The Silent Companions
When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting . . . When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure--a silent companion--that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition--that is, until she notices the figure's eyes following her.A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect--much like the silent companions themselves.

The Silent Companions Details

TitleThe Silent Companions
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherPenguin Books
ISBN-139780143131632
Rating
GenreHorror, Gothic, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal

The Silent Companions Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is a tantalisingly creepy and menacing gothic horror novel, populated by ghosts, and set in 1866. It begins with a patient, Mrs Elsie Bainbridge, a woman badly burnt in a fire, being questioned by Dr Shepherd, a progressive psychologist at St Joseph's, after a year in which she has been recovering from her injuries. She is mute and cannot remember what happened. It becomes apparent there have been several deaths and she is suspected of murder. With a hangman's noose hovering over her, Dr Sh This is a tantalisingly creepy and menacing gothic horror novel, populated by ghosts, and set in 1866. It begins with a patient, Mrs Elsie Bainbridge, a woman badly burnt in a fire, being questioned by Dr Shepherd, a progressive psychologist at St Joseph's, after a year in which she has been recovering from her injuries. She is mute and cannot remember what happened. It becomes apparent there have been several deaths and she is suspected of murder. With a hangman's noose hovering over her, Dr Shepherd slowly gets her to remember what happened which she writes on a slate. It begins with a pregnant Elsie travelling to a dilapidated country house, The Bridge, where her husband, Rupert, recently died. She has never been there before, and is accompanied by a spinster companion, Sarah, a poverty stricken relative of her husband. The house leaves a lot to be desired, with two inexperienced maids and Mrs Holt, the housekeeper. Locals believe the house is cursed, once inhabited by a witch, with a history numerous strange deaths and accidents.Elsie hears strange sounds and hissing which unnerves her. The house is littered with 'companions' constructed of wood and painting intended to startle, Dutch in origin. One looks uncannily like Elsie, they appear to move, with new ones appearing out of thin air, sinister and exuding menace. Sarah is obsessed by finding out about her family history. With strange events revolving round the old nursery and the garret, and apparently hallucinatory experiences, Elsie hears about writings that come and go. The diary of Anne Bainbridge from over 200 years ago is discovered. This gives us a historical storyline about the marriage of Anne and Josiah Bainbridge, and their preparation for a visit by the King. Anne lost her beloved sister and conjures a pregnancy from potions and ancient words for a girl. This results in Hetta, their mute daughter, a young girl destined to haunt The Bridge. A litany of horrors and tragedies unfold, destined to echo and replicate down the centuries. The reader is left wondering whether Elsie is treading the territory of madness or whether there is a deeper malevolent evil at play.Laura Purcell has written a deeply unsettling story inhabiting by ghosts, and the fearsome, scary, silent companions which are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon by me. It is the ideal book to read around Halloween, or whenever you feel like a need to be frightened out of your wits. It is a story of family secrets and the traumatic history of a house that is no stranger to death and tragedy. Purcell's writing is atmospheric, with a subtle and complex narrative that leaves the reader wondering what to believe. The character of Elsie, a woman hampered by the rigidity of Victorian expectations of women, is a brilliant creation. Her development charting her path to a broken woman is mesmerising. A brilliantly spooky and creepy read. Thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.
    more
  • Norma
    January 1, 1970
    5 Spooky Spectacular Stars!  This was my kind of book and the perfect Halloween read that I read along with six of my Traveling Sisters!  Traveling Sisters Read with Brenda, Lindsay, Holly, Diane, Dana and PorshaJoTHE SILENT COMPANIONS by LAURA PURCELL is a spooky, eerie, haunting, creepy, and absolutely fantastic gothic ghost story.  I absolutely loved the creepy feel to it and I was immediately drawn into this story right from the very start. There is an underlying sense of foreboding througho 5 Spooky Spectacular Stars!  This was my kind of book and the perfect Halloween read that I read along with six of my Traveling Sisters!  Traveling Sisters Read with Brenda, Lindsay, Holly, Diane, Dana and PorshaJoTHE SILENT COMPANIONS by LAURA PURCELL is a spooky, eerie, haunting, creepy, and absolutely fantastic gothic ghost story.  I absolutely loved the creepy feel to it and I was immediately drawn into this story right from the very start. There is an underlying sense of foreboding throughout this whole story that had me questioning whether the events that were happening were supernatural, menacing or manipulation.    LAURA PURCELL delivers a clever, atmospheric, and well-written read here with an intense storyline, the perfect Victorian setting, and great characters.  The tension slowing builds from chapter to chapter with an ending that definitely took me by surprise. I was reading this late into the night with all the lights out except for the backlight on my iPad and I was spooked!  It will be a long time before I forget about those creepy and scary Silent Companions.  I don't think this one was predictable at all but I do think that LAURA PURCELL left it up to us questioning whether the events within the story were in the supernatural nature or not.To sum it all up it was an engrossing, unsettling, suspenseful, and unforgettable read that had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation and had me on hyper alert watching out for creepy wooden figures. Highly recommend to readers who love a really good ghost story!Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Penguin Books and Laura Purcell for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!!All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...
