The Silent Companions
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...which leads to second timeline where we find a pregnant Elsie travelling to "The Bridge", a country house owned by her husband Rupert & where he recently died. Accompanied by Rupert's cousin, Sarah, they find the house in poor repair, run by a housekeeper & only two maids as the local villagers believe the house was previously inhabited by a witch & is now cursed, so refuse to work there. When Elsie starts to hear strange sounds in the night, in particular a hissing noise, it leads to the two women exploring the garret. Here they find the 'companions' - realistic painted figures of wood, one curiously one resembling Elsie. The women also discover the diary of Anne Bainbridge, an ancestor of Sarah's.....
...taking us to the third timeline where the events of another 200 years ago are bought to life with the story of Anne & her mute daughter Hetta.
From here on the horrors unfold both in the past & present making for a spooky read that at times I found quite unsettling. The fact that Elsie is now in hospital...or asylum...gives you cause to wonder if it's all in her mind or not. This doubt was also helped by the similarities between the timeframes. I particularly liked the way the word "splinter" was used..& sawdust for that matter...linking the wooden companions to the match factory that Elsie had grown up in. Then there was the muteness of Elsie & Hetta....coincidence or more?
All-in-all the companions were a threat that was truly chilling (with their ability to manifest themselves unexpectedly I couldn't help likening them to a sort of ghostly "Weeping Angel"!) & it's a very atmospheric tale that causes a dreadful sense of foreboding to slither over you. Deliciously creepy.
Thanks for sharing teuffi :o)
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