The Quietness by Alison Rattle

When fifteen-year-old Queenie escapes from the squalid slums of nineteenth-century London, she has no idea about the dangers of the dark world she is about to become embroiled in. Initially thrilled at being taken on as a maid for the seemingly respectable Waters sisters, Queenie comes to realise that something is very wrong with the dozens of strangely silent babies being ‘adopted’ into the household. Meanwhile, lonely and unloved sixteen-year-old Ellen is delighted when her handsome and charming young cousin Jacob is sent to live with her family. She thinks she has finally found a man to fall in love with and rely on, but when Jacob cruelly betrays her she finds herself once again at the mercy of her cold-hearted father. Soon the girls’ lives become irrevocably entwined in this tension-filled drama. THE QUIETNESS is a novel of friendship and trust in the darkest of settings.

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24 thoughts on “The Quietness by Alison Rattle

  1. This has to be my favourite book by far. A definite 6 stars, well written and well deserved winner in my opinion!

  2. Having worked out several of the major plot twists very early in the book, one of them from the front cover, I found it very hard to be impressed by the Quietness despite everything it got right. Overall I would say that I would not recommend it, simply because what should have been a surprise was not

  3. This was probably my favourite of all the books I read! A few of the plot twists were obvious basically for the front cover but I thought the ending was a total shock 🙂

  4. I quite enjoyed it although when I first saw the book I thought that it wouldn’t be for me. I would definitely recommend to someone who has never read a book in this genre before.

  5. I quite enjoyed this book. I am a sucker for period dramas so from the blurb I was excited by this one. However, some parts left me feeling really awkward. The storyline grabbed me but at times I felt that my mind was ahead of itself and that I knew what would happen long before it did. Also, some aspects were not what I felt should happen (e.g. the ending). Despite this, the characters grew on me so I cared about what happened to them, which in my mind gives the author bonus points.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as I found it very interesting to read about what life was like during this time period

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was very insightful into the lives of two very contrasting characters in the 1800s. I liked how this book was not afraid to talk about serious matters which kept me gripped throughout the story and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the true,but saddening, matters of life in the 1800s.

  8. Usually I don’t like books with split narration but I definitely think that having the story told from both Queenie’s and Ellen’s points of view makes the book better. It gives you an interesting picture of Victorian England but the ending was very sad (but happy too!).

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Quietness’, it touched upon subjects I had never read about before and I highly recommend it. However, I don’t think the front cover portrayed the two characters very well and the story line was definitely predictable. Despite this, I enjoyed learning about the lives of the two very different characters.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it is the type of thing I would pick up in a book shop. I really liked the characters Ellen and Queenie as I thought their stories gave an eye opening view of life in the 1800s. I would definitely recommend this book.

  11. The Quietness leads you through the dark, dirty alleys of Victorian England. It follows the story of two teenage girls: Queenie and Ellen. Both of these girls seem to have completely different lives at the beginning of the book. Queenie comes from a poor family that faces the fight against poverty every single day of her life. Whereas, Ellen has the comfort of living in a huge mansion with all she could ever ask for. As the book unfolds we discover that Queenie and Ellen have more in common that there first seemed to be. Neither of them are happy with their own lives and each of them long for more. The Quietness paints an accurate picture in your mind about the problems both of these girls face every day. It also gives you a sense of the atmosphere in Victorian England, both in the upper class as well as lower class. Whilst reading The Quietness I learned many different things. However, the thing that struck me the most was the ‘baby farms’. I was shocked to hear that such associations existed at the time and I felt that Alison Rattle explained this matter extremely well in the book. Overall I felt The Quietness was an interesting book to read and I would recommend it to people who would like to read a historical book for a change.

    Though well written and fantastically researched the plot does not live up to the standard of the author. Teenagers do not want to read about the negativity of a darkened world, as naïve as it may be we still want to live in a world in which everything works out in the end. When turning the last page of this book, it was hard not rip it up in frustration.

    Great book: love the use of historical, and slightly shocking, truth. It keeps you guessing about the characters the whole way through which makes the book more engaging and interesting. The ending was also very different which does make it refreshing. However not sure I would have done that myself as in the historical accounts on which the book is based, Queenie never is prosecuted although I can see where Rattle comes from by intending to shock and explain the harsh reality of Victorian life. Overall a great read and I couldn’t put it down.