    more
  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Traveling Sisters Review with Norma, Lindsay, Holly, Diane, Dana and PorshaJoI read The Silent Companions as a spooky Halloween read with six of my Traveling Sisters and this was the perfect read that brought out an extra creepiness to our Halloween.The Silent Companion is creepy good, deliciously creepy and intriguingly creepy that grabbed our attention right from the very beginning and held it right to the end. Laura Purcell does a good job setting up all the spooky elements for this story. We Traveling Sisters Review with Norma, Lindsay, Holly, Diane, Dana and PorshaJoI read The Silent Companions as a spooky Halloween read with six of my Traveling Sisters and this was the perfect read that brought out an extra creepiness to our Halloween.The Silent Companion is creepy good, deliciously creepy and intriguingly creepy that grabbed our attention right from the very beginning and held it right to the end. Laura Purcell does a good job setting up all the spooky elements for this story. We loved the spooky house, intriguing journals from the past, the hidden secrets and the creepy Silent Companions that had us shuttering with their creepiness. The story left us wanting to sleep with the lights on and checking over our shoulders as we left a room for those silent figures to pop up. They creeped into our thoughts leaving us with a feeling of fear that really sparked this to the perfect spooky read. I highly recommend finding a comfy chair with just the right amount of light to read and let yourself be immersed into this haunting and unsettling world of delish creepiness. Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Books and Laura Purcell for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...
    more
  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    The Silent Companions is a gothic, foreboding, spooky ghost story. It is very well written and I especially enjoyed the setting of the crumbling mansion (named The Bridge) in England. The story alternates between events of 1635 to the present day of 1865.It begins with Elsie in an asylum, with a creepy attendant and a young doctor who exclaims, “I am here to decide your fate.” He wasn’t joking.The history of the house is told and it is a strange one. It was left empty during and after the Civil The Silent Companions is a gothic, foreboding, spooky ghost story. It is very well written and I especially enjoyed the setting of the crumbling mansion (named The Bridge) in England. The story alternates between events of 1635 to the present day of 1865.It begins with Elsie in an asylum, with a creepy attendant and a young doctor who exclaims, “I am here to decide your fate.” He wasn’t joking.The history of the house is told and it is a strange one. It was left empty during and after the Civil War, until family started to return, but no one stayed for very long. Were skeletons buried under the house?When Elsie moves back into the house, she begins to “experience” it. She describes her bed as “cold and sinister”, she finds mysterious items, hears hissing in the night, walks on a wobbling staircase and the house seems to be “watching her” along with the lurking servants.Just who is going mad here?A spookalicious read with a ending that made me gasp!For fans of gothic, spooky/creepy historical fiction, haunted houses and the paranormal!Thanks to Edelweiss for my ARC. Rating 4/5 stars. A Traveling sister read...https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....Really enjoyed reading with Norma, Dana, Brenda, Diane and PorshaJo! I read it on Halloween night and it made it even more spooky!
    more
  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very creepy, gothic tale. Set in Victorian England, the book opens with Elsie Bainbridge, mute and medicated in a hospital recovering from some unspeakable murders of which she is accused. Unable to speak after all that has happened to her she is encouraged by one of the doctors to write down her story. The scene is set when Elsie, recently married and soon after widowed, is sent to her husband's crumbling estate to bury him and then wait out the birth of her baby. Apart from Sarah, a This is a very creepy, gothic tale. Set in Victorian England, the book opens with Elsie Bainbridge, mute and medicated in a hospital recovering from some unspeakable murders of which she is accused. Unable to speak after all that has happened to her she is encouraged by one of the doctors to write down her story. The scene is set when Elsie, recently married and soon after widowed, is sent to her husband's crumbling estate to bury him and then wait out the birth of her baby. Apart from Sarah, a cousin of her husband, sent to keep her company, only a housekeeper and two maids live in the house. It is cold and decrepit and Elsie hears strange noises at night (getting creepy yet?). The local village and church are also very poor and run down with the villagers too fearful to work on the estate . Added to this setting are some strange full sized 'silent companions', trompe l'oeil figures painted on free standing wooden boards to resemble children and maids. Discovered in a locked attic and brought into the main house by Sarah and Elsie these have an uncanny way of watching people and don't seem to stay where they're put and aren't easily destroyed (definitely getting creepy?). Now add some old diaries written some 200 years before describing the horrific events that lead to the start of the Bainbridge family's downfall and link to the nightmares that cause Elsie changing from a confident young woman to the sad, broken shell we see at the start of the book, and the result is a very atmospheric, scary tale.With thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for a copy of the book to read and reviewNote: Examples of 'Silent companions' or 'dummy boards' can be found on the web if anyone is interested. They were popular in the 17th & 18th century and used as house decoration.