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Silence for the Dead

Narrated by: Mary Jane Wells
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (483 ratings)
Regular price: $23.07
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How steamy is it? Simmering

Publisher's Summary

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, cold breaths of air 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.

©2014 Simone St. James (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent neoclassic gothic horror

Where does Silence for the Dead rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have been given set questions by the audible software which I find offensive and I will ignore. Also, I should warn you that I personally really appreciate what so many refer to as 'spoilers' in book reviews. If I don't know someone, I find it totally useless to be told 'I loved it, you should read it' as a review. I want to have a sense of what is in the book and how it ends. If I'm in a bookstore I will look through the book to see if children are killed off (my personal shiboleth) and to see if it has a decent ending. I don't want to waste my time on books that become duds in the last 50 pages, and I think most blurbs are usually pretty useless.

That said, I just finished listening to Silence for the Dead, and it was exactly the book I was ready for at this point. (I've been wishing that Mary Stewart's gothics would be made into audiobooks.) It is not great literature, but it is a really well written thriller with great characters and real ghosts plus a nice romance. It takes place right after WWI and deals with ex-soldiers in England who are institutionalized with PTSD. The heroine scams her way into a nursing job at the isolated mansion which has been turned into a hospital. The heroine herself has been traumatized in her life, and has had to become quite tough to survive. I really appreciate a heroine who is not upper class, not stupid and not vaporish. The hero is also working class and very real, not the fake so-called alpha that we are so often saddled with these days. The author does a very good job of building the tension, not too fast, not too slow, while setting the scene of the life of the staff and patients in the asylum. There are plenty of plot twists and while anyone who has read this genre will be able to make some pretty good guesses from the clues that are given out along the way, I still found it to be intriguing enough that I read to the end with great satisfaction.

Also, I have to say very good things about the reader, Mary Jane Wells. She did an excellent job with this book, distinguishing different characters well and pacing the book at the right tempo. I really appreciate a reader who doesn't overdramatize a book, but let's the author's voice come through. Her male voices could use work, but that is true of almost every female reader I've heard. (And vice versa for male readers...) Her English dialects sounded very good to me, an American with a fair amount of exposure to the UK and its regional speech patterns. I looked to see what else she has recorded so far, and there are not many books, and I didn't see another one I'm interested in, but she should definitely be considered a potential top-tier reader.

And after all that, I don't think I did put in any spoilers. And by the way, no explicit sex, if you don't count a few kisses. Just FYI.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Totally worth the credit, adore the whole thing

What made the experience of listening to Silence for the Dead the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed that the narrator used accents appropriate the the characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tie between Kitty and Jack (likely Jack- he's a cheeky charmer)

What does Mary Jane Wells bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She brings to life the different natures and personalities of the characters that I don't know would have been as easy to notice in print.

Any additional comments?

I bought this book because it was tagged as a classic Gothic horror. I'm going to be re-listening because it IS a classic Gothic horror that also has a well handled romance, real history ties to enhance the horror, and enjoyable characters.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

fun gothic horror set in 1919 Great Britain

like this author for her supernatural novels set in the deeply disturbed post WWI era. History with light entertainment. well written

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing gothic

Fabulous narration by Mary Jane Wells. In 1919 England, at a lonely mansion where moors meet sea, 21 "mad" soldiers convalesce from WWI, suffering PTSD. But ghosts that reek of rot and whisper sweet suicide in the patients' ears really inhibit their recovery.

To this bleak place comes Kitty Weeks, age 20-ish, masquerading as a nurse, fleeing her own murderous father. She's resilient and courageous, but not foolish. And she recognizes the mysterious "patient 16" immediately. Soon enough, they join forces.

Engrossing, this dark gothic suspense novel. There's even a lovely bit of romance. Heartwarming in a few scenes, as the "madmen" bond against evil and remember who they are.

Quibble: The characterization of the hospital matron shifted midstream. What??

Some reviewers felt the plot faltered in the second half. Not so for me. Maybe Wells' narration made the difference. Plus, in the second half we got some heartwarming soldierly scenes and some tender love scenes.

4.5 stars!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration, Mystery, Romance

If you could sum up Silence for the Dead in three words, what would they be?

Creepy, Atmospheric, Ghost..ly?

What was one of the most memorable moments of Silence for the Dead?

Nothing prominent stands out. But excellent story all around

Which character – as performed by Mary Jane Wells – was your favorite?

I'd have to say Jack.

Mary Jane Wells is one of my favourite narrators. If you enjoy Kate Reading (and even if you don't) you'll really like Mary Jane Wells.
she doesn't make the boys sound ridiculous and knows when to make proper pauses. I've heard some complaints about her being ''whispery'' but maybe I just like the quieter tones better. Specially when it comes to ghost stories.

If you could take any character from Silence for the Dead out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Jack. Duh.

Any additional comments?

I like ghost stories and historical romances so this is a good combination of both. It's not a bodice ripper but I find lately that most books tend to be very cookie cutter when it comes to romances so I wanted something with more mystery in it.
I really liked The Thirteenth Tale, now while the story isn't as strong as the thirteeth, it's still very enjoyable and creates an atmosphere of isolation. The heroine is strong willed and sticks to her guns, even if it's not always the right thing to do. She has flaws, but isn't meek or embarrassed about them. It makes her more real, sometimes when I read romances and mysteries the heroine is such a ninny that I just roll my eyes and usually cannot finish the book.

If you like historical romances but are looking for a change. This book is for you. The author is sophisticated and takes you to a different time. I found it hard to put this book down.

Is it the most interesting book I've read? No. But the characters and the setting of the house really make a good read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Gohst Story!

Great ghost story! Wonderful descriptive writing and beautifully read! I suggest it to any one looking for a ghost story entwined with a good mystery!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great ghost story!

Set in a hospital for vets that came home from World War 1 with PTSD. I was impressed how the author stressed the horrible stigma those poor vets suffered from a society who had no true notion of or patience with PTSD. Then add a spooky ghost story and a feisty heroine who despite her misgivings begins to understand just how bad things are getting. I just loved it. The narration was spot on! I didn't want to put it down.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great ghost story with some deep exploration

Once again, Simone St. James does a wonderful job of mixing healing and romance with creepy ghosts. She gives us a little look into how mentally ill soldiers where treated after WWI while providing an intriguing mystery centered on spine-tingling spirits. I love how her characters are wounded people -- either from childhood, the war, or both -- that heal through facing some really scary situations.

The narrator does a great job of voicing both men and women. She gives Kitty's voice the personality I hear in the words.

I just learned to never, ever read Simone St. James books once the sun goes down.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable. First part was tedious and I almost gave up.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this one. The narrator is excellent and the story line was suspenseful. The characters were well developed and interesting.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Perfectly narrated!

Great story, a little slow in the beginning but very mysterious. The narration was spot on.