Cover Image: A Good House for Children

A Good House for Children

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Member Reviews

An eerie gothic story.

Orla, a wife, mother and once a well known painter moves to remote house on the coast of Dorset. It's a huge house that has been empty for a while but the cost is too good to turn down and her husband believes it will be good for their young son that is a selective mute. Orla tries to embrace the new home but with her husband away all week and with nothing much to do she starts noticing things are not quite right with the house.

Decades previously another family were living in the same house where eerie things were happening involving the children!

This is dual perspective between orla in present day and Lydia in the 1970's where she is an au pair for four children.
This book is not scary but balances on the edge of eerie and scary but never quite crosses the bridge. There will be hearings of children running, birds hitting the windows and dangerous things happen. At one point this book feels like the house could be at the same point in an alternative reality.
I enjoyed this book, it is atmospheric and slow paced but I wish it had been darker.

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An old rundown house on a Dorset cliff top, two timelines both featuring “yes dear” type women. I got into this book whilst reading the intro, sadly though lost interest rapidly after two or three chapters. I didn’t find it at all chilling or menacing, just tedious! I can see lots of people found it wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed the story but for me it was just a hard slog working my way through it.

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This was incredible! I loved the gothic and ghostly atmosphere and the characters were so likeable and interesting. The plot moved slowly but it actually allowed me to immerse myself in the story further. A brilliant mystery and I can’t wait to read more from the author in the future.

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A Gothic haunted house horror with a bit of a sci-fi, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey aspect to it, this exploration of fraught motherhood is something of a slow burner and leaves the reader to draw their own ultimate conclusions on events.

The story follows two timelines – Lydia and the family she nannies for in the 70s, and Orla with her children in the 2010s. The plot of the story is a good one, but it unrolls so slowly , as the author explores the effects of loneliness and isolation, what it means to be a mother, and the challenges faced by fractured families (with absent fathers, for different reasons).

Many of the plot points are left open to interpretation and many questions left unanswered. For example, Sam’s mutism seems like it is important and relevant to the plot but the connection is never quite made? And I really wanted to know more about the history of the house, and what got events started off? Why are women and children affected by the situation, but men are not? What’s going on with Orla’s art?

The atmosphere of the story is hauntingly claustrophobic and unsettling – I felt trapped and jumpy while reading and that oppressive feeling increased throughout the story. Unfortunately, for me this combination of a very slow build-up and unanswered questions resulted in a bit of an unsatisfying finale… it just didn’t feel there was enough ‘pay-off’ for such an intense and gradual exploration.

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A dark and thrilling novel that has you turning the pages from start to finish, I will certainly be looking for more books by Kate Collins that’s for sure!

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Collins new Gothic horror house is reminiscent of haunted house novels from the past and is the better for it.

The plot moves around and gives an uneasy feeling to the reader. Every creak and shadow emanate off the page into the walls around me giving me an uneasy feeling which transported me to this world. This is an excellent asset to a creepy haunting story that settles into the subconscious long after the last sentence is read.

The characters are well drawn and very real within this world giving the sense of dread and urgency which moves the plot at a good pace. The author’s ability to manage and stage direct the mood, emotions and characters within this sense is a huge accomplishment that will keep the reader fully immersed.

This is an excellent haunted house novel that gives nods to Poe’s House of Usher and Jackson’s Hill House but giving its own voice that long haunts you and swims around in your brain days after completion. Highly recommended.

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This was the perfect blend of creepiness for me.

A sprawling old home on the cliffs of Dorset, willing the next family to walk across the threshold and give their lives over to the house.

We follow two families journey living in The Reeve as it’s known. 1976 and Sara, her nanny and her children have moved after the death of her husband. Sara immerses herself in her work, leaving the Nanny Lydia to try to entertain the children in the heat of summer with a house that seems to be slowly taking over.

2017 and Olga, her husband Nick and two children leave London for the sprawling house hoping the change of scenery will be the change their young son Sam needs. With Nick spending most of the week in London and Olga left alone with her thoughts and a house that is clearly trying to derail her, it seems intent on sending her into madness.

I was captivated from the very first page. The story has this overall eeriness to it and the pace of the story was perfect. Although also marked as a horror I found it more mesmerising than anything, and there’s no gore or anything that made my stomach turn.

With an almost gothic tone to it the house is definitely in charge, calling the families into its depths. As more and more strange things start to happen, both Sara and Olga slowly start to lose their grip on reality. Are the strange voices they hear, the children they see, the movements around them; are they real or imagined? Are the stories floating up from the village mere folklore and superstition or is something seriously wrong?

A huge thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read A Good House for Children, loved it.

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Read this if you like: Haunted houses, tortured artists, that Mike Flanagan blend of sadness and abject terror.
An unsettling read, filled with encroaching dread, sudden spooks, and tragic loss.

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A dark, atmospheric and spooky read. I love a ghost story and this didn't disappoint.

The Reeve is such a foreboding house and just as much of a character in this story as the people. The two timelines between the women were believable and really tied the story together. Highly recommended.

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A Good House for Children is a gothic horror story, which is set in dual timelines as it tells the story of Orla and Lydia, who have each lived in The Reeve. The Reeve is a well known haunted house, as well as a place where the lines between various times and realities get blurred.

I quite enjoyed this book, and felt that the author really clearly created a spooky atmosphere. I also really enjoyed that there were dual timelines, however I did feel that this didn’t allow me to connect with the characters as well as I would have liked.