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    A genuinely unsettling gothic story set in a ramshackle country house, this book kept me up late reading, then the rest of the night listening for strange noises. I knew it had its claws into me when I returned to my room and freaked out about an inexplicably open cupboard door: who did it? I was the only one in the house... Spoiler: I got a towel out, had forgotten, and accidentally left it like that. Phew. But that's precisely the kind of split second reaction you get after reading this book. A genuinely unsettling gothic story set in a ramshackle country house, this book kept me up late reading, then the rest of the night listening for strange noises. I knew it had its claws into me when I returned to my room and freaked out about an inexplicably open cupboard door: who did it? I was the only one in the house... Spoiler: I got a towel out, had forgotten, and accidentally left it like that. Phew. But that's precisely the kind of split second reaction you get after reading this book. It's beyond atmospheric, so well written it seeps deep into you, affecting the way you think and feel. It's compelling and unnerving in equal measure, with an ending that could go either way: is there a mundane, human answer to this mystery? Or are the Silent Companions as supernatural as they appear? I won't ruin anything for you, but I thought it ended exactly the way it should, clever and scary. Serious love for this spooky read. This author goes straight into my 'must read' list.ARC via Netgalley
    more
  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars! This was a gripping, atmospheric and creepy tale!This story involves an old haunted mansion, a woman living in an insane asylum, ghosts, an old hidden diary and three intertwining timelines. Add all of these up and you get one spooky, edge-of-your-seat horror story. The author, Laura Purcell, did a fantastic job creating a vivid and creepy atmosphere pulling the reader right into the frightening setting. I felt shivers creeping up my back a few times while reading this eerie and distu 3.5 stars! This was a gripping, atmospheric and creepy tale!This story involves an old haunted mansion, a woman living in an insane asylum, ghosts, an old hidden diary and three intertwining timelines. Add all of these up and you get one spooky, edge-of-your-seat horror story. The author, Laura Purcell, did a fantastic job creating a vivid and creepy atmosphere pulling the reader right into the frightening setting. I felt shivers creeping up my back a few times while reading this eerie and disturbing story. The characters were well-developed – I appreciated every one of them and how they fit into this sinister tale. I enjoyed each timeline – every story carried an important piece of this mysterious puzzle. While I enjoyed the atmosphere and uniqueness of this story, I had a hard time suspending my belief a few times. I still have some lingering questions relating to how a couple events transpired.I liked the sense of vagueness left at the end of the novel. The story was left open to the readers interpretation which suited the novel completely. This was an excellent choice for a Traveling Sister Read! I enjoyed reading this along with my “sisters” Brenda, Norma, Diane S, Dana and Holly B. They helped me get through the frighteningly creepy parts, although I still may have to sleep with the lights on for a while.A big thank you to Edelweiss, Frontlist and Laura Purcell for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister Read reviews, please visit Norma and Brenda’s fabulous blog at:https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
    more
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This is a deeply unsettling, wonderfully atmospheric and truly creepy novel. We first meet Elsie Bainbridge as a patient in an asylum, where she is suspected of murder. The progressive Dr Shepherd encourages her to write down her story, as she is refusing, or unable, to speak. What emerges is her recounting how she married Rupert Bainbridge, largely to help save her brother’s match factory. However, although the marriage was one of convenience, Elsie found herself surprisingly happy to be the wi This is a deeply unsettling, wonderfully atmospheric and truly creepy novel. We first meet Elsie Bainbridge as a patient in an asylum, where she is suspected of murder. The progressive Dr Shepherd encourages her to write down her story, as she is refusing, or unable, to speak. What emerges is her recounting how she married Rupert Bainbridge, largely to help save her brother’s match factory. However, although the marriage was one of convenience, Elsie found herself surprisingly happy to be the wife of her new husband. Sadly, though, she shortly finds herself both pregnant and widowed; sent by her brother to stay at her husband’s country house, The Bridge.Forget any ideas of a country idyll though. The Bridge huddles miserably in the muddy countryside, neglected and forlorn; surrounded by a straggle of cottages, whose inhabitants seem to view the big house with suspicion. As locals refuse to work there, Elsie finds housekeeper Edna Holt and two maids, plus she is accompanied by Sarah, a poor relation of her husband, who is acting as her companion. Unsettled and lonely, Elsie begins to hear noises at night. Exploring with Sarah, the pair uncover some strange wooden Dutch ‘companions,’ which are lifelike, cut out paintings. Initially Elsie thinks they are interesting and unusual, but soon the companions seem to have a life of their own… Along with the companions, Sarah uncovers a diary from Anne Bainbridge, her ancestor, written two hundred years before. Anne, and her husband, Josiah, are thrilled that Charles I and his wife, Henrietta Maria, are to visit their house. However, Josiah is keen that their mute daughter, Hetta, is kept away from the royal visitors. Tragedies also seem to follow the house throughout the years, leaving a sense of deep disquiet and unease among the locals. This is a clever, intelligent novel, with a good storyline and characters. It is eerie, wonderfully well written and you are unsure whether events are down to the supernatural or whether something else is behind the strange events in the house. An excellent novel and a wonderfully creepy read. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
    more
  • PorshaJo
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come.
