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The Silent Companions

Narrated by: Katie Scarfe
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling Victorian Gothic ghost story that will 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 actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks.

Inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a 200-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure - a Silent Companion - that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself.

As Elsie's suspicions about her husband's family grow, she discovers that those around her believe a very different story - a story of just what Elsie did to end up where she is now....

©2017 Bloomsbury (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyable

An excellent story and well performed, but the recording is very quiet. I had to jack my volume up significantly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A disappointing gothic

The premise of the novel has everything you would want in a Gothic novel. Isolated mansion in winter? Check. Oppressive atmosphere fueled by the weather? Check. Heroine's battling darkness by themselves? Check.

But what Purcell promises in her blurb is not seen in the text at all, except through glimpses of prose that does nothing to endear the reader to her protagonist. I was surprised to see that Purcell, a woman, wrote female characters who were either two-dimensional, or unfavorable. For example, the main character, Elsie, despite being from a working class background, is so haughty and judgmental on every other female character in the text! Not only their actions but perhaps more unforgiving, their appearance too.

Similarly, the vilification of the 'gypsies' along with the liberal use of the slur was surprising. And rather than Purcell make a comment about the prejudices of the time, she seems to revel in them. With the murder of innocent Romani characters left unpunished and as a loose end by the novel's conclusion. The monsters themselves were underwhelming, and at the end, I found myself rooting for them over the heroine.

Scarfe does a pretty good job at trying to get listeners to sympathise with otherwise very unsympathetic characters. Her dialogue of different characters, especially the servants though, does nothing to endear us to Elsie who's internal monologue at times is so ignorant that you forget she's from a working class background. And then Purcell reminds you again, and you wonder if the author even likes the character she's created. And if not, why should we?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Eerily good...

This book will give you the creeps! But kind of in a good way!
The narration by Katie Scarfe is really quite good. She brings the characters to life.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Don’t bother. Convoluted and contrived.

This was painful to get through, and my hopes of it being worthwhile in the end weren’t realised. It meanders on through a ridiculous plot which ultimately is not explained at all, and features what seems presently to be the usual plot devices of hysterical women and abuse recollections. Too much is revealed in a rush at the end, but still no real explanation of the whole basis of the story. I still don’t know what if anything is supposed to have happened in the final line of the book. Don’t bother.

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  • Caz
  • 24-03-2018

Eerie and fabulous

Would you consider the audio edition of The Silent Companions to be better than the print version?

Yes, it adds to the creepy atmosphere of the book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Silent Companions?

Too many to mention

Have you listened to any of Katie Scarfe’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Excellent narrator. She made the characters come alive.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Again, too many to mention.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the best books I have read in years. It's more creepy than scary. I was kept in the edge of my seat from start to finish. I'm really fussy and don't usually leave reviews but I can wholeheartedly recommend spending a credit on this! It's one of those books you don't want to end as you know anything you listen to next won't quite measure up. A true ghost/haunted house/gothic horror type tale.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • J
  • 23-12-2017

Poor sound quality

Really disappointed. Half way through this story I’m about to give up because I can’t hear it properly! I listen to lots of things on Audible and it’s usually fine. 😞

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 27-02-2018

Interesting story, annoying recording

The variation of volume in the narration makes this a little irritating to listen to, but the story is good

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-11-2017

Couldn't switch off the last few chapters

Excellent narration created all the atmosphere. Good story with good twists and a good ending.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KCoop
  • 15-12-2017

good listen

sound quality very quiet, struggled to hear what was going on! storyline a little predictable but enjoyed the classic gothic thriller aspect of it.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 04-01-2018

tedious

I really struggled with this book. I found the plot dragged and the characters dull and unconvincing. I wouldn't recommend.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaggy
  • 04-12-2018

A good story with some genuine chills

This is a good eerie psychological mystery which intertwines the lives of two very interesting and engaging women, one from the 16th century and one from the 18th. The narrative goes backwards and forwards in time but the time shifts are well signposted so I was able to listen to this without getting too confused. The story did get a bit over-melodramatic for my taste but I was very satisfied with the genuinely chilling and nail biting ending. Katie Scarfe is an excellent narrator and carried this off extremely well. This is the sort of tale that would make an excellent television drama and one I would most certainly watch.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • pmcmhn
  • 09-11-2018

Highly atmospheric

You should read this story preferably without spoilers. I love that it doesn’t waste time in getting you from one scene to the next. The atmosphere is tangible and disturbing. Go with it and enjoy.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Charon Nix
  • 11-11-2017

So-so story marred by poor narrator

The narrator's voice is thin,high,reedy. Her acting ability is rather limited. The story has a slow start improves in second part. Not very original but OK overall.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul Harding
  • 25-09-2018

good story. poor narrating.<br />

It's a real shame about the narration of this story. firstly, there is a weird effect on the voice. like a slight delay so you hear double. Then I didn't really like the voices the narrator put on. Never got to grips with it. The first book in a long time which would have been better read as opposed to listened to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful