Raven Books 2017
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 has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home is a locked room and beyond its door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary hinting at the house’s dark past, and a deeply unsettling painted figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…
First a comment on the book, I purchased the Goldsboro Book of the Month edition of The Silent Companions last October. Its very appearance and subject matter deemed it a Halloween read and since I didn’t read it immediately I missed Halloween 2017, (its rare for me to read a book immediately after purchasing – it has to settle on the shelves a while), so here we are, my Halloween read for 2018!
A remarkably clever and well written book, with a suitable amount of creepiness and a thrilling sense of tension creeping in. Recently widowed Elsie takes up residence in her husbands derelict country home – The Bridge, shrouded in rumour and folklore. With some mysterious deaths and a hint of witch craft the home and its residents are largely shunned by the locals and so lead an isolated existence.
Elsie arrives at the estate in 1865 and her story is told from this point on. Historical events from 200 years previous are revealed through the reading of a journal and some interesting parallels between these 2 time periods emerge, as well as some explanations for the myths surrounding the house. A third medium of storytelling is done via patient interviews when Elsie is in an asylum, following events at The Bridge, this is not a spoiler as it is revealed on the first page!
The notion of the Silent Companions is scary stuff and would make a great horror movie I think – wooden painted silhouettes made to look life like! In terms of the plot I think the Silent Companions combined with events in Elsie’s past was most impressive, plus there was lots alluded to, the hint of something can be truly terrifying!
I enjoyed the three discrete methods of delivering the story, they all linked together well, although were all different enough to avoid any confusion. This is not a quick read, the writing requires a certain amount of detail to create the haunting atmosphere required for this gothic horror. The ending is left gloriously open and for the reader to make there own mind up. I liked this and as I said at the beginning the author has written a very clever story here, giving the reader lots of information to decide, or like me be left happily undecided!
This was the perfect Halloween read for me and I am glad I waited a full twelve months to read this one, sufficiently spooky and mysterious to be worth it!
A note on Goldsboro Books – in no way sponsored, just me saying their BOTM club is to be revered, you can check them out here