  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    The Silent Companions is a book that quite honestly pulled the rug out from under my feet. How come? Well, it's a book that was alright, but honestly, I didn't think I would be so engrossed in the book that I had to finished reading it before I slept. So, I read until almost midnight because somewhere along the way came a moment when I just couldn't stop reading the book.Now, it takes a lot to scare or even creep me out and honestly, this book didn't manage that. But, it was interesting and addi The Silent Companions is a book that quite honestly pulled the rug out from under my feet. How come? Well, it's a book that was alright, but honestly, I didn't think I would be so engrossed in the book that I had to finished reading it before I slept. So, I read until almost midnight because somewhere along the way came a moment when I just couldn't stop reading the book.Now, it takes a lot to scare or even creep me out and honestly, this book didn't manage that. But, it was interesting and addictive to read. And, I just wanted to learn the truth about the wooden figures, the silent companions and what the old diaries from the 1700-century will tell. And, what really happened to Elsie's husband Rubert? Did he just die, and are the servants really sincere? What really happened in the house that is said to be cursed? I just love haunted houses, cursed houses, placed in a desolate landscape with an atmosphere of doom. If you like a book with dual storylines, mysteries, and especially love to read about old houses that are said to be cursed than you will love this book. The Silent Companions is a book that took me by surprise and I loved how I slowly was bulled into the story and how I just needed to read one more chapter. Love books like that! I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
    more
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.The perfect book for a cold Autumn night, The Silent Companions kept me up half the night with fright for all the right reasons.We start by meeting psychiatric patient Elsie Bainbridge, hiding from a traumatic past with the threat of the hangman looming above her. She seems to harbour an irrational fear of wood, and has lost the ability to speak. With the help of a newly enthusiastic doctor, she starts her recovery by writing down h I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.The perfect book for a cold Autumn night, The Silent Companions kept me up half the night with fright for all the right reasons.We start by meeting psychiatric patient Elsie Bainbridge, hiding from a traumatic past with the threat of the hangman looming above her. She seems to harbour an irrational fear of wood, and has lost the ability to speak. With the help of a newly enthusiastic doctor, she starts her recovery by writing down her version of recent events. We are then thrown into Elsie's life a year previously, as she arrives newly widowed and newly pregnant at the ancestral home of her late husband with a spinster cousin, Sarah. The housekeeper and servants are inept, and the local villagers openly hostile - holding a grudge following a number of tragic accidents some years ago. On top of this, the house has a menacing atmosphere - with strange noises at night and the sudden appearances of sinister silent companions that seem to move from room to room.With the discovery of a diary from 200 years ago, Sarah and Elsie hope to answer the reasons behind the unnatural feel to the house - but what they discover may have been better left hidden.There are three main timelines within the story - Elsie within the psychiatric facility, Elsie at the ancestral home a year previously, and the diary story line of 200 years prior. At times, I found the diary story line quite dull and wanted to skip it. A lot of the information provided within this timeline is rather obvious, and is repeated later on by Sarah anyway. I also didn't really warm to any of the characters. I think perhaps if more time had be spent dedicated to this story line, instead of in small chapters that interrupted the flow of the main narrative, I would have appreciated the information it offered more. The other two timelines worked well together, and the characters here were much more well developed.Elsie is a wonderful main character - to see the change from newly widowed yet still hopeful woman, to deranged mad woman was a large task to take on - yet I feel Laura Purcell handled it well. You feel as desperate as Elsie does when no-one believes her story, and I found myself really rooting for her - even though I knew it was ultimately hopeless.. The subtle hints scattered throughout Elsie's backstory relating to her late mother, father and Jolyon were also craftily done. I like it when books sometimes don't spell everything out for the reader, and allow their own deductions to work out the mysteries.Sarah I was less enamoured with. On multiple occasions I found Sarah's obsession with her family history grating, and her insipidness really annoyed me. I understood the reasoning behind this though, as I felt that this was how Elsie felt about Sarah at the beginning too - and indeed their relationship development was definitely a positive to the narrative, although I still thought Sarah relied too heavily on Elsie to 'solve' everything.That said, the book itself has such a good atmospheric, creepy feel to it that I was immediately drawn into the world. There's an underlying sense of foreboding throughout - and although there's a slow build up of tension, the release at the end of the novel really packed a punch. The ending was pretty obvious,but I was still genuinely left feeling unsettled and frightened, and it will be a long time before I forget about the silent companions. Perfect for spooky nights.
    more
  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    I started reading The Silent Companions and fell headfirst into it. This is the kind of book you make time to read, the kind you tuck yourself away with to finish.In 1865, Elsie finds herself widowed shortly after her marriage to Rupert Bainbridge. Accompanied by Rupert's spinster cousin Sarah, she journeys to the Bainbridges' country seat and finds it in a state of disrepair. The few staff are inexperienced, as the people of Fayford refuse to work at the house: some say a villager was murdered I started reading The Silent Companions and fell headfirst into it. This is the kind of book you make time to read, the kind you tuck yourself away with to finish.In 1865, Elsie finds herself widowed shortly after her marriage to Rupert Bainbridge. Accompanied by Rupert's spinster cousin Sarah, she journeys to the Bainbridges' country seat and finds it in a state of disrepair. The few staff are inexperienced, as the people of Fayford refuse to work at the house: some say a villager was murdered there, while others believe a Bainbridge ancestor was a witch. Things take a turn for the spooky when Elsie ventures into the garret and is confronted with a painted wooden figure which has a striking resemblance to her younger self. It's not long before more of these figures – known as 'silent companions' – begin to appear in the house. Meanwhile, Sarah finds a diary belonging to her 17th-century ancestor Anne, whose story may shed some light on the secret of the companions.At first, I wasn't sure how I would get on with this book (especially as I don't read much historical fiction anymore), but from the scene of Elsie's arrival in Fayford, I was hooked. Purcell creates a delightfully eerie atmosphere, laden with mist and mystery, overflowing with creepy details and things that go bump in the night. If you relish the conventions of gothic horror in their purest, most traditional form, you will find much to enjoy here. It reminded me of John Boyne's This House is Haunted, John Harwood's The Asylum, and The Miniaturist if it was actually good a ghost story.The last few chapters do get a bit silly and over-the-top, and I think the ending would have had more impact if it'd been a little more ambiguous. Also (though this isn't necessarily a criticism) I found the companions intriguing rather than frightening (especially their origins, and the whole thing with the shop – I'd have loved to read more about that!) As a whole, the book is far more atmospheric than scary.I devoured The Silent Companions, and I really hope the author writes more books in this vein in future – I love discovering new writers who do ghost stories/horror/gothic as effectively as this.I received an advance review copy of The Silent Companions from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
    more
  • Lucy Banks
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Fabulously slow-building, eerie gothic horror.A woman, recently bereaved, arrives at a crumbling old mansion, where her husband's body is awaiting burial. So far, so deliciously Susan Hill. However, thanks to the author's highly unusual, spectacularly eerie creation - the silent companions - this book avoids being just another Victorian horror. It's a slow, creeping tale of noises in the night, historical witchcraft, I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.Fabulously slow-building, eerie gothic horror.A woman, recently bereaved, arrives at a crumbling old mansion, where her husband's body is awaiting burial. So far, so deliciously Susan Hill. However, thanks to the author's highly unusual, spectacularly eerie creation - the silent companions - this book avoids being just another Victorian horror. It's a slow, creeping tale of noises in the night, historical witchcraft, murdered gypsies and moving wooden figures - and it all comes together absolutely beautifully. I just LOVED the silent companions themselves, these menacing wooden cut-outs moving around the house...such a fabulously unpleasant thought! Overall, very clever, entirely captivating and a darned good read. Five stars from me.
