29 October 2020

Hidden Company


By S. E. England
Horror | Psychological Thriller

My Review

Hidden Company is the first Sarah England novel I've read. Told through dual timelines of 1893 and 2018, it's an unsettling story but certainly not terrifying.

In 1893 nineteen year old Flora George is banished to a remote Welsh asylum. With her privileged life now a distant memory, the regime is brutal and living conditions squalid. Why has she been abandoned in this wretched place? Before long she senses an evil presence. Her only chance of survival is to get as far away as possible and never return.

In 2018 forty-one year old psychic medium Isobel Lee rents the old asylum gatehouse. The local villagers, suspicious of incomers, don't take kindly to Isobel's curiosity. Far from being a peaceful retreat, she finds herself bombarded by the long-dead spirits of the asylum's residents. With the help of local dark arts practitioner Branwen, Isobel tries to uncover the awful truth of what really happened 125 years ago. 

I decided to read Hidden Company based on the author's good reputation and the fantastic cover art. I love all things dark and creepy and at first glance it appeared to be my kind of book. But whilst I enjoyed it, I was expecting far more terror and chills. I wanted to be too scared to turn the lights off at night; too frightened to come out from beneath the bedcovers. Sadly I was neither. Don't get me wrong — it's cleverly written and I thought the dual timelines worked extremely well — but it fell a bit short of the mark for me. 

Before I end my review I must mention the totally awesome epilogue. It was this final turn of events that elevated the story and left me thinking WOW! In fact I'm still thinking about that ending several days later. What a brilliant way to finish the book.    

Book Source: Purchased copy
My Rating ⭐⭐⭐

Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Independently published (19th Dec 2018)

The Blurb

1893, and nineteen year old Flora George is admitted to a remote asylum with no idea why she is there, what happened to her child, or how her wealthy family could have abandoned her to such a fate. However, within a short space of time it becomes apparent dark forces are at work, and she must save herself from something far worse than that of a harsh regime.

2018, and forty-one year old Isobel Lee moves into the gatehouse of what was once the old asylum. Chosen as a refuge from the lifelong psychic attacks endured as a reluctant medium, from the moment of arrival it is clear there is a terrible secret here, which is desperate to be heard. Angry and upset, Isobel baulks at what she must now face. But with the help of local dark arts practitioner, Branwen, face it she must.

This is a dark story of human cruelty, folklore and superstition. But the human spirit can and will prevail...unless of course, the wrath of the fae is incited...

The Author

Sarah England is a fiction writer based in the UK. She trained as a nurse in Sheffield before working in medical sales and specialising in psychiatry, a theme which carries into much of her work. Having always wanted to be a writer, she began in later years to write for magazines, but did not discover her true purpose and passion until one particular day. Shocked and inspired by a real account of satanic abuse, she began to research the occult. 

At the fore of Ms England's work is the bestselling 'Father of Lies' occult horror trilogy - 'Father of Lies', 'Tanners Dell' and 'Magda'. This was followed by 'The Owlmen', a spin-off from the series. Stand-alones include, 'The Soprano,' 'Hidden Company,' and 'Monkspike.' Each book explores new aspects of the supernatrual, with most set in ordinary, if spooky, surroundings.

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