The Silent Companions - Review
The Silent Companions, by Laura Purcell
What is it about?
Widow, Elsie Bainbridge, arrives at her late husband’s country estate, The Bridge. With only her husband’s cousin and a few resentful servants for company – oh, and a cat, don’t forget the cat! – she must try to live in this isolated place where, before long, strange things start occurring. Behind a locked door she finds a painted wooden figure, a silent companion, which looks uncannily like herself, and even more disturbing is when the companion’s eyes move.
This storyline is interspersed with another, set almost 200 years earlier, where we find out how the silent companions first came to the house, and why they seem to be alive.
Some Quotes ...
"Outside the sky was iron grey, the monotony broken only by crows. Mile after mile and the scenery did not change. Stubble fields, skeletal trees. They are burying me, she realised. They are burying me along with Rupert."
"Both companions stood beside the fireplace. There was something different about the boy, but she could not place her finger on it. He regarded her haughtily, staring to his left. He was taunting her, daring her to notice a change.
Something … The angle of his face … She shook the thought off. There was no change. Paintings did not change. It was a ridiculous fancy."
I’m not usually that into ghost stories, but I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and the writer captured the atmosphere well. I thought I didn’t find it particularly scary, until one night I dreamt about a house with moving figures coming to get me … so it must have got to my subconscious at least! I found the characters well rounded, even the more minor ones.
There was quite a lot of gore which stood out to me as not really needed. I understand the author was trying to get across the evilness of things, but sometimes I felt the graphic gore was used as a shock factor instead of adding to the eerie atmosphere.
The ending provided a suitable twist, without tying everything up neatly. You can decide for yourself whether the baddie was a ghost or someone with an actual pulse!
And it did well on Goodreads, averaging a rating of 4.09 stars. Readers loved the creepiness, the suspense, the intrigue. Some negative reviews complained of a slow start to the book whilst some found it a little confusing and some said it was not scary. However, the general consensus was that this is a good gothic book, great for Halloween reading, and historically well portrayed.
Who is it for?
It’s a Victorian ghost story with a creepy, gothic atmosphere. So, if you like the weird, the old, the demonic, this is your thing!
"She lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Laura is represented by Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens Literary Agency."
I am certainly looking forward to reading Laura Purcell’s next book, The Corset, which is released in October this year (2018). And if you want to find out more about her, take a look at her website here.