 months.  I’m glad that my most viewed review is also one of my very favourite books, that makes it even more special.

Most visited post (My Husbands Son blog tour, guest post by Deborah O’Connor)
My most visited review (The Optician’s Wife by Betsy Reavley)

Thanks everyone, looking forward to the next year.

p.s. It’s ‘damppebbles’, not damp pebbles or Damp Pebbles or (OMG) DampPebbles.  It’s just like ‘Waterstones’, but better because I’d serve wine 😉

#Win 50+ eBooks in @fahrenheitpress 1st birthday #giveaway | @damppebbles

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********COMPETITION NOW CLOSED********

One year ago on 10th September 2015 a brand spanking new crime fiction publisher was born.  Now as a crime fiction fan you can imagine how happy a publisher dedicated to my genre makes me.  Fahrenheit Press are ‘Bad seeds.  Renegades.  Debasers.  Your mother was right about us’, well that’s what their Twitter profile says about them anyway and I LOVE it!

13438922_1456638627694875_2077840715170179855_nBack in June I was bowled over to be named Fahrenheit Press’s Book Blogger of the Week (or fortnight as it turned into, woohoo!).  Honoured was an understatement and what an amazing thing for a publisher to do, make a fuss of us bloggers.  This -> picture makes up my desktop background and it makes me smile every time I start up the laptop.  Thank you Fahrenheit.  You may be the ‘Hot Punk Publishers’ but I think you’re rather lovely.

Whilst researching Fahrenheit I found  this chris-mcveigh-225x300cracking interview with Head Honcho Chris McVeigh on Digital Book World.  For me, this tells you everything you need to know.  May Fahrenheit be producing brilliant crime fiction titles for many, many years to come.  Happy birthday Fahrenheit Press!

And to celebrate Fahrenheit’s first birthday, Chris is generously giving away a number of subscriptions to the Fahrenheit Press Book Club.  Here’s your chance to win EVERY book Fahrenheit Press publish in 2016 in eBook format!  Yup, you read that right – EVERY BOOK FAHRENHEIT PRESS PUBLISH IN 2016 in eBOOK FORMAT!!  That’s a massive saving of£48 or €66 or $75!  I know!  It’s such an amazing, generous prize.  Want to win it?  Of course you do!

To be in with a chance of winning EVERY book published by Fahrenheit Press in 2016 (expected to be 50+) all you have to do is follow me on Twitter (@damppebbles) and RT my pinned tweet about the competition.  There will only be one winner and that winner will need to provide me with their email address so Chris @ Fahrenheit can contact you about your prize.  There are no cash alternatives and please note, the prize is eBooks only.  The giveaway will close at midnight BST on Wednesday 28th September 2016. Good luck everyone!