House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

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House of SilenceHouse of Silence by Sarah Barthel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isabelle Larkin has always done everything that society and her mother expect of her including accepting an engagement from Gregory Gallagher. After the engagement however Isabelle catches Gregory talking to a servant girl who claims to know him from his hometown. Gregory denies knowing the girl but when Isabelle again sees them together she can’t help but want to know what is going on but as she watches the interaction she is in for the shock of her life when Gregory strangles the girl.

After witnessing such a horrible incident Isabelle tries to warn her mother of Gregory’s true nature but due to Isabelle’s condition after hiding the doctor and her mother believe she’s imagining what she witnessed. With her mother still insisting that Isabelle carry on with her planned marriage Isabelle begins to play up her trauma and refuses to speak trying to get herself committed to Bellevue Sanitarium to gain protection from her murderous fiancee.

House of Silence is a historical thriller set in set in Oak Park, Illinois in the year 1875. While the events taking place with the main character Isabelle are fictional the book is also based upon some truth. Bellevue Sanitarium was a real facility in Oak Park in 1875 that was a home for troubled upper class women. Mary Lincoln was admitted to the facility after a trial with her son in which he had her committed. These events being mixed into a fictional tale made the book just that much more interesting while reading the story.

The story within the pages of House of Silence is one that really shows what life would be like for a young woman in the late 1800’s. Women were expected to look and behave a certain way and had very little rights of their own so Isabelle being controlled by her mother and what is expected of her is true to the times. Even after witnessing such a horrific event she can’t find anyone to believe such a thing of her upstanding fiancee so goes to extremes to escape which was certainly intriguing to see if she would ever be safe.

Overall, wonderful historical fiction that also has a bit of real people an situations mixed into the story to set the time and place for the book.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

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