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The Silent Companions

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  17,379 ratings  ·  2,752 reviews
Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine...

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 acti
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Paperback, 364 pages
Published April 5th 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published October 5th 2017)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  17,379 ratings  ·  2,752 reviews


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Paromjit
This is a tantalisingly creepy and menacing gothic horror novel, populated by ghosts, and set in 1866. It begins with a patient, Mrs Elsie Bainbridge, a woman badly burnt in a fire, being questioned by Dr Shepherd, a progressive psychologist at St Joseph's, after a year in which she has been recovering from her injuries. She is mute and cannot remember what happened. It becomes apparent there have been several deaths and she is suspected of murder. With a hangman's noose hovering over her, Dr Sh ...more
Amalia Gkavea
‘’I am not dead.’’

Goodness me! How can I write a coherent (and non-spoilery) review on a book that has stayed with me, haunting me (no pun intended) ever since I started reading? A novel that has definitely made it to my personal Top-10? A story that is haunting and ghostly, tragic, raw, darkly beautiful? The Silent Companions was everything I thought it would be and more. So much more than a ghost story, so much more than Historical Fiction. It is made from the finest blend of the two genres,
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Julie
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell is a 2018 Penguin Books publication.

The best Gothic Horror novel I’ve read in a long time!

Elsie, recently widowed, and pregnant with her first child arrives in a remote village, with her husband’s cousin, Sarah, to live in an old home, owned by her husband, referred to as ‘The Bridge’, which has not been lived in for quite some time. Due to her husband’s wealth, and his sudden death so soon after their marriage, rumors and scandal are breathing down Elsie’
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Mary Beth
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

4.5 stars

This is a Gothic suspense book set in a haunted mansion in England. Elsie Bainbridge is the main character. She is only married for a few weeks, then her husband dies. The story goes back and forth, to the past and present from 1635 and 1865. The present discusses her imprisoned in an asylum and the events that got her there. In the past she travels to her late husbands estate, an old crumbling mansion called, The Bridge. Elsie only has her husbands cousin for company. The new servants
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Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Traveling Sisters Review

I read The Silent Companions as a spooky Halloween read with six of my Traveling Sisters and this was the perfect read that brought out an extra creepiness to our Halloween.

The Silent Companion is creepy good, deliciously creepy and intriguingly creepy that grabbed our attention right from the very beginning and held it right to the end.

Laura Purcell does a good job setting up all the spooky elements for this story. We loved the spooky house, intriguing journals from the
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Beverly
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Hss. Hss. Hss. Five big stars for this Gothic horror show, to all my Goodreads friends who recommended this, "Thank you!" I have had a scary book appetite lately, but none of the books I devoured quite satisfied the craving until this delicious nugget. Short, but terrifying, this story begins with a woman in an asylum who has been drugged into insensibility.

She is being coaxed by a kind doctor to remember what happened or she will be hanged for multiple murder in 1860s England. He wants her to
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Norma
5 Spooky Spectacular Stars!  This was my kind of book and the perfect Halloween read that I read along with six of my Traveling Sisters!  

Traveling Sisters Read with Brenda, Lindsay, Holly, Diane, Dana and PorshaJo

THE SILENT COMPANIONS by LAURA PURCELL is a spooky, eerie, haunting, creepy, and absolutely fantastic gothic ghost story.  I absolutely loved the creepy feel to it and I was immediately drawn into this story right from the very start. There is an underlying sense of foreboding througho
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Debra
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"You could not explain fear; you could only feel it, roaring through the silence and striking your heart still."

Fans of Gothic, atmospheric Victorian books should look no further - The Silent Companions should be right up your alley! This is Gothic done right! Have you ever read a book where the Author is going for Gothic and just fails to hit the mark? The Author not only hits the mark -she nails it. The crumbling estate is creepy and dreary. The countryside is dripping with atmosphere and drea
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Dem
4.5 Stars
(Great atmospheric read for October)

What an intriguing, atmospheric and scarily good story which had the hairs standing on the back of my neck.


A chilling period piece set in two time frames 1860s and 1630s which I loved from page one. I was lucky enough to purchase a hard copy of this novel and cover is beautifully illustrated and unique. This is certainly a book I will be recommending to friends but I am not loaning this one out as its a bookshelf keeper.
image: This is why for me
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Diane S ☔
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An asylum, a menacing house, journals found from the past, throw in Gothic and Victorian and I am all over it. Elsie, pregnant with her first child, travels to her husband's estate, called the Bridge. It is the middle of the 1800s and her husband has just died from unknown causes. Her story is a rags to riches one, daughter of a man who owned a match factory, she met and married her wealthy husband when he came to invest in the factory. Elsie herself has secrets held from her past, and the house ...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars! This was a gripping, atmospheric and creepy tale!

