Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin’s future—like that of every young woman—hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle’s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrific crime—and no one believes her.
Gregory denies all, and Isabelle’s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband’s assassination.
In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.
Weaving together a thread of finely tuned suspense with a fascinating setting and real-life figures, Sarah Barthel's debut is historical fiction at its most evocative and compelling.
About the Author
Being raised on classic films and old time musicals, it isn’t surprising that Sarah Barthel found her passion in writing historical fiction. She often says she was born out of time, but appreciates modern toothpaste and chocolate! Her hometown, just outside Chicago, is full of old-fashioned charm and serves as inspiration for much of her work. Before writing House of Silence, she drove past Bellevue Sanitarium often and wondered what life was like there for women like Mary Lincoln. After many years of wondering, Isabelle’s story was born. She lives with her two beautiful daughters and loving husband. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or www.Sarahebarthel.com.
Praise for Sarah Barthel:
“Just the name of the Ziegfeld Follies conjures images of beautiful girls, fabulous costumes and glamorous parties; that’s the world Barthel sweeps readers into in her story of two women—one black, one white—who come searching for fame and fortune in New York City. Readers will immediately become invested in Barthel’s well-drawn characters from Suzanne to Jada to Flo Ziegfeld and the fabulous performers. The quick pace is like the tapping of dancing feet and with plenty of suspense, rivalries, and secrets, fans of historical fiction will be fascinated with Ziegfeld Girls.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
“An engaging, fast-paced blend of historical fiction and suspense.” —Shelf Awareness on House of Silence