After a scandal in the city, Bram leaves to stay with her uncle James in his manor at Louth, a small town near the Hudson River. Louth has seen its own series of scandals though, and they call them the Dead Girls, a series of young women whose lives have been taken or ruined by the manor. As Bram struggles with her own ghosts, she now must deal with the town's as well, all while trying not to become one herself.
What I Liked:
The creep factor: Give me a trope of a small, creepy house/manor/town/etc. any day, and I will be immediately intrigued. Louth/the manor offers an interesting lore in the Dead Girls. Most prominently among them is the story of a young woman who, after being torn apart from her lover, flees into the night in her wedding dress and drowns in the river. When Bram starts seeing a girl in a white dress, I got chills.
The theme of truth: A central theme to DON'T TELL A SOUL is truth: specifically, knowing or finding the truth and then knowing you won't be believed. This is a connecting theme between Bram and another character (name redacted to prevent spoilers). Bram has been repeatedly gaslit and manipulated by those around her. She feels the hurt of not being believed or even listened to. A big question this book asks is where do you go or who do you turn to when no one believes the truth?
The narration: Emma Galvin voices the audiobook and did a lovely job. Galvin has a distinct voice, not quite gravely or raspy but something close to it that well fits a protagonist who has a chip on her shoulder. There weren't many scenes with more than two or three people speaking, but in all of them, Galvin ensures each voice is clear and recognizable.
What Left Me Wanting More:
While there are many things I liked about DON'T TELL A SOUL, I kept wishing for a little more of something. It followed a solid plot, had complex characters, and of course had the wonderful creep factor, but the mystery rarely caught me off guard or surprised me. Some of the twists fell a little flat for me.
Kirsten Miller's DON'T TELL A SOUL is an enjoyable mystery about the significance of truth and the hauntings of trauma. Though the story could be enjoyed in any format, Emma Galvin does a particularly nice job at the narration, so I would recommend going the audiobook route, if that's your style.