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. For 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…
Laura Purcell weaves a web of intrigue in this novel. Yes, it spooked me to high heaven but there is a deeper story here, presented through Elsie Bainbridge. Hints throughout the novel suggest that Elsie has had a difficult past and this calls into question her reliability as the story teller. It is expertly done.
Elsie is not your typical lady, having been brought up in and running a match factory and you can’t help but notice the arrogance of her new position:
Of all people, Elsie found the servants the most judgemental.
She is also not overly kind to or fond of her new family member, Sarah, who is nothing but helpful and polite. But as with any good story, Elsie learns a few things about herself and those around her.
The three time zones in the novel keep you on the edge and you desperately want to know what happens next in each setting. The language is beautiful, with a sinister tone throughout. Dark imagery sets every scene:
Her past laid out, exposed, like a body on the slab at a mortuary.
When she awoke, the room was as black as weeping veil.
The text is littered with these gems.
But above all, this is a ghost story, and what a ghost story! I was afraid to read at night alone. The companions become more sinister with each chapter leading to shocking consequences. The characters are driven mad with fear and so they would be!
A well-deserved five stars!
Buy a copy of The Silent Companions here.
Find out more about Laura Purcell here.