House of Silence
Isabelle Larkin has her future planned out in 1875 Illinois. She’s to marry the dashing Gregory and embark on a political life through her family’s influence. After she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrible crime, she’s now frightened of him, yet no one will believe her. Her ambitious mother insists she still marry the “charming” young man. Isabelle begs for her freedom to no avail. Her only option, as she sees it, is to feign a nervous breakdown and pretend she’s mute. Certainly, Gregory won’t want a mute partner and he’ll end their engagement. Isabelle is sent for “rest” to Bellevue sanitarium, where one of the residents is Mary Todd Lincoln. Faking her illness isn’t easy, but Isabelle tries to adjust to the restrictive routine with the help of a young doctor and the unpredictable Mrs. Lincoln. Gregory may be searching for her, and Isabelle fears for her life.
This novel is a quick read with slight depth in places. Isabelle’s discovery of Gregory’s crime seemed contrived, and it’s never explained why a man with a vague background would be a sought-after political candidate. Isabelle is very naïve, and her mother is overly ambitious to the point of being cruel. Mrs. Lincoln is interesting; she was an actual patient at Bellevue during this time, though she adds little to the plot. That said, the story is still enjoyable, and Isabelle is a sympathetic character. A good book to curl up with on a winter evening.