    I don’t think anything has shocked me as much as The Quietness. I don’t think you could find anything like this in your history textbook. It is amazing that Alison Rattle has written such a gripping book from such a heartbreaking subject.
    When I started reading the book, I thought ‘This is going to be an average historical fiction novel’. How wrong I was. Rattle spins a complex web of lies and secrets, and then slowly begins to unravel it. Sometimes she metaphorically blindfolds us, so we can’t see exactly what is going on all the time. Other times she leads us off on a tangent, and we become distracted from the main story. All of this works so well that you only notice what she has done once you have finished reading the book.
    It must be so hard to write from the point of view of two girls, living in different places, so similar yet with so many differences. We start by feeling that Ellen is the luckier of the two: she has a large house, a maid, and has enough to eat. About a third of the way through the book, that all changes with the arrival of Jacob Grey, and we think that actually, Queenie has a better life overall. Ellen has luxury, but Queenie has love. By the end, we are back to thinking that Ellen is more fortunate, and we cry over the fate of Queenie, who did nothing wrong, and did nothing to deserve what happens to her.
    I liked reading this book, though I am not a fan of the genre as a whole. I wish that all historical fiction books could be as informative yet entertaining as The Quietness.

  12. A dark and controversial tale, “The Quietness” deals with many shocking, but true, themes. Although I quite easily predicted the final twist, not only through the content of the book but from the front cover, I still really enjoyed the read and would recommend it to others.

  13. This book was very, very good. I loved both Queenie and Ellen, you really took to them from the first page of each of their stories. Ellen’s Father was vile and sinister and you think that Queenie’s Dad is horrible and cruel but the story changes your view of him by the end. I thought Jacob was nice at first so it was a shock when you find out about him and you really feel for Ellen when that happens. I did guess one of the twists in the story from about a third of the way in but the story unfolded brilliantly with the author just giving you enough to know what she was building up to within each segment of the girls’ lives. The two sisters were so disgraceful and heartless especially Mrs. Waters but I fely sorry a little bit for Mrs.Ellis as I don’t think she was as disgusting as her sister. If you like historical novels then this is an especially good one to read.

  14. I really enjoyed this book because it gave you an insight on what it was like to live during this time period, I really liked the different two perspectives and how they were both completely different. However I found that it was quite easy to predict what was going to happen at the end, but I still enjoyed reading the book.

  15. I found that this book was gripping however it was hard to get in to it. The characters Ellen and Queenie were very different! While Ellen’s story was more dramatic, I liked Queenie better as her life was very interesting. Overall the book was good but I would only recommend it to people who like stories written in the past.

  16. The Quiteness was an excellent book. The ending was unpredictable and each chapter in the book was thrilling. I would definitely recommend this read.

  17. I found this a predicatble book, I had forseen almost every supposed twist by merely the first couple of chapters, but that didn’t stop me enjoying it! It was short and sharp, however I felt some chapters were just a little too brisk. Whilst reading, I much prefered hearing of Queenie and her life, rather than the tiresome Ellen, but, alternatively, it did set this book apart from the rest.

  18. I enjoyed this book quite a lot as I liked the contrast between Ellen and Queenie.Though what put me off was the ending as it was quite gruesome.

  19. I found the Quietness such a brilliant book, which dragged you into the story as if you’re a part of it. It was funny, sad, and dramatic, all my favourite kinds of book! I would definitely recommend this to teenagers and adults, with great belief that they will experience the same emotions and thrill as me.

  20. ‘The Quietness’ by Alison Rattle is an extremely gripping read. A tale of mystery and dreams, I couldn’t put it down. I’m not always keen on books having a historical element, and probably would not have chosen to read it, but ‘The Quietness’ is a book I could read again and again. The story of friendship im the book is truly magical, as well as the comparisons of rich versus poor and cruelty and slyness versus innocence. A really great book.

  21. I normally find it boring reading about the Victorian times, however this book really grabbed me into it. I loved how the story was beautifully told through the perspectives of two completely different girls, living in the same period of time yet with completely different lifestyles. I also enjoyed the twists and turns in the book, as it really influenced me to keep on reading.
    I have learnt the ups and downs of what life was like back in the 1870s in London through the eyes of a girl named Ellen (16) who was a wealthy girl and was the daughter of a wealthy surgeon, all Ellen wanted was anything but Quietness. On the other hand there was a girl named Queenie (15) who was written in third person. She was living in the squalid slums, along with her younger siblings, mother and father who all desperately needed feeding. All she wanted was Quietness unlike Ellen who wanted anything but Quietness.
    I would recommend this book to teenagers who enjoy history as it’s fascinating, grabs you in and is beautifully written.

  22. I really enjoyed this book, it was very addictive and I liked how it changed for 1st person. I also enjoyed the storyline and how it was written in the 1870s. I hope there will be another book because I enjoyed this book.

  23. I think that this book is very interesting, as it gives you an idea on how people lived in the years it was based in. Also there was lots of plot twists which made it an addictive book to read! But, I thought the secret in the book was obvious from the start.

  24. I thought that the author interestingly brought the two separate lives of the girls together in a subtle and gradual way. The title of the novel is cleverly incorporated in to the story in several ways. Furthermore I felt transported in to the Victorian era. I could emphasis with the desperation of Queenie and the loneliness that Ellen felt. However, I could guess some of the secrets before they were revealed which lessened the tension. Overall I still enjoyed reading and learning the outcome of the story.

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