Reviews

The House in the Orchard, by Elizabeth Brooks

dapperreads's review against another edition

Go to review page

reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

Let’s start with my main issue with this book:
THE AUDIOBOOK. 
I’m not saying it’s bad - it isn’t. The narrator is great, their story is solid but the audiobook is just one long chapter. What? This is written as diary entries which allows for many breaks or “chapters” and we don’t get that. This is a pet peeve of mine and it did affect the enjoyability of this book for me. 

emilybartonspinks's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

mengel923's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

pacnw_jen's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark emotional mysterious sad slow-paced

4.0

shleelee__'s review

Go to review page

mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

alexaladybug's review

Go to review page

dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

4.0

whatlizisreadingnow's review

Go to review page

5.0

Overall: The House in the Orchard is a perfect read for October, as Brooks has written a gothic tale in the classic style. In 1945, we meet Peggy, recently widowed by the war, her four-year-old son Laurie, and her elderly father-in-law, Frank. They’ve come to Orchard House, a rather decrepit house in a lonely rural area of England, which Peggy has inherited from Frank’s late sister Maude. Peggy imagines a new life for herself and Laurie away from London and Frank’s oppressive influence. Frank opposes the move, partly to keep Peggy and Laurie close, but also because his relationship with Maude was quite difficult. The reader comes to understand how difficult as Peggy, unable to sleep, discovers a diary written by Maude and reads it in its entirety. Most of the book is taken up by this diary, but is Maude a reliable narrator? She’s a young, sheltered teenage girl during the events described, which take place in the 1870s and include the deaths of both of her parents and her move to live with the mysterious Miss Greenaway of Orchard House. Or should Peggy believe Frank’s version? Orchard House may be haunted, but why? And by whom?

Likes: Brooks perfectly captures the essence of the best gothic fiction. The book builds a fantastic amount of tension around the question of truth – is Maude’s version of events true? Frank’s? Or is it something entirely different? The House in the Orchard also concerns itself with the themes of some of my favorite gothic works: what is “correct” behavior for women? Within the stifling boundaries of the Victorian era, any breach of decorum – daring to pursue a higher education, freely expressing emotion, dressing as one liked, not to mention pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship outside of marriage – made a woman “horrifying.” If you enjoyed Jane Eyre, Rebecca, or The Turn of the Screw, or you’re a fan of some of Dickens’ darker works, this book is for you!

Dislikes: This is a slow-building plot, which is appropriate for this book. If you’re looking for something fast-paced, with major supernatural elements, or with blood and gore, this isn’t the book for you.

FYI: death of a parent, marital infidelity, death from illness, sudden violent death.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tin House for my advance reader copy. All opinions are my own.

marisa_jar's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious

4.0

amyk1's review

Go to review page

dark mysterious medium-paced

3.5

tealiy's review

Go to review page

mysterious sad medium-paced

4.5