The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.
As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….
This novel was spooky spooky! I find anything dealing with insanity, paranormal forces, mental patients and asylums to be completely fascinating and The Murmurings definitely delivered. Sophie was a decent protagonist but I was more interested in her connection to her sister Nell. Nell broke out of the institution with the help of Adam, an orderly. Throughout the novel, Sophie reads parts of Nell’s journal and what it reveals about her time in the facility. Figuring out who Nell was referring to in her journal full of initials was a fun puzzle. Her descriptions of the creepy staff were chilling, especially the charming head doctor with a secret in his past. Also, the descriptions of Adam versus Sophie’s encounters with Adam are at odds and make it difficult for her to trust whether he is on her side or not. That is one of the recurring themes of the book, who can you trust especially when you are unsure whether you can even trust your own mind.
One thing I loved about The Murmurings was all of the spooky imagery and the way West’s writing created a sense of dread and unease. Nell is found dead very early on in the novel hanging by her toe with her other leg bent behind from a tree in a town miles away from the facility and her home. This image, let alone the questions as to how she got into that position, is truly terrifying.
Without giving too much away, mirrors play a large role in the story. The feeling of not knowing what you are seeing in a mirror or seeing things that aren’t there is extremely palpable. Mirrors already freak me out enough! Especially when the author introduces the idea of something unnatural coming out of the mirror, whether it is in Nell’s mind or actually a true dark force.
The spooky cover also provides some insight into later happenings in the story. The long hair in the face is an image used widely in horror and rightly so because it is so creepy! The cover reminds me of movies like The Ring and The Grudge.
One of the best things about The Murmurings is the way that the author describes the feelings of Nell, and later Sophie, as they start to hear things that aren’t there and see things that aren’t real. The reader can feel their isolation, their hopelessness, and the feeling of being trapped, for one in an institution and for both within their own minds. The Murmurings will have you rocking back and forth, questioning your own sanity, in no time.
- Spooky and chilling atmosphere and imagery
- Trying to piece together the puzzle of Nell’s diary
- Makes the reader think further on the question of sanity vs. insanity and whether there are spaces in between
The Not So Good
- Now I am even more freaked out by mirrors
Yes yes yes! So spooky! I loved it.