I couldn’t have a page of audiobook reviews without starting with my all-time favourite! I first discovered The Silent Companions in early 2019 and have listened to it three more times since then.
The story follows Elsie, a young widow who travels to her late-husband’s country estate, The Bridges, where they should have enjoyed readying their home for their firstborn child together. Instead, she is accompanied by her cousin-in-law and lives amongst the few resentful staff remaining in the house.
She discovers a locked door which eventually opens to reveal a diary from one of her late-husband’s ancestors along with a wooden carving, referenced in the diary as a silent companion. A wooden carving which looks remarkably like Elsie.
I love that chilling feeling that creeps over you whilst reading or listening to a gothic ghost story. Each time I’ve listened to this audiobook, I’ve noticed a new nuance or aspect to the story I hadn’t experienced before but on every occasion I’ve found myself jumping at quiet noises and glancing behind me in case a wooden carving was there.
There were scenes involving the wooden carving appearing inexplicably around the house which were reminiscent of parts of Stephen King’s The Shining, involving some creepy topiary animals in the mist (you’ll know the bit I mean if you’ve read it!). Purcell’s writing is exquisite, with a perfect blend of historical detail and ethereal elements.
The Silent Companions is narrated by Katie Scarfe, whose soft, voice evokes the sense of the eldritch perfectly. I have since deliberately searched for other audiobooks she has narrated as I enjoyed her interpretation so much.
This book is ideal for those who enjoy a deliciously creeping sense of foreboding and gothic ghost stories. When the autumn returns and with it the dark evenings where the wind howls its fury at the fallen leaves, I’ll listen to The Silent Companions again. With the light on, of course.