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The House of Whispers

A Novel
Written by: Laura Purcell
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
2.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A gothic tale set in a rambling house by the sea in which a maid cares for a mute old woman with a mysterious past, alongside her superstitious staff - from the author of The Silent Companions.

A perfect spooky listen!

Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft's family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr. Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: Convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the disease in the caves beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralyzed and mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try to escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers her new home may be just as dangerous as her last. 

©2020 Laura Purcell (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Purcell has a sure storytelling touch, a command of atmosphere and a keen eye for the telling details of social history. Oh, and she stores up some satisfying and suitably macabre final revelations." (The Guardian)

"A Victorian tale replete with laudanum, tuberculosis and possibly fairies...a clever, creepy read." (Sunday Express, Best New Thrillers)

"Brilliantly atmospheric and chilling...I raced through the pages hardly daring to find out what would happen next. Laura’s characters and the world they inhabit are compelling, unsettling and richly drawn. A fabulous tale!" (Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things

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    2 out of 5 stars

nope

I think I'm done with Laura Purcell. I read The Corset and wasn't impressed, but I thought, maybe it was just the story that didn't do it for me. The plot of this one looked great. I love a Gothic mystery, and this sounded fun. But then. So, the author seems to have a formula. Unlikable, morally ambiguous characters, plus situations that are either supernatural or the result of superstition and folie a deux. We never find out. My vote is on folie a deux. Folie a entire household? So, in this one, the gimmick is magical bone china painted by a mentally ill woman with an obsession with fairies and changelings. And also a protagonist who is an alcoholic and laudenum addict. Are the fairies real? Are people in the house really taken by them and replaced by changelings? The first 3/4 of the book was painfully slow and uncomfortable. Not a heck of a lot happens, just people slowly going mad through a combination of superstition and substance abuse. Or discovering the existence of the paranormal. One or the other. We never find out. Ugh.

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  • Mary
  • 2020-09-16

A Bit Disappointed

The narrators were good but the story was just flat and tedious. The book opens and the beginning is like the middle of the story. Then it jumps back and takes up the story as to what lead to the beginning. There is also another characters story told that jumps to 40 years back, interwoven with the main characters. The plot is predictable and the ending is no surprise. Flat, tedious and not the book I had hoped it could have been.

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  • Alyse Eisenstein
  • 2020-09-22

this kills me.

Laura Purcell is one of my favorite authors but this just isn't her best. It's a damn shame too as it as so much promise. have to wonder if it wasn't a bit rushed to meet a deadline.