    more
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    This was WAY out of my comfort zone, I don't normally read creepy/horror-type books, but this scared me so much. I started out reading it mostly in the daytime (bright sunshine preferred) but then last night I could not sleep so I finished it. Not a good idea. I did not want to get up to go to the bathroom and I had to switch on ALL the lights and then the cat scared the beejeezus out of me. I thought it was really well written, really spooky and I am sure in a couple of weeks I will no longer b This was WAY out of my comfort zone, I don't normally read creepy/horror-type books, but this scared me so much. I started out reading it mostly in the daytime (bright sunshine preferred) but then last night I could not sleep so I finished it. Not a good idea. I did not want to get up to go to the bathroom and I had to switch on ALL the lights and then the cat scared the beejeezus out of me. I thought it was really well written, really spooky and I am sure in a couple of weeks I will no longer be scared of my shadow.
    more
  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    Creepy. As. Hell.
  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    An asylum, a menacing house, journals found from the past, throw in Gothic and Victorian and I am all over it. Elsie, pregnant with her first child, travels to her husband's estate, called the Bridge. It is the middle of the 1800s and her husband has just died from unknown causes. Her story is a rags to riches one, daughter of a man who owned a match factory, she met and married her wealthy husband when he came to invest in the factory. Elsie herself has secrets held from her past, and the house An asylum, a menacing house, journals found from the past, throw in Gothic and Victorian and I am all over it. Elsie, pregnant with her first child, travels to her husband's estate, called the Bridge. It is the middle of the 1800s and her husband has just died from unknown causes. Her story is a rags to riches one, daughter of a man who owned a match factory, she met and married her wealthy husband when he came to invest in the factory. Elsie herself has secrets held from her past, and the house she finds is not what she expected. Was reading this on Halloween, and it was just creepy enough without being absolutely terrifying. The silent companions, things I had never heard of, make an appearance and keep making appearances despite the fact that they are gotten rid of time and time again. The journals from the past reveal the dabbling in of witchcraft and of terrible wrongs committed. As a reader I was never quite sure what was real and what was imagined. If what Elsie was seeing and experiencing was in her mind or an actual happening. Loved the Gothic, forboding style of this, the constant tension, and the mix between past and present. Other interesting characters are presented and one will have an important part in the twist at the end. This was a sisters read and many of us had questions at the end. Trying to figure out exactly what happened, but I often think a book that causes one to question what they just read, is the mark of an interesting and worthy read.ARC from Edelweiss.
    more
  • Netta
    January 1, 1970
    The Silent Companions might have been a very decent creepy story. The setting – a newly widowed woman, her husband’s haunted country estate - is very promising. The writing is rather good and full of little meaningful details which in the end, like jigsaw puzzles, form a picture of wood constantly meeting fire. The characters are classic. However, this book lacks magic to me, and magic is a vital component for a creepy story. I don’t mean ghosts or supernatural powers, oh no. I mean author's mag The Silent Companions might have been a very decent creepy story. The setting – a newly widowed woman, her husband’s haunted country estate - is very promising. The writing is rather good and full of little meaningful details which in the end, like jigsaw puzzles, form a picture of wood constantly meeting fire. The characters are classic. However, this book lacks magic to me, and magic is a vital component for a creepy story. I don’t mean ghosts or supernatural powers, oh no. I mean author's magic, his or her ability to actually bring the whole story to life and make it resonate. The Silent Companions is, unfortunately, simply very well written book, one of those neatly crafted novels that you enjoy reading but immediately forget afterwards.
    more
  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀
    January 1, 1970
    A perfect, creepy Gothic horror story with a nightmarish ending.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Deliciously creepy and Gothic! This definitely deserves to be read late at night by lamplight.A review: https://forwinternights.wordpress.com...
