I can’t start the review of this book without a nod to the beautiful cover. A creepy little cutout keyhole behind which peeps a sinister little eye?…. oh yes please. Big tick.
This book is set in the 1800’s and flits back even further to the 1600’s periodically. Our protagonist is Elisabeth (Elsie) Bainbridge, pregnant and newly widowed. She is sent to wait out the arrival of her baby at her late Husbands family home The Bridge.
When she arrives she sets to exploring the house with her late husbands cousin Sarah who has accompanied her as a lady’s companion of sorts. Their explorations bring them to the locked room known as the garret right at the top of the house. In there they find old diaries from a previous occupant and ancestor along with strange carved wooden cut-out figures of people known as ‘companions’. Firstly a small girl, and then a gypsy boy. They immediately unnerve Elsie but Sarah is fascinated with them and asks that they be brought down to the main house to be displayed.
This sets a turn of events happening within the house which at first unsettles the occupants and ultimately terrifies them. The maids in the house have all got stories where strange and inexplicable things have happened The villagers also have their own theories and tales about odd happenings at The Bridge and choose in the main to stay away, most refusing to work there or set foot in the area.
We travel back in time for some chapters to the 1600’s and the story behind how the companions come to reside at The Bridge. There’s witchcraft and alchemy afoot here and I really loved these chapters. Discovering the history behind The Bridge and the companions was fascinating.
Ultimately we find Elsie incarcerated and accused of crimes that she herself is not certain she didn’t do. Her memories of the horrific happenings at The Bridge are slowly being pieced together as we discover the story with her.
I was warned before starting this book not to read it before bed etc etc but I like to consider myself a bit of a bad ass when it comes to scary books. Whilst it didn’t exactly frighten the pants off me it got beneath my skin and chilled my blood a fair few times! I find that this makes for a much better reading experience than out and out shock value.
This book was highly anticipated and it did not disappoint. It kept me gripped throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it, especially in the winter months! It’s a ghostly, gothic, gory delight!
See you soon.