Poem for the week: ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ by William Wordsworth (1815)

William Wordsworth was one of the leading figures of English Romanticism – in 1798 he published a collection of poems called Lyrical Ballads with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which is considered to be one of the defining works of Romantic literature.

Wordsworth’s poetry is largely inspired by the landscape around his home in the Lake District, and nature is one of his key themes. This poem, also known as ‘Daffodils’, is his most famous work, and seemed an appropriate choice to welcome in Spring!

 

See the source image

William Wordsworth (wordsworth.org.uk)

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched on never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not be but gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed – and gazed – but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Poem for the week: ‘The Stolen Child’ by William Butler Yeats (1896)

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day this weekend I’ve chosen a poem inspired by the folklore of Ireland, which I’ve had an interest in since I visited Dublin a few years ago and had the pleasure of hearing first-hand some traditional Irish storytelling.

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Book of Irish folklore that I bought in Dublin

Yeats’s ‘The Stolen Child’ is about the fairy people or sidhe (pronounced ‘shee’), who were said to lure human children away into their own world. The places referenced in the poem are real places in Ireland where Yeats spent time as a child.

Glencar Waterfall in County Leitrim, Ireland

 

Read the poem below, or listen to a version set hauntingly to music by Loreena McKennitt.

Where dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats.

There we’ve hid our fairy vats

Full of berries

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child!

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses

The dim grey sands with light,

Far off by furthest Rosses

We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances,

Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap,

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams,

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Of dew on the young streams.

Come away, O human child!

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us, he’s going,

The solemn-eyed;

He’ll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hill-side.

Or the kettle on the hob

Sing peace into his breast;

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal chest.

For he comes, the human child,

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.

Image credit: Jon Sullivan – PD Photo.org, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1140432

 

Poem for the week: ‘She Walks in Beauty’ by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1814)

I featured Keats last week and Shelley the week before so it seems only fair to share something by Byron today!

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Unlike Keats and Shelley, who only became well-known after their deaths, Byron was a huge celebrity in his own lifetime. As well as the popularity of his poetry, he was notorious for his many love affairs and infamously labelled as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ by Lady Caroline Lamb. In 1816 he left England due to scandalous rumours about the break up of his marriage and a supposed incestuous affair with his half-sister. He spent the rest of his life in exile and died in Greece at the age of 36.

This poem is said to have been written after Byron met the wife of his cousin at a ball, and was struck by her beauty.

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow’d to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impair’d the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

Work Experience at Penguin Random House

So at the end of last year I completed a work experience placement with Penguin Random House in London. I’d intended to have this post up several weeks ago but I’m sharing it now in the hope that people will still find it interesting and/or useful! I’ll give an overview of the application process and my experience during the placement, followed by some advice to any future applicants.

Application process

Penguin Random House is made up of nine different publishing houses, each of which specialises in particular types of books. On the application form you choose which three you would be most interested in working with, and you are also asked put the departments you’d like to work with in order of preference, eg. Marketing and Publicity, Sales, Editorial.

There are also a few general questions to answer about why you have applied and what you hope to get from the experience, but the placements are offered randomly and are not based on the answers you give.

I applied at the beginning of September and a few weeks later I got an email offering me a two-week placement in November with the Marketing and Publicity team at Penguin General, who are based at the Strand office.

Accommodation

After I’d confirmed I would be doing the placement I was given the chance to opt in to the subsidised accommodation provided by the Book Trade Charity. This again was offered randomly so I was very pleased when I got an email saying I had the use of a bungalow at The Retreat for the duration of my placement. The Retreat is a residential estate in Kings Langley (just north of Watford) made up mainly of retired professionals from the publishing industry. It’s right next to the train station, so it was well placed for getting to the office – about half an hour to Euston and then a few stops on the tube to Charing Cross. The bungalow was very pleasant and well-equipped, and it was nice to be able to get out of the city after work and have somewhere quiet to chill out in the evenings.

