The Silence Factory

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Pub Date 9 May 2024 | Archive Date 30 May 2024

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The whole world disappears when you enter


Henry dreams of silence.

A world without the clattering of carriages through cobbled streets, the distant cries of drunken brawls, the relentless ticking of the clock.

Then he meets a fascinating, mysterious gentleman who sells just that. Precious silk that can drown out the clamour of the world – and everything Henry is so desperate to escape.

Summoned to Sir Edward’s secluded factory to try to cure his young daughter’s deafness, Henry is soon drawn deeper and deeper into the origins of this otherworldly gift: a gift that has travelled from ancient Mediterranean glades to English libraries.

Ignoring repeated warnings from the girl's secretive governess, he allows himself to fall under the spell of Sir Edward and his silk… but when he learns its true cost, will it be too late to turn back?

From the #1 bestselling author of THE BINDING, this is an enthralling story about complicity, desire and corruption – a novel to lose yourself in.


‘Immersive’ Sunday Times

‘Spellbinding’ Guardian

‘Vivid’ Naomi Novik, New York Times

‘Brilliant’ Joanna Cannon

‘Magic’ Erin Kelly

‘Gorgeous' Stella Duffy

‘Astounding’ Anna Mazzola

‘Breathtaking’ Ruth Hogan

‘Sensational’ Woman’s Weekly

‘Beguiling … Dark and atmospheric’ i Paper

‘Captivating, inventive and unforgettable’ Woman & Home

‘Compelling … lush, romantic, and beautifully realised’ Sunday Express S Magazine

The whole world disappears when you enter


Henry dreams of silence.


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ISBN 9780008424046
PRICE £18.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed The Binding by Bridget Collins but I think this was even better as I was more more inclined to like Henry Latimer than some of her previous characters.
The story is told through two time lines. The first perspective if from Sophia Ashmore Percy in the form of her diary dated sometime in the 1820's. She and her husband travel to a remote Greek island to meet a scientist friend who claims to have discovered something remarkable. Unfortunately when they arrive they discover he is dead and the islanders are reluctant to reveal any. possible secrets. While there Sophia makes friends with Hira and the close connection they form will change her life.
The second, and greater portion of the book is told from the point of view of Henry Latimer. He works in London with his father-in-law as an audiologist, selling ear trumpets of various sorts. When Sir Edward Ashmore-Percy comes into the shop looking for help with his deaf daughter he gifts Henry a piece of cloth that will change his life.
There is a very dark, Gothic feel to this novel, with a hint of menace. The author's use of language is wonderful, truly bringing the places in the book with a vivid realism. I particularly liked the descriptions of the factory - the huge amount of noise it creates and the deprivation of the workers. The descriptions of the flood and overwhelming waves of water are magnificent too.
The ending is satisfying and ties the strands of the story together, I found the story a splendid work of imagination, almost magical in places, but darkly realistic in others, and a great read.
With thanks to Netgalley and HarperFiction Team for an arc copy in return for an honest review.

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The Silence Factory by Bridget Collins

I've read her other books and enjoyed them . But for me , this one tops the others , a brilliant read.
It has a creeping gothic like horror to it that somehow makes you wish you were reading it in a big old dark house set upon the moors whilst the wind howls around you.
Very atmospheric !

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An amazing book. Henry in London works in his father in law’s shop selling aids to improve hearing. Sir Edward enters the shop to try and find a solution for his deaf daughter., Philomel.
Henry is summoned to Sir Edward’s secluded factory to assist and test Philomels hearing. The story then goes back in time to a Greek island where an amazing silk is discovered that has amazing benefits of excluding sound. The idea of being able to not hear anything when you are wrapped in this special silk.
The story returns to Sir Edward, Henry and the factory where the special silk is now being made.
There is adventure, corruption and troubles ahead.
This book was gripping, I loved every page. Well done to Bridget Collins for another fantastic read.

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I loved Bridget Collins’ last two novels so much I was almost nervous to read this one in case it didn’t live up to my feverish expectations. I was wrong: in THE SILENCE FACTORY she has created another world that exists on the edge of time and magic. Epic in scope and rich at sentence level, this is storytelling at its most immersive.