  • Resh (The Book Satchel)
    January 1, 1970
    Ohh!! Perfect spooky read for this year. Let's go through the buzzwords:Country estate- pregnant widow- hostile servants- locked room- wooden figures - a wooden figure that looks like our heroine - 200 year old diaryAh! What is there not to love? It has all the best ingredients and writing that keeps you hooked. If you like the Victorian kind of horror, then the atmosphere of Silent companions is right up your alley. I enjoyed how the suspense built up and also how every chapter ended with a sma Ohh!! Perfect spooky read for this year. Let's go through the buzzwords:Country estate- pregnant widow- hostile servants- locked room- wooden figures - a wooden figure that looks like our heroine - 200 year old diaryAh! What is there not to love? It has all the best ingredients and writing that keeps you hooked. If you like the Victorian kind of horror, then the atmosphere of Silent companions is right up your alley. I enjoyed how the suspense built up and also how every chapter ended with a small jolt of shock. I was trying to guess 'what happens next' after every chapter. The only thing I found lacking was the ending being a bit underwhelming (for me). It felt flat, but no big complaints about that, because after all it is a ghost story. I would recommend the book for a spooky read that will keep you entertained. Much thanks to Bloomsbury India for a copy of the novel. All opinions are my own.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
    more
  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    'Perhaps that is why you do not like wood. Because it reminds you of the fire.'This is a deliciously Gothic story which weaves together those perennial tropes of a decayed old mansion, a pregnant woman, sinister children and the 'is she mad or is there something evil here' trope. It reminds me, in places, of James' The Turn of the Screw with touches also of Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger. And thinking of it in comparison with those books highlights why it was only a 3-star book for me, as muc 'Perhaps that is why you do not like wood. Because it reminds you of the fire.'This is a deliciously Gothic story which weaves together those perennial tropes of a decayed old mansion, a pregnant woman, sinister children and the 'is she mad or is there something evil here' trope. It reminds me, in places, of James' The Turn of the Screw with touches also of Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger. And thinking of it in comparison with those books highlights why it was only a 3-star book for me, as much as I enjoyed reading it: Purcell goes that little bit too far in explaining things that are perhaps better left to the reader's imagination.There's a clever weaving together of the imagery of wood and fire: (view spoiler)[ the match factory, the blood on the sawdust after the factory accident, the witch burnt at the stake (hide spoiler)] that serve as precedents to the crisis in the foreground, but I got bored during some of the C17th interludes and the well-worn cliché of the found diary. All the same, an entertaining and creepy read: those 'companions', eh?!
    more
  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Elsie Bainbridge is newly widowed and in the early stages of pregnancy when she moves to her late husband’s crumbling country estate to grieve, and convalesce. But before long, Elsie begins to wonder about the history of the house, and its connections to the ‘companions’ - strange wooden figures that keep showing up in different room and contain a malevolent evil.This book was dr I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers/author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Elsie Bainbridge is newly widowed and in the early stages of pregnancy when she moves to her late husband’s crumbling country estate to grieve, and convalesce. But before long, Elsie begins to wonder about the history of the house, and its connections to the ‘companions’ - strange wooden figures that keep showing up in different room and contain a malevolent evil.This book was dreary, dark and creepy and such a great, addictive read. This kind of felt like a creepy doll horror story except there was this history linked to the 1600s in the story and it was done really well.There are three different timelines in this book - one is a future Mrs Bainbridge in a mental asylum. She is mute, and a doctor is trying to figure out her story. The second is when Elsie and her cousin-in-law arrive to the house around the 1860s and all the weird happenings begin, and the third is diary entries of Elsie’s husband’s ancestor Anne who lived in the house in the 1600s and was the first to introduce the companions to the house. I really enjoyed all the time periods, particularly the diary entires. I’m not sure if it was Kindle format I was reading but I found the switches between each timeline a bit confusing, and sometimes it would switch and I wouldn’t realise it for a few paragraphs.The ending of this just got more twisted and spooky and this definitely left me feeling uneasy, and I loved that!
    more
  • Imi
    January 1, 1970
    The reasons for comparing this gothic ghost story to the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill are obvious, but I can't help thinking these comparisons do it no favours. Hasn't this all been done before? Hasn't it been done better? There are several strands to this novel, some which I felt were strong and reached satisfying conclusions, others which felt incomplete and left hanging. The storyline set in the 19th century and involving the protagonist, Elsie, were better developed, but the histor The reasons for comparing this gothic ghost story to the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill are obvious, but I can't help thinking these comparisons do it no favours. Hasn't this all been done before? Hasn't it been done better? There are several strands to this novel, some which I felt were strong and reached satisfying conclusions, others which felt incomplete and left hanging. The storyline set in the 19th century and involving the protagonist, Elsie, were better developed, but the historic storyline in the 17th century, the origins to the 'companions' and the links to the 'present' were confused and left mostly unexplained. Ultimately, this thoroughly diminished any of the creepy atmosphere the author had tried to create. Still a fairly fun read, but by no means the strongest of its kind.
    more
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my dear goodness. Do not read this at night. Be sure there are no dolls and no paintings in the room where you read it - or at least portraits. There are no locations as such in the novel - its all set in a gothic and creepy country house - but the vagueness simply adds to the old creaky house where things move and go missing.This is gothic creepy and very real. What a ride and what a reading experience. Review to come but jeepers this is creepy stuff! Brilliantly evoked and with crisp clean Oh my dear goodness. Do not read this at night. Be sure there are no dolls and no paintings in the room where you read it - or at least portraits. There are no locations as such in the novel - its all set in a gothic and creepy country house - but the vagueness simply adds to the old creaky house where things move and go missing.This is gothic creepy and very real. What a ride and what a reading experience. Review to come but jeepers this is creepy stuff! Brilliantly evoked and with crisp clean writing. A storytelling experience and then some. The plot is sharp and the mystery compelling. And what about that cover? Chillingly immersive. I won't forget this in a hurry.
    more
  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    Marvellously built, rather creepy, and so very atmospheric. An accomplished debut.