During my placement

The Marketing and Publicity team is essentially responsible for promoting new books. This includes social media campaigns, advertising, and sending books out to people like journalists, bloggers and celebrities (known as ‘influencers’). Every book will have a publicist assigned to it who will work with the author during the marketing campaign. My main duties were carrying out admin based tasks in the office and helping the publicists with any jobs they needed doing. I was also invited to attend various meeting and talks.

Tasks I was given included:

  • Mailing new books and advance proof copies with press releases to reviewers, journalists and social media influencers
  • Arranging couriers for both UK and international deliveries
  • Attending sales and campaigns meetings for upcoming releases
  • Attending talks with the editorial and production teams – these were a good opportunity to ask questions, meet people working in other departments and get to know the other people doing work experience
  • Carrying out research for publicists, eg. finding influencers and putting together a mailing list
  • Creating parcels with books and related gifts to send out to Instagrammers, YouTubers and bloggers
  • Creating goodie bags for journalists attending an author lunch
  • Handing out newspapers to publicists each morning – part of their job is to keep up with the press coverage that their books are getting so newspapers and magazines are delivered daily
  • Scanning newspaper/magazine articles related to Penguin books or authors, saving digital copies and then filing the hard copies
  • Filing newspapers and magazines once they were finished with
  • Calling bookshops to arrange visits from an author who was delivering proofs
  • Running errands, eg. buying wrapping paper and ribbon for parcels, picking up bound proofs and flyers from the printer

Advice for anyone starting a placement

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure about something
  • Attend any meetings or talks that you are invited to – these are a valuable insight into how a publishing house works, and how the different departments work together
  • Be proactive and use initiative – it’s a fast-paced environment, and whilst the team will be happy to help, you will be expected to get on quickly and efficiently with any tasks that you are given
  • Make the effort to get to know some of the other people on work experience placements
  • Read blogs or blog posts from people who have done work experience placements previously – the PRH careers site is a good place to start
  • Keep a record of what you’ve done and any questions you want to ask – I would have forgotten a lot of things by now if I hadn’t written it down! This will help when you need to add your new skills and experience to your CV or job applications
  • Finally, find the pulp shelf! This is where any left over books are kept and you are allowed to take up to two a day, so make sure you ask someone to show you where it is.

 

This was a great experience and a valuable opportunity to see how a publishing house works. It also gave me the chance to explore some parts of London that I hadn’t seen before (read more on that here). If you’re considering a career in publishing I would definitely recommend applying for one these placements – keep an eye on PRH’s work experience page to find out when applications are open.

Thank you for reading and I hope this was interesting! Leave any comments or questions below, or you can find me on Twitter @thebookhide.

January/February Highlights

My favourite reads from the last two months.

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The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

35018127The best novel I’ve read so far this year. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, but I found it utterly compelling and devoured it within two days!

Lib Wright is an English nurse who is sent to a remote rural village in Ireland to observe a young girl called Anna, who believes she is existing on ‘manna from heaven’ and doesn’t require food. In her devout Catholic community she is being hailed as a miracle and people are coming from all over the world to see her. Lib, who has trained under Florence Nightingale, is highly sceptical of this so-called ‘wonder’ and fully expects to expose a hoax. As she observes the girl, however, she becomes less certain and starts to wonder what is really going on.

At its core this is a novel about the dangers of extreme religious beliefs, but it also deals with nineteenth-century prejudices towards the Irish, attitudes towards women in the medical profession, and of course the age-old division between science and the Church. It’s a bleak and disturbing novel that deals with some difficult themes, but it’s brilliantly written and I could hardly put it down.

 

Close to Home – Cara Hunter

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This is one of the books I picked up from Penguin when I was doing my work experience. Crime isn’t a genre I read very much, but I usually enjoy it when I do so I’ve decided to try it more often!

This is the first in a new series set in Oxford featuring DI Adam Fawley and his team. 8-year-old Daisy Mason has gone missing from a family party – as the police investigate the disappearance, dark secrets about the family’s past start to come to light. The events of the plot are interspersed with news articles and a sort of commentary on the case from members of the public via Twitter and the ‘Find Daisy Mason’ Facebook page. This adds an extra dimension to the novel and makes an important point about the way that stories like these are covered by the media.

