The Silent Companions – Laura Purcell : An honest review
I’m sorry to have to disappoint you all but it’s coming. The nights are drawing in, there is a certain dip in that sweltering summer daytime heat. We’ve actually had the log fire burning three times this week. But I have to remind myself I’m no longer in London, that I’m back in the wilds of Wales. Looking out on the very atmospheric mist rolling over my moor. But still, it’s getting to the time of year when picking up a spooky book is a good idea. Personally I think it’s a good idea at any time of year. But I’m weird. I’m so excited about reviewing this book, The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (@Spooky Purcell on twitter!). As I honestly didn’t expect it to be much good. I probably shouldn’t admit that here either as she may well read this review! How wrong I was!
It’s been such a long time since any book gave me the heebie-jeebies. I’m a big fan of getting spooked, and being a fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft I’m a hard nut to spook. I’m happy, well I don’t know if happy is the right word to use. I can safely say that I haven’t rested easy since reading this book. For a hardened horror reader, and sometimes author, this is a tough thing to admit!
I love things giving me the heebie-jeebies. It’s not about all out gore when you’re reading horror. It’s a number of accumulating factors. A good story, a tad of suspense, a deep rooted secret and tonnes of atmosphere. A gothic horror such as The Woman in Black you’ll understand that there is an artistry to putting a novel like this together. For enticing the emotive responses from the reader. Well Laura Purcell nails the putting your hair on end thing. From every fine detail to the smells surrounding the characters which promote their backstory memories and the weather portraying the mood of the scene. It’s artistically placed, and with her magical command of language and tone she sets your goose-bumps on edge in a typically things that go bump in the night storyline.
I love gothic horror. Victorian Penny Dreadfuls get me very excited, but as I’ve mentioned it’s been so tough to find one that actually spooks me out. This one does. And goes the extra mile.
I’m not going to divulge any major spoilers, but the story revolves around a young, pregnant widow (Elsie) carrying scars both literal and metaphorical to the family home of her newly deceased husband. He has left all his material wealth to her including The Bridge, a home once visited by Royalty. Her companion is her husband’s shy and pushed aside cousin, Sarah.
Once she arrives at The Bridge, a jigsaw puzzle of events unfolds before her in a mystery. Cue lots of atmosphere, creepy shenanigans, and a very suspicious silent wooden companion which has an uncanny resemblance to herself. Many of the goings on rake up uncomfortable memories for our heroine. Add to the mix a past present and future storyline, and the mystery begins to unravel very slowly…
I seriously couldn’t put this book down and read it in three nights. I asked for a suitably creepy book and I found it. This is one of the books you have to read as the nights are drawing in, and if you’re looking for your ideal companion to give you the spooks as the seasons change before us this is definitely it! Some of the chapters you have to read with the lights on. I swear I was reading this in the living room whilst G my two year old entertained himself with his duplo garage on the floor. I don’t know what happened but one minute he was on the floor and the next he was standing right next to me. When he hollered mam, I must have physically jumped out of my skin as my reaction made him upset. Oops bad mother.
To think this is also Laura Purcell’s debut novel. Well it’s amazing and she has received so much critical acclaim for it which is well deserved. In my humble opinion approaching as just a normal reader, I can only tell you how I’ve checked under my bed and made sure the kids are ok every night since reading this book. It leaves a mark, and those types of novels are definitely the ones you remember.
I read one that left such a mark on me a few years ago. It was called The English Monster by an author called Lloyd Shepherd, @Lloydshep on Twitter. Now his novels are amazing and I’ve followed him since his debut, I’m very much looking forward to read the second novel now which is called The Corset and out in October!
As you can guess I would highly recommend this book! Beware the Silent Companions!
You can buy your copy of The Silent Companions by Clicking here. It’s £3.99 at the moment so grab it!
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