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House of Silence
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 April 2011
With so many authors, their name on the cover tells you exactly what you're going to find inside. Not so with Linda Gillard. The only thing you're sure of when you pick up something she's written is that it'll be superbly written, meticulously plotted and that a couple of days of your life will disappear as you have to read to the very end.

"House of Silence", sadly only available for the Kindle (for shame, publishers!) ticked every possible box for me. A strong lead heroine in Gwen, a magnificently drawn supporting cast (Hattie my favourite...), brooding Marek the gardener - then there's the house itself, and the wonderful detail about the quilts, real and metaphoric. Secrets, lies, discoveries, tragedies, joy and redemption, this is a story that will appeal to all tastes - plenty for the romantic, interesting family history, part detective story. I loved every clicked page of it - absolutely superb stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2011
Linda has three previously published books, and many loyal fans, and yet her agent was unable to find a publisher who would take on House of Silence. She has finally decided to release it as an ebook, and it has been very well received. I very much enjoyed her previous books, so Linda kindly sent me a copy of this one to take a look at.

As previously mentioned, the book starts with the building relationship between Gwen and Alfie, both of whom have difficult backgrounds. Gwen's family all died when she was young, including her mother, and it becomes obvious to us, if not to Gwen, that this has caused it's own damage. Alfie also has difficulties with his family - but they are still around, full of complications, and expecting him to visit at Christmas, as he always does.

Alfie seems very reluctant to let Gwen join him, but eventually he agrees, and so as they travel, he tells her a little more about the various people she will meet. It's only once they arrive however, that we really get to see these wonderful characters. Like Alfie and Gwen, these character are worth reading about because they're flawed and real. And for me, this is the strength of Linda's writing, giving us real, interesting characters.

I don't mind saying that this isn't my favourite of Linda's books, as I do like it when she pushes just a little further. Emotional Geology and A Lifetime Burning are my favourites, the latter being a much more controversial book. However, House of Silence still has a lot to offer, and the second half of the book kept me gripped, reading the twists and turns to find out where it would take me.

Linda's books don't fit tidily into one genre, and if that's holding the publishers back, they really should think again, because it means that Linda's books reach a wide audience. There's a family drama, a growing mystery, glimpses of dealing with mental health issues, plus a touch of romance. Be careful though, you'll probably want to go and get the rest of Linda's books!
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on 29 August 2014
An engrossing psychological mystery about a young couple - Alfie, an actor, and Gwen, a wardrobe mistress - who decide to spend their first Christmas together in a spectacular stately home owned by his mother, a successful but reclusive, elderly author, despite Alfie's apparent misgivings for reasons he is unwilling to disclose. There his four very different sisters congregate for the festive season.

The outwardly likeable cast of characters soon turn out to be hiding something that increasingly spooks the isolated Gwen, and the unravelling of the mystery provides the central focus of the novel.

This intriguing and engaging story is reminiscent of Stella Gibbons' "Cold Comfort Farm" for its batty, very English characters, and the haunting setting and coming-of-age subtheme reminded me of Dodie Smith's "I Capture The Castle".

Linda Gillard has cleverly woven together experiences from her own life - acting, teaching, textiles, writing, and illness - to create a moving story with themes of motherhood, family, identity and belonging. I'd hesitate to call it either a romance or a comedy, though there are strong elements of both, nor is it exactly a thriller (more of a mystery). It's simply an intelligent, thoughtful, memorable and satisfying novel which, with its restricted cast and limited number of sets, it would make a great stage play (I'd much prefer that to a movie - at key points there'd be gasps across the auditorium!)

It's notoriously challenging to pull off a novel told through multiple viewpoints, but I understand why Gillard has taken this approach. While wanting to tell the story, Rebecca-like, largely from Gwen's viewpoint, other perspectives bolster the narrative and add further depths. I was particularly moved by the mother's first-person ramblings, in this dignified, compassionate and poignant portrait of a woman with a crumbling, unreliable memory and a precarious hold on reality.