We don’t learn too much about Fawley himself here, but there are hints dropped throughout about his personal life and events from his past that suggest the potential for some interesting character development. I’m really glad I read this, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be picking up the second in the series, In the Dark, when it comes out later this year.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

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This is a novel about loneliness and the power of friendship that is thought-provoking, funny and incredibly poignant.

I don’t really want to say too much else for fear of spoiling how it unfolds, but I very much enjoyed it and found Eleanor herself a wonderful and memorable protagonist.

 

 

 

The Marlowe Papers – Ros Barber

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A ‘novel in verse’ based on the idea favoured by some theorists that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by Kit Marlowe. It suggests that Marlowe wasn’t really killed in a tavern brawl (which is the official story) but faked his own death and was smuggled to Europe to avoid being hanged for blasphemy, and then continued to write plays using Shakespeare as a pseudonym. The narrative follows Marlowe’s life in London and around Europe, his friendships, and his various love affairs, and ultimately deals with his torment at not being able to reveal his true identity and receive recognition for his work. It’s certainly a fascinating concept and Barber makes a very convincing case.

The novel is entirely written in iambic pentameter, mirroring the style of Shakespeare/Marlowe, and is essentially a series of shorter poems which together make up the narrative. The timeline jumped around a bit and I have to admit that I struggled to follow the plot at times, but there were individual scenes when the poetic form really helped to express Marlowe’s feelings and emotions. It took me a little while to get into it, but I’m definitely glad I persevered as it turned out to be a compelling and satisfying read.

Cover images from goodreads.com 

Poem for the week: ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by John Keats (1819)

I recently re-watched the film Bright Star, which is about the relationship between John Keats and Fanny Brawne (read more about them and my visit to Keats House here). I last watched the film before I knew very much about Keats, so it made much more of an impression on me this time! I subsequently turned to one of my various volumes of his poetry, and decided to share ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ today, which is one of my favourites.

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The poem is about the nature of art and the feelings it can provoke. The narrator looks the images on a Grecian urn, and imagines the lives of the characters depicted. He wonders where they are going and why, and ponders the way that a picture can only tell part of a story.

Keats also writes about the ability of art to capture a moment in time, something that is not possible in real life, and suggests that the anticipation of something can be sweeter than the thing itself. Some of my favourite lines are in the second stanza, when he muses on a pair of lovers. ‘Do not grieve’, he says, for though their passion will never be fulfilled, they will never age and their love will never diminish – ‘For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair’.

Read the whole poem below:

 

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness!

Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape

Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave

Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal – yet, do not grieve;

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,

For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! That cannot shed

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

And, happy melodist, unwearièd,

For ever piping songs for ever new;

More happy love! More happy, happy love!

For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,

For ever panting and for ever young;

All breathing human passion far above,

That leaves a heart high sorrowful and cloy’d,

A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

To what green altar, O mysterious priest,

Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

What little town by river or sea-shore,

Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,

Is emptied of its folk this pious morn?

And, little town, thy streets for evermore

Will silent be; and not a soul to tell

Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! With brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought,

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

 

Poem for the week: ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)

My ‘poem for the week’ series has been on an unintentionally long hiatus, but it’s back today with a brief introduction to Percy Bysshe Shelley and ‘Ozymandias’.

I’m completely fascinated by the lives of the Romantic poets, specifically Shelley, Byron and Keats, who are regarded as the leading figures of the second generation. I’ve been reading a lot about Shelley in particular lately so I felt like sharing one of his poems today.

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Shelley was an atheist and political radical, and as such many of his poems are far too long and complex to write about in a short blog post. I’ve chosen the sonnet ‘Ozymandias’, partly because it’s short enough to post here, but also because it’s one of his most well-known works and seemed a good place to start!

The narrator of ‘Ozymandias’ meets ‘a traveller from an antique land’, who tells him of a ruined statue of the ancient leader Ozymandias that he has seen in the desert. The writing on the pedestal proclaims ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works ye Mighty and despair!’, but now the statue is in pieces and the people of that civilisation long gone. The poem ends with a haunting image of the shattered statue in the vast and lonely desert, and ponders themes of art, history, and the ultimate triumph of time and nature over human life.

