In this gothic ghost story, newly widowed Elsie goes to live in her late husband’s country estate with his cousin, Sarah. In their exploration of the house, Elsie and Sarah come across an incredibly lifelike, painted, wooden figure – a silent companion. Taken with the figure, the women move it into the main rooms of the house, but when it starts to move from room to room, seemingly by itself, and new figures start to appear they begin to question their safety and their sanity.
The Silent Companions is genuinely unsettling and very well written. As a full-length novel, the plot is well thought-out and fully developed. There are no unnecessary or over-the-top embellishments, while the ghostly occurrences are creepy to say the least.
Elsie’s story is very interesting: We find her committed to an asylum and accused of murder, and follow her story of what happened in the house as she recounts it to the doctor. She has a strong back-story with an abused childhood which makes the questioning of her sanity and strength throughout the story much more believable. I also enjoyed the loyalty and friendship between the women – lovely to see women in fiction backing each other up instead of tearing each other down!
This story contains all the elements of a classic gothic horror, and the slow build of tension is very effective. I did, at times, get a little confused about who I was reading about with the dual narrative, but besides that Laura Purcell has pulled off an almost-flawless piece of spooky-horror.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.