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Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James: A Book Review

Silence for the Dead
Author: Simone St. James
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 386
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: “Portis House emerged from the fog as we approached, showing itself slowly as a long, low shadow....”

     In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?

     Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.

     My Review: In order to escape from the clutches of her abusive father, Kitty Weeks has lied about her background to get a job as a nurse at an asylum for shell-shocked soldiers. Kitty notices that these patients have been having nightmares. At first, Kitty thinks that these nightmares are normal for these soldiers who are still suffering the after effects of the war. However, she soon notices that there is something sinister going on behind walls of the asylum that may lead to the paranormal. Can Kitty save these soldiers and defeat the ghost that haunts these asylum’s walls?

   Kitty has a tragic past that forces her into desperate situations such as lying about her qualifications to get a job as a nurse. However, she is a very strong character. She is also very curious and inquisitive. This leads her to investigate the mystery of the haunted house. She is also strong-willed. She doesn’t have a lot of patience and is sometimes careless. Despite her flaws, she is a plucky, fun, and feisty heroine that readers will adore.

   Overall, this book is full of romance, mystery, and ghosts. The main characters are very fleshed out, however I would have liked to know more about the minor characters. Because of this, there were more questions than answers. I would have liked a few more scenes with Matron, Syd, Nina, and Martha. They had such potential to be complex characters and I wanted to know them more. The author did make good use of her characters. The story also suffered from being told rather than showing. The novel starts out slow and picks up pace halfway through the novel. Despite its flaws, the eerie setting captivated me, and I wanted to learn more of the secrets, and it kept me reading late into the night. It was a very fun read, and the paranormal aspect was thrilling. The ghosts of Portis House truly fascinated me. I recommend this novel to fans of Daphne du Maurier, Susanna Kearsley, and M.J Rose. I look forward to reading more books by this author!


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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