This story involves an old haunted mansion, a woman living in an insane asylum, ghosts, an old hidden diary and three intertwining timelines. Add all of these up and you get one spooky, edge-of-your-seat horror story. The author, Laura Purcell, did a fantastic job creating a vivid and creepy atmosphere pulling the reader right into the frightening setting. I felt shivers creeping up my back a few times while reading this eerie and distu
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Tammy
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel presents the disturbing occurrences that happen to Anne Bainbridge in 1635 and Elsie Bainbridge two hundred years later. Interspersed between the two time periods are scenes from an asylum. There is a back story here with hints cleverly scattered throughout that may indicate Elsie’s state of mind.

If you like well written, atmospheric gothic novels (and I do) you may rest assured that there are gothic tropes galore. Isolation in a crumbling estate? Yes, and I continue to read. Supersti
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Holly  B (semi-hiatus until Jan)
The Silent Companions is a gothic, foreboding, spooky ghost story. It is very well written and I especially enjoyed the setting of the crumbling mansion (named The Bridge) in England. The story alternates between events of 1635 to the present day of 1865.

It begins with Elsie in an asylum, with a creepy attendant and a young doctor who exclaims, “I am here to decide your fate.” He wasn’t joking.

The history of the house is told and it is a strange one. It was left empty during and after the Civil
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Melisa
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A completely creeptastic tale that had me jumping at the slightest sounds - warning: read with all the lights on!

This a dual timeline tale, alternating between the 1800’s and 1600’s, all based around a gothic castle in England with a long, tragic history. As the story unfolds, you learn more about what has occurred to put the haunted in the house.

This is a great, spooky tale, one you’ll absolutely have to suspend disbelief, but oh how great it is once you do! It does get a little gruesome at so
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Caroline
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the perfect ghost story to keep you up at night. A Victorian Gothic novel told in flashbacks from an insane asylum. It jumps back and forth from the 19th to the 17th century; weaving a dark, sinister tale that makes your blood run cold, keeping you gripped in suspense right up to the horrific ending! I loved it!!
Emma
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A genuinely unsettling gothic story set in a ramshackle country house, this book kept me up late reading, then the rest of the night listening for strange noises. I knew it had its claws into me when I returned to my room and freaked out about an inexplicably open cupboard door: who did it? I was the only one in the house... Spoiler: I got a towel out, had forgotten, and accidentally left it like that. Phew. But that's precisely the kind of split second reaction you get after reading this book. ...more
Phrynne
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
This one is a bit spooky! Not horrific really - it would not keep me awake at night- but it is definitely on the creepy side.

Elsie, pregnant and widowed, finds herself living in a gothic style manor house with unfriendly villagers, useless servants, one unlikable 'friend' and a whole heap of silent companions. These are just figures painted on boards but they have a tendency to move around and cause unpleasant events. They reminded me of the stone angels on Doctor Who which also only moved when
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Juli
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an incredible, creepy-cool story! Two women living 200 years apart experience evil in the Bainbridge ancestral home. In the 1860's, Elsie comes to the house. She is a widow. Her husband recently died, and she feels lost. In the 1660's, Anne Bainbridge lives in the house. Her daughter Hetta is unable to speak and Anne feels incredibly guilty for using her herbal knowledge to bring about the girl's birth. She firmly believes her actions caused the girl to be born with a malformed tong ...more
Helene Jeppesen
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an eerie story! Be aware that if you have a fear of wooden dolls with eyes that follow you when you move around, this is probably not a book for you (or maybe it’s exactly the book for you, then!) :-)
Elsie is a resident in an asylum, and in the very first chapter she encounters her new doctor who is set to find out what turned her crazy and unable to speak a word. From that chapter onwards, we are taken back in time and learn that Elsie, then a recent widow, has taken over her husband’s ab
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Charlotte May
In London, she had learnt to scoff at her fear as nonsense, but now she was back she could feel it, creeping, slithering. Something dark and insidious.”

Holy shit!!

What an outstanding Halloween read! This book was the definition of creepy.

Elsie is pregnant, newly widowed and about to move into her husband’s family home The Bridge. It is full of rumours and the local villagers are terrified of the house. Elsie thinks it’s all ridiculous. It’s just an old house. Together with her husbands cousi
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Carolyn
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very creepy, gothic tale. Set in Victorian England, the book opens with Elsie Bainbridge, mute and medicated in a hospital recovering from some unspeakable murders of which she is accused. Unable to speak after all that has happened to her she is encouraged by one of the doctors to write down her story.

