Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Elsie thought her life was set when she married Rupert Bainbridge. But shortly after their wedding, Rupert has passed. It was certainly sudden and unexpected. He'd been visiting his family home, The Bridge, when it happened.

Now Elsie, pregnant and grieving, is a widow. She's traveled from the city to The Bridge for the funeral and to mourn and wait out her pregnancy. It's thought that time at the manor will be a quiet respite that will give Elsie time to settle in and prepare for the birth of her child. But The Bridge offers anything but quiet respite. First there are the locals, who seem to fear The Bridge and anyone associated with the manor house. And there are the rumors of deaths even beyond that of her husband's. Then Elsie and her cousin discover a diary tucked away inside a locked room and an all too lifelike wooden figure that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself, the strange happenings in the house become too much to bear. Is Elsie losing her mind? Or are there forces at work that defy logical explanation?

The Silent Companions is a deliciously creepy and satisfying read.

The book begins at the end, in a way. Elsie is in a mental institution. Unable to speak and under suspicion of murder, she takes the reader back to her arrival at The Bridge. Eventually, we learn that by the time Elsie met Rupert Bainbridge, she had pretty much given up on marriage. And Rupert saved her from more than just spinsterhood. His inheritance was just what Elsie and her brother needed to keep the family business afloat.

In truth, to be wooed, wed, and widowed in such a short amount of time is a lot to take in, and Elsie arrives at The Bridge saddened by Rupert's death but determined to carry on. She's to be a mother, after all. Unfortunately she doesn't feel at home at The Bridge. She has secrets she'd prefer to keep from her new staff and family - Rupert's cousin, Elsie's new companion.

Her discomfort is clear to the reader from the start. And when they discover the diary, chapters begin alternating between Elsie - past and present - and The Bridge's most infamous mistress, Anne Bainbridge.

A gloomy manor house, unwelcoming locals, and a number of curious deaths... Purcell builds the atmosphere fabulously and the tension and mystery grow steadily until the big reveal at the end. The Silent Companion is super fun, bearing all the hallmarks of classic gothic literature. The perfect read for a rainy and dreary day!


Kay said...

I've read at least two other really positive reviews of this book in the last couple of days. I love how it sounds and have put it on my list. May not get to it until fall, but I think it would be good for October, right? Spooky. And something about eyes following you...LOL!

Dianna said...

I absolutely hate dolls, but this sounds so good! Adding it to my list now.