House of Silence by Sarah Barthel Release Date: December 27, 2016 Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation Stand Alone Novel Number of pages: 300 Kindle Edition Source: ARC from Net Galley Historical Fiction Rating: PG-13 Read 12/13/16 to 12/23/16
When this story began, I really wasn’t sure how I felt about Isabelle. As was often done in the time, she was marrying for status. The heroine had lofty goals for her political future. I was a bit concerned she was going to be all about image and would get pulled into danger by happenstance. That may have had me rooting for her, but not necessarily liking her. Then, a few more pages in, she comes to the realization that she could not allow propriety dictate friendships. That’s when I knew she would endear herself to me before the danger even began.
As for Gregory, he was written in such a way that you could tell he was oily. Although the reader can see there’s something off with him, it’s also understandable why so many in the story were enthralled by him. Especially in the year 1875 when so many things were faked for the sake of image.
Isabelle had so much gumption and I loved reading about her as it all came slowly to the surface. She was extremely smart and resourceful. The way she stuck to her guns and her moral obligations were admirable, even more so for the position that put her in with her mother and the community. (Don’t get me started her mother!)
Although I’m not a Mary Todd Lincoln expert, I am a history buff. I appreciated the amount of research the author must have done to give a true voice to a character that has such huge real-life events that surrounding her. I know that takes a lot of time and brain power. It is always glaringly obvious when an author doesn’t do his or her homework. On the other hand, when they do their due diligence the story will flow seamlessly as it did here.
The story between Isabelle and Samuel, one of her doctors, seemed like a little bonus to the tale. The story could have been told in a different way, without as much involvement from him. Yet the way the author had it play out truly made the story more interesting. The same can be said for the relationship between Isabelle and Lucy. By the end of this book I really would have loved to be friends with either one of them.
Here’s why the book is not getting a full 5 stars from me. When I was reading it I didn’t want to put it down. Alas, during the holiday season I had no such luxury of sitting around and reading all day. That means the book did get put down quite a bit. For some reason, once it was put down I wasn’t necessarily itching to pick it back up. I can’t explain this. The subject matter could get depressing at times so that could have been a factor. I found the author’s writing outstanding and the flow was pleasant for the most part. At times I think it may have gotten a tad repetitive, but nothing too obvious. But since I wasn’t scrambling to pick the story back up each time it was put down, I have to deduct a bit. This was truly a 4.5 star book for me. That is still wonderful. I cannot wait to see what this author has in store for us next.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and Kensington Publishing in exchange for an honest review**