Disclosure: I have met Linda Gillard once and she has given me a free review copy of another of her books, but I bought this one for myself.
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on 7 February 2012
'House of Silence' is the story of Gwen, a woman with a terrible past who is still living with her grief. Gwen meets Alfie on the set of a regency drama, Gwen works in wardrobe while Alfie has a small part. Gwen and Alfie begin seeing each other, at times, Alfie is remote and secretive which Gwen finds confusing but wants to be a part of his life. Alfie reluctantly takes Gwen to his family home at Creake Hall for Christmas. Alfie shows animosity towards his family which confuses Gwen further but as their time begins Creake Hall, Gwen finds out more and more secrets about his Alfie and his family. What will Gwen do?

I have read three books by Linda Gillard so far, 'Emotional Geology', 'A Lifetime's Burning' and 'Star Gazing', I enjoyed them all immensely as I did with 'House of Silence'.

Linda Gillard has a amazing talent in her creation and development of characters, characters you are care about and identify with. With 'House of Silence' all of the characters are memorable and leave a lasting impression. Gwen, the main character is down to earth, talented, likeable and strong. Her background has left a lasting impression, Gwen's is still coping with her grief but has created a front to show the world that she is coping.

Alfie was very much a complex character, at times you did not know why he acted the way he did and as the story progressed, you realise he had reached a point where he did not know how to act, did not know who he was.

Along with Gwen, Marek was my favourite character, the mysterious Polish gardener (which added even more to his mystique) he was a subtle character but made a impact, like the rest of the characters he had a past, which he faced as best he could and tried to moved on.

Alfie's sisters and mother were also well written characters, they had lived with secrets and it showed in Creake Hall, at times, the house seemed claustrophobic despite the size, all of the secrets weighting the people who lived there down.

'House of Silence' is a mystery with a difference and keeps you thinking to the end.

A definite must read, read it as soon as you can.
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on 2 May 2011
Gwen is a wardrobe mistress who meets actor Archie on a historical film set. When he takes her to his family home, she becomes embroiled in mysteries of the past, uncovering murderous secrets, hidden letters, and a mysterious photograph...

This is an entertaining read filled with deft characterisation, some light romance, and elements of gothic mystery. Gwen is an interesting heroine, not irritatingly feisty but with character and individuality, and her relationships with Archie's family and Archie himself are done very well.

In lots of ways this takes familiar elements from the gothic genre - the huge old house, women locked away together, babies, writing and madness - and spins them back together in not completely original fashion. There is a slightly old-fashioned air to the whole thing in that we can't quite imagine this story being set in the C21st but I felt that added to the atmosphere.

The narrative which is split between different first person voices and interspersed with an omniscient narrator is a tad irritating as we're constantly switching points of view, but doesn't disrupt the story too far.

So overall this is a fun, light read that keeps the pages turning.
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on 15 November 2017
Took me a few pages to get into this. Bit of a slow starter but once you get into the story and characters you will enjoy it. Believable characters and a nice twist. Lovely winter fireside read.
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on 23 April 2017
Was not such I was going to enjoy this story in the beginning But thoroughly enjoyed it once into couldn't put it down very good story with s lot of twists definitely recommend it
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on 7 June 2011
Linda Gillard has written an exceptional book, one I will always remember, recommend and even read again. Linda's writing is timeless, insightful and appealing to any age, as my daughter is reading it on her Kindle and feels as absorbed and rewarded as I do. I shan't go into the plot, for turning each page from the very first - is such a treat - and has to be experienced at first-hand. All I will say is, HOUSE OF SILENCE is a rare book and I am so very grateful to Linda for the gift she gave us all, in writing it. I look forward to reading more of her work very soon.
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on 28 June 2017
Although the plot is very complicated, the feelings of the characters seem authentic, and you are interested to find out what happens to them.
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on 11 December 2017
If you like a story with a twist,then this is for you, a little sad,in that the lives of the people I involved been torn in different ways, death alcohol,lack of love,but it'd a very good read,
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