Book Review : The Silence Factory

Charlotte Chrimes Reviews the new novel from Bridget Collins – available in store and online now!

Having read and loved both The Binding and The Betrayals, I was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of The Silence Factory and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint. As with her previous books, Collins creates a complex premise and this evolves throughout the book. It is a peculiar silk, produced by a rare species of spider from a remote Greek island, which has the unique ability to muffle sound completely, that provides the focus for the story.

Like both of Bridget Collins’s previous books, I was blown away by the realism of her characters and the world they inhabit. By the end of this book, you feel like you know Henry and Sophia and you’ve been on the bizarre and somewhat disturbing journey with them. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two timelines; Henry Latimer is the main protagonist in the “current” timeframe – set around the turn of the century – and Sophia Ashmore is the writer of the diary Henry comes into possession of, written in the 1820s. Henry is a naïve and flawed character, who is struggling with grief after the death of his wife when we meet him, and Sophia is a woman constrained by the societal expectations of the time and shackled by her controlling husband. If anything, I’d have liked to hear more of Sophia’s story, as her character really called to me. Both characters, however, feel realistic and nuanced and invite the reader to empathise with their situation.

The secondary characters are so well-written that they seem to inhabit the pages along with the protagonists and I found myself wondering what happened to Philomel and Miss Fielding – among others – well after finishing the book. It’s an absolute testament to Collins’ ability to write characters that come alive and that the reader truly cares about and certainly the mark of a good book, in my opinion. 

The Silence Factory is a mysterious, Victorian tale with a hint of the macabre and the mystical, set against the very realistic backdrop of industrial Britain. If you enjoyed Collins’ previous work, I am certain that you will enjoy this, and if this is your first introduction to the magic of her writing, I envy you. Savour it!

The Silence Factory was published on May 9th, 2024. A signed indie exclusive edition is available in store now with matching bookmark! You can also order The Silence Factory online here.