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Friday, 16 May 2014
House of Silence by Linda Gillard
Author : Linda Gillard
Reviewer : Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought: Lead character, Gwen Rowland is invited to spend Christmas at her boyfriend Alfie's family home, Creake Hall, a neglected Tudor manor in Norfolk, with the strange family he seems desperate to keep her apart from. It’s not long before Gwen feels things are not as they seem, but can’t put her finger on the problem. Alfie acts strangely toward his family and is reluctant to talk about the past, something that’s important to Gwen because of her own childhood. As Gwen begins to piece together the complex family history, including Alfie’s role as a fictional character in his mother’s children’s books, she feels more and more out of her depth and turns to the brooding Polish gardener, Marek, for support.
There’s a haunting quality to this book, not quite ghostly, and yet quite ethereal – and it’s quite difficult to pinpoint down to one genre. There’s a mix of mystery and romance and yet, I had a feeling that Creake Hall was surrounded by ghosts – but living ones, not yet dead. Gillard creates some superb characters here, complex and damaged in so many different ways, and yet all totally believable.
I also loved the twists and turns as the plot unravelled, feeling confident for one moment that you knew where the story was headed, only to be disarmed and taken in an opposite direction. There was something about this novel that reminded me of two classics, Rebecca and Wuthering Heights, and it left me with that same disorientation, that although everything had been settled and all questions answered, there was still an element of the unknown left dangling.
This was the first book I’d read by this author, and I very much look forward to making my way through her catalogue of novels.
You’ll enjoy this if you like : Emily Bronte, Daphne Du Maurier, Catherine Cookson
Avoid if you don’t like : Complex family histories
Ideal accompaniments : Box of Belgian chocolates and a sparkling Prosecco.
Genre : Contemporary