Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: October 10th, 2017
Source: Pansing Singapore
Page Count: 384
Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…
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..
Marked as one of my favourite reads for the new year, The Silent Companions is a gothic novel not to be missed. I don’t know how you can ever prepare yourself for The Silent Companions for it is a thrilling, creepy and highly addictive gothic novel with horror elements. The Silent Companions is set in 19th century England where Elsie, our protagonist, finds herself newly widowed and with child, in an abandoned mansion inherited by her late husband. In the attic (because that’s where all horrible, haunting things and creatures normally reside) Elsie finds wooden human portraits called Silent Companions of various characters and places them around the house.
Silent Companions are actually real, and if you Google it, you’ll find an interesting read of their Dutch origins and artistry. Why anyone would want life-sized wooden portraits is beyond me.
Not to mention they’re a fire hazard.
Anyway, The Silent Companions is my second gothic fiction and I’m beginning to fall in love with this genre. The Silent Companions no doubt kept me wide awake at night as I breezed through pages seeing the companions through Elsie’s eyes and experiencing the horrors that surround them.
I’m getting goosebumps just writing this review!
Purcell writes of tantalizing ghosts embedded within wooden portraits in the perfect Victorian era to engulf us in this haunting story. We read of Elsie hearing hissing noises from the attic and odd occurrences in the mansion during her stay. After the discovery of the companions, we see many unexplained events unfolding that always, always involved the companions. They appear around the house without anyone having moved them and they observe the occupants, haunting them in their creepy, eerie way. She delivers an intense story plot that leaves us wandering at the end of the mysteries of the paranormal.
As an ancestor’s diary reveals the mansion’s dark history, we’re taken on a wild ride alternating between 17th and 19th century England. And as the companions reveal the reason behind their existence, you’ll no doubt be taken aback by the twists and scares that are bound your way.
Elsie and the rest of the characters in The Silent Companions are written so well that you will not forget them any time soon. Including the wooden companions. Oh, especially them.
If you’re looking for something to read during Halloween or something to scare the wits out of you in a subtle, quiet way, The Silent Companions is the perfect pick.
Thank you Pansing Singapore for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.