Book Review: ‘The Silent Companions‘ by Laura Purcell

The Silent Companions

The first book I have read in absolutely ages. I have made a resolution to read books which have been piling up for ages. At last I have managed to get my concentration back by reading a little per night. Before I knew it, I began to get absorbed again into the pages, just like I always used to be. It’s hard to review a book without giving too much away, but I shall try.

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Newly widowed Elsie inherits her Late husbands childhood home ‘The Bridge’ in a run down desolate village. The superstitious villagers view her with dread and suspicion. The scene is set. Elsie’s inheritance proves to be a strange dark eerie house complete with a couple of weird servants, who serve to add to the foreboding and hostile atmosphere.

At home

Gothic corridors, shadows and a loaded foreboding atmosphere permeate the chapters of the book as it time shifts, starting from the present, where Elsie is undergoing treatment for extreme trauma. Slowly, gradually her story begins to unfold to her incredulous doctor.

The narrative then jumps from Elsie’s present (1865) and we then hear Anna’s voice. She was the past mistress of the house in 1635. She relates the eerie happenings which are to set off the strange happenings in Elsies story.

The chain of events relating to the women’s stories are both tragic and disturbing. Against a backdrop of strange noises, turret doors which open and close mysteriously, the weird, tight lipped fearful servants creeping around and a sense of intrigue and secrets, Elsie finds herself living in a waking nightmare.

18th century dummy board

The silent companions are actually dummy boards, popular in the 17th century. They are painted figures which were used to deter would be robbers from looting empty affluent homes. One is never alone with a silent companion it seems, and this is certainly the case here. But these particular boards harbour a dark malevolence which offer no security and no comfort.

‘The Silent Companions’ flips back and forth between the two narrators, Elsie and Anna, as each give their disturbing horrific story. This intriguing page turner delivers gothic like shivers that one associates with long wintery nights, huddled around an open fire whilst a flickering candle quivers.

Images from Here

A Dummy Board Mystery Here

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