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

Bookish Weekend in London

I’ve recently returned from London where I was doing a work experience placement at Penguin Random House, which I’ll be writing a separate post on in the near future. It’s the first time I’ve ever spent more than a few days in London, so as I had some time to spare during the middle weekend of my stay I decided to explore some of the city’s bookshops and literary places. I found a website showing London’s bookshops on a map, which was really useful for planning where I wanted to go, but reminded me just how much there is to see! I’ve barely scratched the surface of what London has to offer for book lovers, but I’ll talk here about a few of the places I visited.

On the Saturday, after meeting a friend for lunch in Covent Garden, I went to Foyle’s bookshop on Charing Cross Road, which I’ve wanted to visit for ages but never had time when I’ve been in London before. It’s truly a book lover’s heaven, with five floors of books on pretty much every subject you can imagine, and another floor at the top for author events. I could easily have spent a few hours in there, and had to exercise quite a lot of self-restraint not to buy a lot of books, largely because I knew I’d have to get them back to Manchester on the train! I did buy two though – ‘The Map and the Clock’ by Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke, featuring poetry of Britain and Ireland, and a book of Pre-Raphaelite poetry including work by Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

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After that I had a look round some of the antiquarian and second-hand bookshops nearby, including Quinto & Francis Edwards, Henry Pordes Books and Any Amount of Books. These were the kinds of shops stacked floor to ceiling with everything from recent second hand books to valuable first editions. I spend a while browsing but didn’t buy anything as I didn’t think either my bank account or my suitcase could take it (although I was tempted by some early Brontë and Austen editions). I also went to Cecil Court, which is a Victorian street just off Charing Cross Road full of specialist and antiquarian bookshops.

On the Sunday I went up to Hampstead to visit Keats House, which is where the Romantic poet John Keats lived from 1818 to 1820, and where he wrote some of his best known poems. It’s also where he met the love of his live, Fanny Brawne. It’s situated on a residential road at the edge of Hampstead Heath, not the kind of place you’d find unless you were deliberately looking for it. It felt very peaceful wandering around the house and garden, and it was nice to get away from the crowds of central London.

I’ve had something of a soft spot for Keats ever since I wrote an essay on one of his letters for my Romanticism module at university. The scandalous lives of Byron and Shelley hold a constant fascination for me, but I think in terms of the actual writing it’s Keats who is my favourite of the Romantic poets. The voice that comes through in his letters is so vivid, and his poems are some of the most beautiful I’ve read.

I’d been looking forward to visiting the house, and as it turned out I couldn’t have chosen a better day to go. It was a perfect autumn day, the sun bringing out the gold and orange colours of the trees, and it felt like a fitting tribute to the author of ‘To Autumn’. I found it a very moving experience to see where Keats had lived, and to look out of the windows and see the same view that might have inspired him to write his poetry. I always think there’s something very special about seeing words written in a writer’s own hand, and there were several of his books and letters on display, memorably a heavily annotated copy of ‘Paradise Lost’. The thing that moved me most though was seeing the engagement ring that Keats gave to Fanny a few months before he left for Rome, where he died from consumption aged just 25. She kept the ring for the rest of her life.

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After I’d bought myself a few souvenirs in the gift shop and looked around the garden, I took the tube back to Russell Square and had a walk around the Bloomsbury area where various writers lived, including Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens and JM Barrie.

There are several bookshops there that I wanted to look in too, but unfortunately I ran out of time on this occasion as they closed early on a Sunday! They’ll definitely be going on my list of places to visit when I’m in London another time, along with so many others.

If you have any recommendations of good bookshops or places to visit please let me know in the comments, or you can find me on Twitter @thebookhide!

