The Silent Children

Written by Amna K. Boheim
Review by Jane Hill

In 2004 Max Albrecht learns that his mother has died at the family home in Vienna. For nearly seventy years they have not spoken. Max returns to Vienna for the funeral and stays in his mother’s home. Whilst there he explores the house and unusual ghostly happenings take place. Lights are turned on, doors open and he hears footsteps in the bedrooms. Is he imagining it, or are there really ghosts in the building?

As he searches through his mother’s belongings he discovers her notebooks and photographs of other members of the family and finds that his brothers and members of staff have disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Max also discovers an underground cellar and the skeleton of a young maid…

This was a slightly disconcerting read as the plot deals with secrets, abuse and resentments from the past, as well as the malevolent haunting of a house. It was not an easy story to get into, possibly not helped because there were so many characters – especially children – who quickly came and went, that it became a little confusing to follow the main protagonist and fully engage or sympathise with him.

The story became interesting about halfway through, however, and although this may not strictly be historical fiction, lovers of ghost tales about the happenings of the past will enjoy the intrigue and outcome of the story.