‘House of Silence’ by Sarah Barthel

hos-sbSTORY: 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 fiance 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.

REVIEW: The reason I requested this book was its setting in Oak Park, IL. I am a Chicago girl and Oak Park has always been one of those suburban towns that was picturesque and timeless to me. I was really looking forward to reading more about it and about the society that resided within it. I must say this was one of those stories that fulfilled all of my expectations and then some.

What I loved the most about it was the seamless thread of historical and fictional which made this story ever more fascinated than it already was.

If you’ve ever wondered about how women lived and coped within the restrictions of the society of the 1800’s, get this story and you’ll be fascinated as you find out.

This novel is well written and plotted, with complex characters that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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