  • Andy Weston
    January 1, 1970
    The Silent Companions begins as so many ghost stories do, with a lone female headed for a gothic country mansion. Indeed, in the first quarter of the book that is little original, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, after all, this is a gothic ghost story, and to fans of the genre, of which I count myself one, this is what we want to read. Elsie has been recently widowed and part of the estate she has been left is The Bridge and the household staff, where she will live. The Bridge is tired The Silent Companions begins as so many ghost stories do, with a lone female headed for a gothic country mansion. Indeed, in the first quarter of the book that is little original, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, after all, this is a gothic ghost story, and to fans of the genre, of which I count myself one, this is what we want to read. Elsie has been recently widowed and part of the estate she has been left is The Bridge and the household staff, where she will live. The Bridge is tired and run down though, and the inhabitants of the surrounding village view it with suspicion. A locked passageway leading to the third floor, strange noises in the night, a nursery that appeared functional then appears derelict; it's all here as Elsie settles into her new life. But Purcell's clever novel then takes on its own identity. Told in three timelines, 1865 as Elsie moves to the Bridge, 1635 with the house's original inhabitants, and from an asylum where we know Elsie ends up, the story of the Companions is gradually revealed, and it has all those elements that make a solid ghost story. Perfect for Halloween.
    more
  • anna (readingpeaches)
    January 1, 1970
    This review is also posted on my blog.I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 ☆To be perfectly candid, I was first intrigued by The Silent Companions because of its beautiful cover that made me think of Natasha Pulley's novels. (And I was right about that, actually, they are all made by the same amazing artist - David Mann!) Then I read an interview with Natasha where she recommended this title so, as a fan of her work, I knew I had to check it out This review is also posted on my blog.I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 ☆To be perfectly candid, I was first intrigued by The Silent Companions because of its beautiful cover that made me think of Natasha Pulley's novels. (And I was right about that, actually, they are all made by the same amazing artist - David Mann!) Then I read an interview with Natasha where she recommended this title so, as a fan of her work, I knew I had to check it out. She called this book "magnificently creepy" and oh boy, was she right.We meet our protagonist Elsie at St Joseph's Hospital for the Insane but here's the thing - although she's been there for probably over a year, it's very clear from the beginning that she's not mentally ill. It's made obvious to the reader that she can think logically and that her current state - she doesn't talk - is due to some traumatic experience only. She is accused of murder, though we're not really sure yet whose murder exactly, and there's a new doctor who is set on helping her avoid the very probable death penalty. He encourages her to write her story down and this is where the real fun begins.This book offers us three timelines. One is the present, at the hospital, the other is Elsie's account of what happened to her in 1865 and the last is a diary of the first mistress of Elsie's new estate - Anne, from 1635. So we start knowing that something is off about this house, that something is very wrong and the further we go, the more creepy it gets. In the locked garret of her new house Elsie discovers both Anne's diary and a mysterious wooden doll. It's an incredibly life-like portrait on a flat piece of wood, constructed by the Dutch and called a "silent companion". The creepy part so far? The doll looks exactly as young Elsie...In the giant house with very few servants - people from the village are scared of it, think it's cursed and don't want to work there - and only her late husband's cousin for company, it seems natural to put the doll on display, so at least they will have something amusing to talk about. After all, the thing is truly a work of art. But that's only an innocent beginning to a series of mysterious occurrences, most of them deadly. First, the silent companions start to multiply. And move.Anne's diary gives us the very needed backstory, tells us how the companions came to be in the house. She bought them for the royal visit of Charles I and his wife, hoping to amuse the queen with the curiosities. The diary also introduces her daughter Hetta, born thanks to Anne's use of potions and mute, without a properly formed tongue. Hetta's only friend was a gypsy boy, who Anne let work at the stables.I'm realising now how hard it actually is to convey the true creepiness of a book without giving away the plot...From the first chapter, Elsie looks like a very strong character. She worked at her father's matches factory from a young age and it was the factory that she lost her father to. The mother died soon after and Elsie was left to basically raise her younger brother. The thought of protecting him is the most important one to her but she wants to help others as well - even the villagers who don't want to work at her estate. She offers girls work at the factory, promotes her maid, allows her cousin to do in the house as she pleases even though it rightfully belongs to Elsie. Most importantly though, she holds on to her sense even at the asylum. Honestly, she probably became one of my favourite heroines.I think this was actually the first ghost story & also the first ghotic novel I've ever read. Unless Northanger Abbey counts which it shouldn't because it's really more of a satire on the genre. Anyway, my point is: I don't know the rules. I don't know if we're supposed to be left with as many unanswered questions, as we are with cleared mysteries. But that's the thing with The Silent Companions for me. Because apart from the wonderful creepiness of the wooden companions, we are also offered other ghosts - the nursery, writing only some can see, dead animals, Hetta herself. And none of those things are really explained. Which wouldn't be a problem in a single case but at times it almost feels like there's jus too much mystery in the book, like the author was afraid it won't hold reader's attention otherwise.Still, if the purpose of a ghost story is to scare you and make you hyper-aware of every sound in the house - The Silent Companions deserves all the stars! I was reading it late at night and frankly, couldn't sleep later on. In the end this is a very well written book with great characters and maybe all the unanswered questions only add value to it. Because we really don't know what to look out for ourselves. And there's wood everywhere. 
