“How do you solve a mystery when the clues are hidden in the past?”
-Sarah Dunnakey, The Companion
Hey guys! Today, The Companion by Sarah Dunnakey comes out! I was sent the ARC a few months ago by the lovely people at Orion books and I really enjoyed it!
Check out the blurb:
Billy Shaw lives in a palace. Potter’s Pleasure Palace, the best entertainment venue in Yorkshire.
Jasper Harper lives in the big house above the valley, with his eccentric mother Edie and Uncle Charles, brother and sister authors who have come from London to write.
When it is arranged for Billy to become Jasper’s companion, Billy arrives to find a wild, peculiar boy in a curious household where the air is thick with secrets.
Later, when Charles and Edie are found dead, it is ruled a double suicide, but fictions have become tangled up in facts and it’s left to Anna Sallis, almost a century later, to find the truth.
Set between Billy’s perspective in the 1930s, and Anna’s in the present day, The Companion sets up a compelling mystery on the wild Yorkshire moors. When the esteemed writing siblings Edie and Charles are found shot dead, the official ruling is suicide, but the locals have their own suspicions. What intrigued me was reading the build-up to this tragic event; when Edie and Charles have decided to take in Billy to be Jasper’s companion, and we see their family dynamics and interactions through Billy’s eyes. Not to mention wondering what will happen to Billy and Jasper after the death of the siblings.
Then, we have Anna. Seeing the same town through her narrative, around eighty years later, it is clear that those same locals have kept their secrets and suspicions well buried. When Anna Sallis arrives in Oakenshaw for her new job as custodian of the town’s heritage museum, that once was the mill, she finds her work cut out for her. There are stacks of things to be organised, not to mention all of the fresh ideas she has to bring the museum some well deserved attention from tourists. But secrets can only stay buried for so long, and she soon finds herself embroiled in the mysteries of the past.
All of the characters were well-rounded in this novel, and I especially enjoyed reading Anna’s chapters as a modern woman coming into a new town and uncovering long-lost clues and hidden secrets. It made for a very compelling read! I also found it interesting to read the chapters set in the 1930s as I found the time period remarkably well evoked. It was nice to see Billy’s struggle between his family and his working roots, contrasted against his new lifestyle with Jasper and Edie and Charles. Jasper is obsessed with hunting a beast he’d claimed to see on the moors, adding a darker, eerier edge to the novel. This combined nicely with the setting of the moors themselves, the atmospheric descriptions of which, brought them to life as a character in their own right.
Overall, I found The Companion to be an intriguing, mysterious novel, that was set in a time period and place that I haven’t come across too often in other books before. I’m giving this one 4/5 stars and I recommend it for other bookworms that enjoy a good mystery and atmospheric read.
Has anyone read this one? What did you think? What was the last good mystery you read?