"Somebody's living in this house. I heard them earlier. Whispering. When I turned round there was no one there. But there was still whispering."
Lieutenant Dominic Lancaster and his younger sister, Octavia, are sent to their family's summer home near Ullswater to escape the London blitz. Dominic is still recovering from losing his left leg in the war; Octavia is almost completely deaf. They're supposed to be safe in the England countryside, but Hallinhag House is not the sanctuary they hoped it would be.
"The house seems more than quiet. Downcast ... It's full of forgettings ... When I have been here before, the house has seemed filled with light; but that was always the summer, and it is winter now. Perhaps the house has picked up my mood, sensed my new vulnerability, and knows how useless I am. Can houses sense what we feel? Do they feed off all the emotions that have been experienced between their walls? Octavia says there are ghosts here. I admonish her, and I watch her when she comes to this room. She might be serious, but I doubt it. She has no names for these ghosts. Maybe they are silent, like her.Told in diary form, Jonathan Aycliffe's The Silence of Ghosts is a quiet tale of Gothic suspense. The house affects Octavia first, but Dominic is not immune. Neither is his nurse, Rose. They all see the children, but it's Octavia that the ghosts want.
I love a good ghost story, especially one set in a house with a mysterious past like Hallinhag House. And while this particular novel isn't the best ghostly tale I've read, it's pretty good. I liked the World War II setting, and the romance between Dominic and Rose. Octavia is a spunky and fun character. And the history of Hallinhag House is unexpected ... and a bit unsettling. All of which makes The Silence of Ghosts a nicely eerie, not too scary, read. (Though I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending.)
The Silence by Sarah Rayne
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford