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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Prebble
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo
Jeff Long
Progress: 11/431 pages
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Carolyn Keene
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 13 %

Silence for the Dead ★★★☆☆

Silence for the Dead - Simone St. James, Mary Jane Wells

This could have been an excellent little ghost story. The buildup of tension and mystery was very well done and the characters were intriguing, but I was disappointed in the final third of the story. Perhaps I should have expected the romance, but it felt forced and implausible, and it was incredibly inappropriate for the two main characters to be playing striptease and grab-ass when patients that the “heroine” was responsible for were dying, unattended, of influenza in another part of the building, and another patient that she was responsible for was missing and known to be dangerous. Yes, I know she was not a real nurse, but she had assumed the role and the responsibility. I was dissatisfied with the trite happily-ever-after marriage ending, where the heroine is suddenly over all her childhood trauma because of the hero’s magic lovemaking. And the attitude of “BTW, four patients died, but that’s a pretty good death rate, so that’s cool” really chapped my sensibilities.


This book touched on the real tragedy of WW I soldiers who dealt with “shell shock”, the absolute lack of medical and psychological care available to them at the time, the stigma of cowardice, weakness, and unmanliness attached to its victims, and the awful state of psychiatric care at the time. But it used it too lightly for my taste, using it as a mere backdrop, and really dropped the ball in wrapping the story up with the characters who suffered from it. The “good” characters were able to miraculously just reintegrate to their homes and families (happily ever after!) and the “bad” and anonymous others were just shipped off to another psych hospital (out of sight, out of mind).


Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library. Mary Jane Wells provided an excellent performance. I will look for her again as an audio narrator.


I read this book for the 2016 Halloween Bingo, Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses square