England, 1919, "The Great War" (World War I) has faded into the background but the influenza pandemic that started in 1918 is still grinding along taking millions of lives with it. 20 year old Katherine "Kitty" Weekes arrives at Portis House where privileged English soldiers are sent to coalesce and heal from the effects of being at war hoping that she has found a place to stay hidden from her past.
Kitty, on the run from an abusive father since she left home at 16, falsifies her background in order to take up a nursing position and finds herself in the middle of a great mystery concerning the whereabouts of the former owners of the house the Gersbach's and whether or not the house is truly haunted or the men are actually mentally disturbed.
Along the way, Kitty finds that she can't just be a nurse without people knowing that she's a fraud, and gets herself into situations where her secret can't help but come out. To be a true nurse, it takes skills, training, and a great deal of patience to deal with patients on a day to day basis. While this is just a story, I don't condone anyone faking their way into pretending to be a nurse. The truth shall always come out one way or the other.
After having her own visions and hearing voices, Kitty finds assistance from Patient Sixteen, who took up residence at Portis House to avoid his hero status and to try to find a reason for living. Kitty and Jack Yates work together in order to get to the bottom of the strange noises, the black slime, crumbling walls, and the truth behind what really happened to the owners of Portis House while slowly finding a connection that leads to new possibilities for both characters.
Kitty is a character who has faced her share of challenges while dealing with her abusive father, the presumed loss of her brother to war, finding jobs that she can work without being discovered by her father, and therefore not having to deal with the fact that she's a abused child who may need some assistance to deal with her scars and emotional state of mind.
Silence of the Dead is a twisted ghost/mystery/romance story that incorporates the realities of war with the real possibility of ghosts driving the men to madness. While Kitty is the main course, as it were, readers are encouraged to open their hearts and minds to those soldiers who ended up in Portis House and the reason they are there, as well as the staff like Boney, Matron, Nina, and Martha who work day in and day out in order to ensure their comforts and needs.
St. James does a fairly impressive job of not brushing the realities of war under the rug, in order to pursue the more interesting aspect of the possibilities that ghosts are real, or the romance that grows between Kitty and Jack. Although the story takes a while to get going, in the end, the results and the surprises are definitely worth the time it takes to read the book.
**I received this book for free via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Author - Simone St. James
Title - Silence for the Dead
Published by NAL Trade
Releases: April 1, 2014
Genre: Historical, Ghost Story, Romance