Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on The Silence the debut thriller from author Daisy Pearce. My thanks to the author who provided a copy of review, here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
She’s broken. She’s vulnerable. She’s just what Marco was looking for.Available from: Amazon
Stella Wiseman was a child TV star, but there’s nothing glamorous about her life now. Alone in her thirties, she’s lost her parents and her friends and she’s stuck in a dead-end job. But just as she hits rock bottom she meets Marco, a charismatic older man who offers to get her back on her feet. He seems too good to be true.
She appreciates the money he lavishes on her. And the pills. But are the pills just helping her sleep, or helping her avoid her problems?
With Stella’s life still in freefall, Marco whisks her away to a secluded cottage where she is isolated from everyone except him. But the closer he pulls her, the worse she gets. He tells her it’s all in her head, and she just needs time away from the world.
No longer sure what’s real and what’s not, Stella begins to question whether she was wrong to trust Marco. Was she wrong to trust herself? Is the one person she thought was fighting for her survival actually her biggest threat?
This is a book that I found I fell into a rhythm with very quickly. From the very beginning you get a sense of Stella, of the kind of woman she is and the kind of friendships she has to support her. Following on from childhood success in a popular TV show, Stella has grown into a woman who has achieved little and done little with her life. In fact, it seems to be going nowhere other than through a series of disappointments. Until she meets Marco. That is the night that everything changes.
From the very ominous prologue, right through to the high stakes, high tension conclusion, this book takes readers on a real journey. To the outside eye, it is easy to work out what is happening here, to see the clue that suggest the true nature of the relationship between Stella, Marco and Stella’s best friend and flatmate, Carmel, and yet the author still manages to sow those little seeds of doubt, the one that make both the reader, and Stella, wonder just who it is that she needs to be wary of. But then that’s what makes the story feel authentic. That whole essence of coercive control that threads through the story, but just who is it pulling the strings and why?
Alongside the more obvious elements of threat within the book, there is a more ominous feeling that stems from something that happened to Stella in her childhood, while she was still a child star. This part of the story is creepy and the way the author has portrayed that element of being stalked adds to the tense atmosphere of the story. With the added isolation of the cottage that Stella moves to in Cornwall, the constant feeling of being watched and the threatening letters she starts to receive at home, you really do get that skin crawling and unsettling sensation as you read.
Now Stella is not an entirely sympathetic character – it would be too easy to make her a ‘perfect’ victim and Daisy Pearce has steered clear of this, making Stella a far more rounded and therefore authentic character, but also, ironically, the perfect person to become a victim. Her past has made her guarded and easier to isolate and separate from her small network of friends and this has played out perfectly in the story.
Now this is not a fast paced novel and it takes a good portion of the book for the whole scene to be set up. You can see the warning signs start to appear in the early chapters, but it is really from the point where Stella is moved to Cornwall for her own good, that the real darkness starts to descend and you can feel the tone of the novel change.
It is not all doom and gloom, and there are some moments of light within the ever more oppressive atmosphere, as Stella gets to know her handyman, Frankie. He is a great character, but also guarded so it is easy to see why Stella is not completely at ease with him. But then everything about the cottage, Chy an Mor, creams oppression, from the damp on the walls, the mist falling across the coastline and the deadly drops that are never more than a few steps away.
And there are the things that go bump in the night. Is Stella really seeing ghosts or is it a fragile and damaged mind playing tricks on her, her emotions heightened by the very isolation that is meant to cure her ..? Well you’ll have to read to find out, won’t you?
A great debut thriller and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author in the not too distant future.
About the Author
Daisy Pearce was born in Cornwall and grew up on a smallholding surrounded by hippies. She read Stephen King’s Cujo and The Hamlyn Book of Horror far too young and has been fascinated with the macabre ever since.
She began writing short stories as a teenager and dropped out of a fashion journalism course at university when she realised it wasn’t anywhere near as fun as making stuff up. After spells living in London and Brighton, Daisy had her short story ‘The Black Prince’ published in One Eye Grey magazine. Another short story, ‘The Brook Witch’, was performed on stage at the Small Story Cabaret in Lewes in 2016. She has also written articles about mental health online. In 2015, The Silence won a bursary with The Literary Consultancy, and later that year Daisy also won the Chindi Authors Competition with her short story ‘Worm Food’. Her second novel was longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Award.
Daisy currently works in the library at the University of Sussex, where she shelves books and listens to podcasts on true crime and folklore. She lives in Lewes with a one-eyed Siamese cat and a nine-year-old daughter who occasionally needs reminding that ghosts and monsters aren’t real.
Sometimes she almost believes it herself.
Author Links: Twitter