Links to some of the books/works mentioned:

The Map and the Clock – https://www.bookdepository.com/Map-Clock-Carol-Ann-Duffy/9780571277070?ref=grid-view&qid=1568310196499&sr=thebookhide

Pre-Raphaelite Poetry – https://www.bookdepository.com/Pre-Raphaelite-Poetry-Paul-Negri/9780486424484?ref=grid-view&qid=1568310260069&sr=thebookhide

Keats Selected Poems – https://www.bookdepository.com/Selected-Poems-Keats-John-Keats/9780140424478?ref=grid-view&qid=1568310320238&sr=thebookhide

Keats Selected Letters – https://www.bookdepository.com/Selected-Letters-John-Keats/9780199555734?ref=grid-view&qid=1568310445022&sr=thebookhide

So Bright and Delicate: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne – https://www.bookdepository.com/So-Bright-Delicate-Love-Letters-Poems-John-Keats-Fanny-Brawne-Jane-Campion/9780141442471?ref=grid-view&qid=1568310495782&sr=thebookhide

Review: ‘The Silent Companions’ by Laura Purcell

The first thing I must say about this book is how much I love the cover. The background is white, decorated with a black and gold design depicting various motifs from the story. The most striking part though is the cut-out keyhole in the middle, through which a single eye stares out at you, then you open the cover and the eye is revealed to be part of larger portrait of a young woman. Before you’ve even started to read, you’re wondering about the painting and what its significance will be.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (Raven Books, 2017)

The main character is Elsie, who we meet in the opening chapter at St. Joseph’s Hospital. It soon becomes apparent that this is a mental asylum and that Elsie has experienced a traumatic event which she has since repressed, leading her to become mute. A doctor encourages her to write down her memories, and at this point the story moves back to 1865, when the main action of the novel takes place.

Elsie’s new husband has died suddenly and she has been sent to his family estate, The Bridge, where she has only the servants and her late husband’s cousin, Sarah, for company. We also learn that Elsie is expecting a child. She starts hearing strange noises at night, and is led to a locked garret where she finds a diary written by a woman who lived in the house in the time of Charles I and an eerily lifelike wooden figure of a young girl. As you might guess, there is more to this ‘silent companion’ than meets the eye, and strange things start to happen in the house. The novel moves between Elsie’s story and the diary, and we learn about the dark history of The Bridge and its inhabitants. Elsie’s own troubled backstory is cleverly revealed as the story moves towards its conclusion, when we find out what led to Elsie’s incarceration in the asylum.

The Silent Companions draws on the tradition of English Gothic literature, which tends to feature historical settings, old country houses and elements of the supernatural. Laura Purcell pays homage throughout the novel to various other works of Gothic fiction, and to the genre as a whole. It brought to mind many other things that I’ve read, mainly The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, but also Wuthering Heights, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (itself a reworking of Jane Eyre) and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, another contemporary Gothic novel that is filled with literary allusions. I’m sure there are many other connections to be made as well, but these are the ones that particularly struck me as I was reading.

The novel works on various levels – it can be read simply as a creepy ghost story, but it is also an interesting examination of Victorian attitudes towards women, particularly notions of female madness and the way that women’s problems were often dismissed as ‘hysteria’. Purcell introduces ideas of splintered selves and dark doubles which I think would make the novel an interesting study if you were doing a psychoanalytic reading. Class is also a strong theme – many Victorian novels deal with the rise of the middle class as a result of industrialisation and we can see this in Elsie’s character. She was not born into the upper class world of her husband’s family but is the daughter of a factory owner, and she doesn’t feel comfortable being mistress of The Bridge.

I enjoyed this book, and I found the Silent Companions themselves truly chilling (for a slightly less literary reference, they reminded me a bit of the Weeping Angels in the Doctor Who episode ‘Blink’, which is one of the most fantastically creepy things I’ve ever seen :D). My honest reaction when I got to the end was that there were a few more things I would have liked explained, although it was obviously a deliberate choice by the author to leave things open to interpretation, and this added effectively to the unsettling nature of the novel. The ending genuinely sent a shiver down my spine, and I was left with the feeling that I wanted to go straight back to the beginning so that I could piece everything together for myself.

I would recommend The Silent Companions if you’re into Victorian literature and novels that deal with Gothic themes, or simply to anyone who likes a good ghost story and fancies being spooked on a dark evening.

My rating: 4/5

Buy the book:

https://www.bookdepository.com/Silent-Companions-Laura-Purcell/9781408888032?ref=grid-view&qid=1568309651287&sr=thebookhide