The scene is set when Elsie, recently married and soon after widowed, is sent to her husband's crumbling estate to bury him and then wait out the birth of her baby. Apart from Sarah, a
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Netta
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
The Silent Companions might have been a very decent creepy story. The setting – a newly widowed woman, her husband’s haunted country estate - is very promising. The writing is rather good and full of little meaningful details which in the end, like jigsaw puzzles, form a picture of wood constantly meeting fire. The characters are classic. However, this book lacks magic to me, and magic is a vital component for a creepy story. I don’t mean ghosts or supernatural powers, oh no. I mean author's mag ...more
Susan
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a deeply unsettling, wonderfully atmospheric and truly creepy novel. We first meet Elsie Bainbridge as a patient in an asylum, where she is suspected of murder. The progressive Dr Shepherd encourages her to write down her story, as she is refusing, or unable, to speak. What emerges is her recounting how she married Rupert Bainbridge, largely to help save her brother’s match factory. However, although the marriage was one of convenience, Elsie found herself surprisingly happy to be the wi ...more
*TUDOR^QUEEN*
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book begins with a message from the publisher, Penguin Books: "A word of caution: don't read this book at night."

I can vouch that this is very sound advice... for I got the willies whilst reading this during bedtime!

The main character in this book is Elsie Bainbridge. She is newly pregnant, newly married, and newly widowed. It's 1800s England, and Elsie's travelling in a horse and carriage along with her late husband Rupert's cousin Sarah. Their destination: The Bridge, an old country mansi
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Konstantin
3.5 A deliciously creepy and atmospheric page-turner in the style of best supernatural gothic stories out there, but the flat characters and too often repeated horror sequences started to have somewhat of a contra-effect. There were a couple of plot holes, a few larger and a few smaller anachronisms, the story from the past didn't really ring true, although I was too swept by the story to slow down and pay attention to historical details of this one (macabre? perverse? bedside clocks? burning of ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The Silent Companions is a book that quite honestly pulled the rug out from under my feet. How come? Well, it's a book that was alright, but honestly, I didn't think I would be so engrossed in the book that I had to finished reading it before I slept. So, I read until almost midnight because somewhere along the way came a moment when I just couldn't stop reading the book.

Now, it takes a lot to scare or even creep me out and honestly, this book didn't manage that. But, it was interesting and addi
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Suzy
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Super Haunting Stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MAJOR Victorian creepiness!

Gothic horror typically is not my jam. The Silent Companions has been sitting on my TBR for awhile. I missed reading it last October and I was not going to miss out on the opportunity again this year! This is the PERFECT read for the spooky season. I’m so glad I read it.

The story is told in a trio of time periods, which I love. Each chapter seemed to have a dark, haunting setting - written with superior detail and great characters. The
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Nandakishore Varma
There are two ways of evoking a feeling of terror in a story - create an atmosphere of creeping horror, or go for the jugular with visceral scenes of blood and gore. While the latter has the advantage of sudden impact, it disappears the moment one closes the book; while the former stays with the reader throughout the lengthy evening and passes into his disturbed repose as delicious nightmare (this delectable phrase is borrowed from Hitchcock).

"The Silent Companions" by Laura Purcell is of the fi
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Britta Böhler
Deliciously spooky with an intelligent story. Loved it.
Michelle
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recently widowed & pregnant, Elsie, is brought to The Bridge which is a country estate owned by her late husband. She is also caring for his strange niece Sarah under her late husbands wishes. When they arrive at The Bridge she can't believe her eyes. This was not the lap of luxury she thought she'd be residing it. It's crumbling facade leaves a lot to be desired. Not to mention that the locals and the hired help all seem to resent her.

After arriving it appears all is not what it seems. She hea
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Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

Her first novel for Raven Books THE SILENT COMPANIONS won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. Other Gothic novels include THE CORSET (THE POISON THREAD in USA), BONE CHINA and THE SHAPE OF DARKNESS (2020)

Laura’s historical fiction about
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Articles featuring this book

For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
162 likes · 57 comments
“Death, once conceived, was rapacious. It took all with it.” 3 likes
“She slumped down by the fireplace and sat with her legs stretched out, next to Jolyon. Or what passed for Jolyon: the cruel, blue-grey parody of him. She did not want to store this image of her boy: waxy and puffed; features imprinted with horror; vicious cuts to the dear skin. But she knew it would encroach, stealthily, and overwrite all the happier times. Death, once conceived, was rapacious. It took all with it.” 2 likes
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