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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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
  • Story
    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

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

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 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.

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

Fantastic!

Great ghost story! Narration was perfect. Loved every minute of it. Can’t wait for more by this author and narrator.

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

Intensely Creepy

So good! I've read and listened to many stories that are meant to be suspenseful and eerie and they just aren't, but this story has great mood and feel to it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling

This is one of those great books that you can not put down
when reading.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ghosts, Mystery, Suspense

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

Mary Jane Wells is my new favorite narrator. She made the creepy parts creepier and made the personality of each character very distinct.

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

Once the patients took over the asylum I could not stop listening.

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

When Kitty would talk out loud to the people around her, then silently carry on a conversation with herself Mary Jane Wells was amazing.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Kitty showed these poor men that she cared for them, that they were real people to her even though so many had written them off.

Any additional comments?

This book has ghosts, murders, a secret simmering romance, and an ending that ties up loose ends. It is clever and suspenseful. It is read masterfully. You will not be disappointed.