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The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Laughter, conversation, music – all these things felt like relics, activities her ancestors may have adopted, long ago, but carried no relevance for her. She looked back at the desk.

The mind seeks to shield itself from trauma, and pure evil can take the form of friendship as a widow learns when the silent companions -- part sculpture and part paintng: cut-outs once popular in 17th century Netherlands -- in her husband's ancestral home seem to hound her, creating a trail of corpses and priming the widow herself for the gallows.