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This is a good old-fashioned gothic novel, written in a Victorian style. As you might imagine, there are countless examples of attitudes that are no longer tolerated in civil society – misogyny, child-labour, cultural insensitivity and rapine, equation of disability with feeble mindedness, and snobbery to name but a few.
Henry Latimer, a widower aurist, is hired by Sir Edward Ashmore-Percy to try to get his deaf daughter, Philomel, to hear (and speak).
“He had never met a deaf-mute child; from the stories he had heard, they were sullen and feral, on the edge of idiocy, hardly human. This little girl, with her white-frilled pinafore and chalk-smudged cheek, left him entirely at a loss. She was a child like any other; a child like the one he and Madeleine might have had.”
Sir Edward is a stereotypical Victorian capitalist, who owns a factory spinning spider webs into a magical silk cloth that dampens sound. He says, he sells ‘silence’. He inherited his factory and the spiders from James, who stole the spiders from a Greek Island, where they were regarded with religious reverence. James cared nothing for the Greek natives, their religion or culture, and felt that as an Englishman he had the right to take what he wanted – for the advancement of science. Sir Edward cares nothing about the well-being of his workers (“there are always accidents”), only about his profit, and the promotion of his arain silk. The town, Telverton, and its inhabitants are grueomely blighted by the factory. Henry is not able to help Philomel, but can help Sir Edward (whom he regards as a great man) promote the silk.
The qualities of the silk are indeed wonderous – who hasn’t wished occasionally for quiet. But, it turns out that silence is not the only thing that the silk can be used for. Our nice Victorian novel goes from Gothic to full-on horror. As the friendly Quaker, Hinshaw points out:
“The imposition of silence on oneself may be a good; the imposition of it on anyone else is always an evil.”
The book has two connected story lines: one with Henry and Sir Edward, and the other with James, his maltreated wife, Sophia, and her Greek friend Hira. The characters of Sir Edward and James are odious cardboard stereotypes. But Henry and Sophia are well realised, and develop through the novel.
I enjoyed this book the more of it I read. There are characters to love, and to empathise with, and others to utterly detest. And a few horrifying twists.
Definitely recommended.
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not influenced by either the author or publisher.

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There is a sense of unreality and magic about this book that is compelling, even for a reader who is not usually attracted to such stories. There are two timelines here - the first imagines a lonely woman living on a Greek island in an earlier century with her thoughtless, pompous and very unpleasant husband who cares for nothing but his own standing in society. The second is about Henry, a rather pathetic chap who, having lost his wife and baby in childbirth is working for his father-in-law, supplying the wealthy with hearing implements. Henry is offered the chance to try to give some hearing back to the young daughter of Sir Edward and he travels to Telverton, where Sir Edward is supposedly making huge wealth by weaving magical cloth from spiders’ webs. The same spiders were brought to England by the aforementioned pompous husband of Sophia, which is what links the two storylines. The book is really about the perils of greed, and the rightness of leaving what is good in nature in its rightful place, no matter what opportunities may be offered. I found the book charming, troubling, thought provoking and absolutely entrancing too!

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Thank you to publishers The Borough Press, NetGalley and the author Bridget Collins, for allowing me to read this fantastic new novel from the aforementioned Ms Collins. It is filled with lots of vibrant characters, some nice and some not so nice, that will live on in your head long after you have finished the book.
I loved the clever concept of a spider-spun silk that can block out all sound, rendering the world silent, and one man’s journey to bring it to the masses…. Albeit the rich masses. When Henry Latimer travels to Sir Edward Ashmore-Percy’s large mansion house, primarily to help Sir Edward’s deaf daughter, Philomel, little does he know what the future has in store for him. We follow every twist and turn of his extraordinary journey from his normal everyday life, to the brink of insanity.
I really liked reading this book. Even though historical-industrial-romance fiction, with a touch of sci-fi thrown in for good measure, was always way outside of my usual comfort zone, I devoured it in just a few sessions. I would recommend it to anyone, and look forward to seeing it on the shelves.

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This is tremendous - I loved it! Definitely her best yet. A book about silence overlaid with unsettling and eerie nuances. When Henry Latimer volunteers to attend to the young deaf daughter of a notable factory owner he enters a world far removed from his former life in London. A world where strange happenings affect the workers of a silk factory and where dreams and ambitions harbour greed and dangers. I really enjoyed the premise of the plot, the back story of James and Sophia gave a framework to everything that happened to Henry mirroring it in a clever way. Perhaps the ending was suffered from a neat resolution that seemed too tidy after the chaos in the last part of the book but this was a minor thought. A very good read indeed.

My thanks to Bloomsbury and Net galley for this ARC.

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A triumphant modern version of a Victorian melodrama. The setting for the story is the industrial revolution but in this case it is not iron or steel that the satanic mill manufactures but a legendary form of silk from a mystical Greek island. Our hero is caught up in the adventures of a charismatic Victorian adventurer who will stop at nothing to ensure his product, which turns out to have dangerous properties, makes him his fortune. The characters are well drawn and each has their own background of love and conflict in a period where personal survival was constantly in doubt. The catastrophic ending reads like a disaster movie and from that moment the no reader could stop reading until the end.
Gripping stuff!

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