Book Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

9781408888094

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. But 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.

The book opens with the main character Elsie “Elizabeth” Bainbridge as an amnesiac, numb and mentally-tortured patient of an insane asylum. The doctor – a young new face highly enthusiastic about the prospect of helping Elsie return her memories reveals that she is suspected of arson and potentially murder. Elsie was severely injured in a fire, the incident also robbed her of her voice. Two people were registered to have died at the Bridge, the ancestral home of her late husband. Four bodies were later found in the mansion.  In an attempt to remember what happened, Elsie slowly begins to recount her tale in writing.

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Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Rachel is a strange kind of narrator. She’s not entirely reliable, likable enough, but at the same time – pathetic. Her marriage disintegrated and she let herself loose, falling as low as a woman possibly can. Tom, the husband, married the mistress, they had a child together and still, Rachel was stubbornly drawn to man that wasn’t hers for years. She became an alcoholic, her behavior was erratic and borderline insane. Every day she rides the train to work she no loner has and daydreams about imaginary lives of families living along the train tracks. Rachel is the girl on the train, finding a form of comfort in the lives of strangers safe at home. Her overactive imagination leads her into a murder web. An interesting note about the other characters – they all are guilty of something – liars, adulterers, emotional abusers, obsessed… They are human, but they also are flawed, very much so…

Ultimately, The Girl on the Train  is a first-class debut thriller, well-written, entertaining and keeping you guessing whodunit till the very last chapters.I would definitely be looking forward to the adaptation.

Overall: 4*

Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

“They will see the whore, the madwoman, the murderess, the female dripping blood into the grass and laughing with her mouth choked with dirt. They will say “Agnes” and see the spider, the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving. They might see the lamb circled by ravens, bleating for a lost mother. But they will not see me. I will not be there.”

Burial Rites Hannah Kent Book coverInspired by a true story, Burial Rites is a haunting account of the the last months of the life of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland. Accused of murder of her former master and lover Natan Ketilsson, Agnes is forced to live with the family of a local farmer and spend her final weeks before the execution working as their servant. At the time, real prisons simply did not exist on the island.

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She wrote murder: JK Rowling’s The Silkworm

Robert Galbraith’s “The Silkworm” is the “who dunnit?” kind of novel,  once again proving that for J.K.Rowling, there’s life beyond Harry Potter. Here’s my review of the ‘Cuckoo’s  calling’ sequel.

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