The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell – Review

The little information that I read about The Silent Companions, painted a somewhat different picture in my head from what the story actually was. I went in expecting some kind of mysterious, period fantasy, which was technically not incorrect. However the genre was a lot closer to a gothic horror than I was anticipating.

I have to admit to having some trepidation when it comes to horror stories, I jump at my own shadow on a sunny day, yet I found it quite easy going to read this one.

At first that is.

Once I had realized what genre I had slipped into, it was too late to stop reading, I’m the sort of person who needs to see a horror story to it’s finale otherwise it will work on my mind.

Armed with the surety of what I was getting into, I found that there was very little tension built which, considering the genre, felt a little disappointing. However I powered on, determined to get through to the end and put it behind me.

It was not until it was over that I realized how sneakily the tension had been built, so much so that I almost fell off my chair in the break room when, whilst I was reading on my lunch break, someone had simply entered the room. I had been so caught up that when the tension had built up, I had not noticed it at all, so seamless it had been.

The only real criticism that I had was the way that it ended; not how it ended, simply how it had been written. The abruptness dissolved any tension that should have been present. The protagonist’s story was finished and the narrative resolved, yet it felt as though there were something missing. Perhaps that is how this genre is usually written and ended, unfortunately I have next to no basis for comparison. If this is the case then it was very well done. For me though, there were no lingering thoughts or deep feelings, no emotion that was tied to what was written, no lasting impression.

As the story ended, so did my interest.

I digress.

Despite my personal interpretation of the ending, it was a very good book. The narrative was well paced and the characters existed enough that they were believable and sympathetic. I would recommend to anyone with a penchant for a gripping gothic horror.

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