Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: House of Silence by Linda Gillard

HOUSE OF SILENCE I've just finished reading House of Silence and I'm blown away. The book has been published for Kindle and I don't have one, so Gillard kindly furnished me with a copy I could download and read on my computer. This process took a while because it was a little hard on aging eyes, but I'm so glad I read it. (And by the way, Linda, I'm definitely in the Marek camp.)

In the beginning we are introduced to a young woman named Gwen who works as a theatrical wardrobe mistress. She meets a charming actor named Alfie and they become lovers. Gwen had a pretty awful childhood and has no family, so when Alfie tells her he must go home for Christmas although he hates it every year, she talks him into taking her along. She pictures a lovely family Christmas with all the food and traditions she imagines a country house family in England must enjoy. And so they go off to Creake Hall. Love the name.

Gwen meets his mother, a famous writer of children's books who seems to be suffering from some type of senility, and Alfie's four sisters. Then she meets the gardener who is called Tyler. Mother can't remember names of gardeners so every time they hire a new one, he is called Tyler after the last one she remembers. Actually his name is Marek and he lives in the old mill on the property. All of these interesting characters seem to have secrets, in fact Gwen is the only character whose life is an open book. "Oh the tangled web we weave . . ."

Trying to figure out the truth about everyone is delightful fun, especially in the case of dark handsome Marek, who had been a psychiatrist, and Hattie, the youngest sister. Hattie is a quilter; she and Gwen become fast friends over needle and thread.

I did have a little trouble getting into the story, but that problem can be explained most likely by my reading it on the computer. That's one of the many reasons I have resisted buying a Kindle. Once I got well acquainted with the characters, though, I was hooked. Gillard has a talent for creating such believable characters that they seem like old friends. Nothing they do is out of character and they talk like real people talk. I'll be thinking about them for quite a while.

Another thing I like is that she includes a final chapter that explains what happened after the denouement of the plot. Not only that, it all makes perfect sense. As usual with Gillard's work, I highly recommend this although I do wish the powers that be would stop referring to her books as romance novels because they are so much more.


  1. I'm so envious! I don't have a Kindle either, and also it is allergy season, so my eyes aren't very amenable to computer reading (or any other kind) either! Amazing that publishers can find it in their hearts to put out scads of books about the most inane subjects instead of worrying about quality.

  2. This is one review post I can say Thank You for. I love Linda's Star Gazing and have just now downloaded this one to my Kindle. I can tell from what you've just here that I'll love this one too.

    By the way, with the Kindle you can enlarge the size of the type so it is like reading a large print book every time. It's one of its best features, if that's what's bothering your reading on the computer.

  3. Thanks for the comments Margot, Jill, and So many books, so little time. I'm sorry your allergies are so bad, Jill. You probably moved to Tucson to get away from them, yes?

    Margot, the reading on the computer is, I think, just a matter of reading on the screen. I tend to get mesmerized or something and don't look away as often as I should. Or maybe it's something else. I don't think it's type size. If I still traveled a lot, I would definitely buy a Kindle.

    So many books, so little time, Thanks for stopping by to see my review. Marek is very sexy, isn't he?

  4. I don't have a Kindle either, but maybe there is a Nook version?

  5. Thanks to everyone for your positive comments and thanks especially to Barbara for a lovely review. :-)

    Votes seem to be mostly in Marek's favour, but I have had a couple of requests for a sequel featuring Alfie. ;-)

    I was really grumpy about my Kindle to begin with. (I only bought one because I was publishing on Kindle and thought I ought to understand what kind of a product my readers were getting.) I thought I wouldn't persevere, but in fact I was quickly converted. I find I whip out the Kindle to read when I wouldn't fish around in my bag for a bag. I read faster because the print size is comfortable. (I hadn't realised how much I must have been struggling before.) Best of all, you can prop it up at the table while you eat and read hands-free!

  6. Ah yes, I remember that brilliant cover. And now I almost feel like rushing off to download the Kindle book - but I´d better check first if I did so the first time you tempted me with this book.