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House of Silence by Linda Gillard

If you like dysfunctional Christmases, snowy gardens, peculiar mothers, gothic houses, mystery photos, a bit of quilting or attractive Polish gardeners who play the cello, get downloading

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Orphaned by drink, drugs and rock n' roll, Gwen Rowland is invited to spend Christmas at her boyfriend Alfie's family home, Creake Hall - a ramshackle Tudor manor in Norfolk. Soon after she arrives, Gwen senses something isn't quite right.

Alfie acts strangely toward his family and is reluctant to talk about the past. His mother, a celebrated children's author, keeps to her room, living in a twilight world, unable to distinguish between past and present, fact and fiction.

And then there's the enigma of an old family photograph...

When Gwen discovers fragments of forgotten family letters sewn into an old patchwork quilt, she starts to piece together the jigsaw of the past and realises there's more to the family history than she's been told. It seems there are things people don't want her to know.

And one of those people is Alfie..

free books for kindleHouse of Silence (fiction)
Linda Gillard (Author)
customer reviews (Yes)
Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £1.99 
includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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£6.00 (75%)
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

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Reviews from Amazon:
The House of Silence' is a story about a family secret. We follow Gwen, a wardrobe assistant, as she unravels the truth behind her actor boyfriend, Alfie's family. When she finally convinces him to let her accompany him to his family home for Christmas, she finds that he becomes someone else, and she starts to wonder if she really knows who he is at all.

It's an interesting story and well told, though I didn't enjoy it as much as I did `The Glass Guardian' or `Untying the Knot' two other books by the same author, probably because I didn't find the characters in this one quite as endearing as I did in the other two stories. I'm also particularly partial to the paranormal element in `The Glass Guardian'

Linda draws her very real and complex characters deeply, and this is the real strength of this book. The way the family works together to maintain an illusion for their famous and mentally unstable seventy-year-old mother is very skilfully shown in a series of scenes written from different family members points of view.

Gwen, an only child, comes from a dysfunctional family (who are now all dead) and she looks forward to being part of Alfie's large family. She is received well by the family and she strikes up a friendship with Hattie, the youngest of the mature family. Gwen and Hattie's share a passion for quilting and needlework, and the use of needlework imagery to reflect aspects of life is one of the things I really like about this book. Whilst working on a quilt in the attic, Gwen comes across something that simply doesn't fit the story she has been told, and so she sets about uncovering the mystery.

The story shifts from Gwen's point of view written in first person to scenes from other characters points of views written in third person. This worked well--in fact I really liked it--when the third person scenes were a different character's point of view, but even though the changes were separated by a blank line, I found the third person a little disorientating when Gwen was in the scene, especially when the change happened within a chapter. It was a bold move by the author to do this, but I'm not sure that it was necessary when Gwen could have described all her own scenes from the first person.

Over all this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction with a mystery.

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