    more
  • Callum McLaughlin
    January 1, 1970
    I should probably preface this by saying that I had very high expectations going into this book, and any shortfall between expectation and reality can sometimes make a review feel more negative than it should, because the truth is I really, really liked this book – but I wanted to absolutely love it. That’s because on paper, this could have been my perfect read, as the words used to describe it in blurbs are all major buzzwords for me; atmospheric, gothic, creepy, haunting, beautiful, etc. Add t I should probably preface this by saying that I had very high expectations going into this book, and any shortfall between expectation and reality can sometimes make a review feel more negative than it should, because the truth is I really, really liked this book – but I wanted to absolutely love it. That’s because on paper, this could have been my perfect read, as the words used to describe it in blurbs are all major buzzwords for me; atmospheric, gothic, creepy, haunting, beautiful, etc. Add that to the isolated, rural setting, the female lead, and a gorgeous cover, and my hopes soared.It wasn’t that the book didn’t deliver all those things; it most certainly did, and it is indeed an immersive and unsettling read that I thoroughly enjoyed. It just didn’t give me the book tingles; that extra little feeling you can’t quite describe when you just know something is a five-star read. I think the main reason was a slight pacing issue. The book starts very slow and brooding, focussing a lot on setting the scene with subtle suggestions of something sinister awaiting our protagonist. In contrast, the second half of the book becomes a very quick succession of twists, action sequences, scares, deaths and drama that I think threatened to lose its way slightly at times by packing too much in. (I also think I lost count of the number of times a chapter ended with our heroine fainting or being knocked out. This may well have been a deliberate reference to authentic gothic fiction, but I can imagine it irking a few modern readers). It’s not that I didn’t really enjoy both halves, it’s just that they felt slightly at odds and would have benefitted from a better sense of balance and cohesion, I think.The writing is very good and has the slight sense of whimsy that is suited to the genre, and I really liked the structure of a story-within-a-story-within-a-story, as the narrative shifts between Elsie in hospital, Elsie’s remembrances of what took place at her manor home three years earlier, and the diary of a former resident of the manor written 200 years prior. This, coupled with the flirtation between outright ghost story and possible madness in the mind of our heroine, and the undertones of witchcraft and othering were the real highlights of the book for me.Like I said, this probably sounded more negative than I want it to. This is a great book; a solid four-star read that I would certainly recommend to lovers of literary horror with a gothic, old-school vibe.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    **FOUR AND A HALF STARS** I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started to read The Silent Companions.  I had put a couple of requests out on Twitter for some scary book recommendations and this book was mentioned.  More than once in fact; more than any other book which is something quite amazing when it hadn't even been published at that point!  There is obviously a lot of love out there for The Silent Companions and, because of the hype, I really wanted to love it too.  And I did.When r **FOUR AND A HALF STARS** I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started to read The Silent Companions.  I had put a couple of requests out on Twitter for some scary book recommendations and this book was mentioned.  More than once in fact; more than any other book which is something quite amazing when it hadn't even been published at that point!  There is obviously a lot of love out there for The Silent Companions and, because of the hype, I really wanted to love it too.  And I did.When reading a historical novel it sometimes takes me a little while to adjust to the author's sentence structure.  After all, they spoke and acted quite differently to modern day life back in 1865.  But that wasn't the case with Laura Purcell's writing, I found it very easy to absorb and before long I was lost in this wonderfully dark and eerie tale. Purcell's writing is expertly atmospheric and adds multiple creepy layers to her story.Elsie Bainbridge is newly married, and newly widowed.  She is also expecting her late husband's child so is sent away to the family estate to wait out her pregnancy.  The house, known as The Bridge, is nothing like what she expected.  The mansion is crumbling around her, the staff are sloppy and she longs to return to London and spend time with her younger brother.  Her husband's cousin is her only companion, a dowdy woman named Sarah.  When Elsie hears a recurring noise late at night she is both curious and irritated.  Upon investigation, she discovers a locked door leading to the garret.  There is no key, the housekeeper is unable to provide any answers so Elsie decides to call someone in from the local town to open the mysterious door.  Before she is able to do that, however, she stumbles upon the door and it is curiously unlocked.  Elsie ventures into the room but what she doesn't realise is that the door is locked to keep certain items in, rather than her out....My imagination was running overtime picturing the vivid scenes created by Purcell.  I think this book is a prime candidate for being turned into a movie or a televised drama!  I did, unfortunately, see the twist in the story coming from fairly early on but that's because I'm a sceptical, wannabe detective and others may not be as suspicious as me!Would I recommend this book?  I would!  Don't be put off if you're not a fan of ghost or horror stories as this is well worth a read (and who knows, you may change your mind a little!).  Chilling, eerie and oh so good.  I'm looking forward to reading more from Laura Purcell in the future.Four and a half stars out of five.I chose to read and review an ARC of The Silent Companions.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
    more
  • Dana
    January 1, 1970
    An atmospheric, creepy Gothic story. A Traveling Sisters read. Review to follow.
Write a review