Title: House of Silence
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense (romantic elements)
Author: Sarah Barthel
Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 27, 2016
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Sexy Rating: 2
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin’s future—like that of every young woman—hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle’s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrific crime—and no one believes her. Gregory denies all, and Isabelle’s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband’s assassination. In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.
Was this a good read? Well…it was just okay. I kept reading to find out what would happen. The plot was interesting. But it didn’t flow and it left unanswered questions. Why was Gregory living a lie? Why was Isabelle’s mother not willing to give Isabelle the benefit of a doubt, when Isabelle never had told a lie? Another big question was, why is Mary Todd Lincoln in this book at all? It added nothing to the story.
The book definitely was short on character development. Side characters, like Isabelle’s friend Lucy, seemed to do things that made no sense. Such as Lucy’s trip to Montana and back again without even telling her fiancé that she was leaving. A sanitarium in the late 1800’s would not be a social spa like it is characterized here. If you read this just for the story then it is just okay but be prepared to find fault with much of the action and characterization.
(This is the kind of book that drives people to say “I think I will write a book. I can certainly improve on something like this.”)