Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James


“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.

Silence for the Dead is a gothic style ghost story set in the early 1900’s right after World War I. The setting is an old family manor that has been turned into a recovery home for shell-shocked soldiers. The residence is isolated and difficult to get to. In addition, it was the sight of family murders years before. Kitty Weekes is a young woman eager to leave her life behind, so she applies for a position as nurse in the home, even though she is untrained and unqualified for the job. The recovering soldiers of the nursing home are all colorful characters, plagued by dastardly dreams and unique in their needs. There is an overly strict matron and her assistance that create problems for Kitty as she struggles to feign her nursing knowledge and abilities. One particular resident, Jack Yates, a national hero, not only comes to her rescue, but they soon become friends who work together to solve the mystery of the ghosts and unravel the truth about the past murders that took place there.

There is plenty to keep a reader entertained in this gothic style romantic paranormal story with numerous plot twists. Well written, I could easily picture the house, the scenery, and the characters as I read along. From start to finish, the book held my interest right up until the gripping climax. If you want to cozy up to a nice haunted house tale, then this is the book for you. It definitely gets my approval!
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