It is a good slow burner, and is very atmospheric. The sudden ending did leave me feeling a bit disappointed, as I would have liked to have seen it wrapped up a bit more.

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I know that is quite fashionable to talk about gothic novel but I think this is a solid, creepy and terrifying horror story that pays homage to Shirley Jackson and, for some element, to James' Turn of the Screw.
The first part is a bit slow as it introduces the characters and the dual timeline stories. The second part is the one I wouldn't read late in the night. You don't know if there's supernatural or delusion, you know that it's creepy and keeps you on the edge.
A well plotted story, with the right level of ambiguity, featuring great characters.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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This was a gothic, haunting and atmospheric story that I couldn’t put down. It was gripping and engaging the whole way through with a level of suspense and unpredictability that added an extra layer to the storytelling. It was a chilling read that has stayed with me since I read it.

The E-Book could be improved and more user-friendly, such as links to the chapters, no significant gaps between words some text written has been typed in red and a cover for the book would be better. It is very document-like instead of a book. A star has been deducted because of this.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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A dark and haunting read. Cancel all plans while reading - I inhaled this amazing book over one weekend and resented everything that kept me away from it! The writing was top notch and the characters were very real.

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A slow burn gothic novel set in Devon and spanning dual timelines 40 years apart. This is a slow burn, with the tension slowly building and as with most gothic novels, the house is a character in itself, with doors that won't stay locked, or opening by themselves. I didn't fully connect with the characters, but the setting felt very real to me. This is definitely one I couldn't read whilst sitting alone in a big old house!

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A dual timeline story about a haunted house on the Denver coast. We follow two families in 70s and present day.

This book is quite predictable, I feel like I've read this book ten times before. The use of a mute child that sees ghosts and a absent father are constantly used in these tiles of stories and altho I was still interested in this book the writing let it down.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the writing but it reads very plainly. A different writing style could have changed this story massively but it almost feels like a slog to get through certain paragraphs.

A decent debut if a little predictable.

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The Reeve is an old house on a lonely cliff in Dorset. A house full of rooms and odd corners hiding dark secrets.
Set over two time periods in 2017 and 1976 with hints of earlier forgotten times.
Orla and Nick with their two young children move into The Reeve in 2017 but soon Orla is disturbed by sounds and fleeting feelings that she is not alone when her husband is away at work.
In 1976 Sara and her four children move into The Reeve with Lydia to help with the children. Lydia and Sara are troubled by the strangeness of the old house and are haunted by odd sounds, knocking on the walls and the feeling that there is someone else in the house with them.
I loved the creepiness of this story never knowing what was going to happen next. This was a ghost story about grief, loneliness, family relationships and mental health.

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A brilliant and creepy read that I will not recommend to people who scare easily!

It's a story with two timelines. The one set in 1976. Sara decides to relocate out of London with her four children and their nanny Lydla after her husband dies and buys this huge house called The Reeve near the town of Holmesford. Soon things start to deteriorate. There are odd noises in the house and glimpses of other children. Sara also does not seem like her old self.

The second story is set in 2017 when Orla's husband bullies her into moving out of the city to this huge house in the countryside near Holmesford. Their son has stopped talking but the doctors cannot find anything wrong and her husband believes this will help him. She's left alone in the week with her children and her husband is only there over the weekend. Why are the townspeople scared of the house and what tragedy awaits them?

Cue scary music.......

A great Gothic thriller!

Thank you to Netgalley, Profile Books, Serpents tail and Viper for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion

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A Good House for Children by Kate Collins, is simply not a good place for children. Period.

This gothic thriller fiction novel kept me on my toes and elevated my heart rate. This is one book I will not forget- I think it would make the perfect movie.

Set in two timelines we endure the two families, and their time at The Revee is fictionally set in Dorset overlooking the cliffs.

Lydia is a nanny for four children; Philip, twin girls Clover and Tabitha and baby Owen. Lydia notices strange things happening in the house such as the kids playing with imaginary friends, seeing and hearing things that aren’t really there. The more she pushes the kids' mum Sara into thinking that the kids aren’t safe, sinister occurrences happen.

Several years later, Orla and her family distant husband Nick, son Sam (who’s sadly mute) and baby daughter Bridie set into The Revee hoping that it might help Sam to speak.Orla feels off by the house at the start but the more she paints pictures of the house she feels connected with the house. She just can’t get enough of the darkness.

I love how this house is brought to life as a character. There is this darkness to it where it needs to feed on living things in order for it to live. With this darkness also comes ghosts and it makes you question is the house bad or its occupants?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and it’s a strong 5 star book for me.

Thank you Kate Collins, Netgalley and Serpents Tail for the digital copy of A Good House for Children.

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I’m gutted that I didn’t like this one more. I normally love a gothic haunting story, but I made it to 53% before I had to DNF. I just felt like nothing was happening. I was expecting spooky, and it just wasn’t. I also didn’t particularly care for any of the characters involved in either storyline. I liked the idea of it jumping back in time to compare what’s happening today against what happened in 1976, but both storylines felt uneventful and dragged out, and at 53% nothing had happened in either of them. I’ve seen a lot of great reviews for this and a lot of people have said the second half picks up, but I just don’t want to stick with it. I’m sure lots of people will love this book, but it’s just not for me.

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I absolutely loved this book, I couldn't put it down and was completely absorbed by Orla and Lydia and The Reeve. A lonely setting, away from the Dorset village, up a remote path stands The Reeve, a huge house that does at first seem to be a good house for children. Plenty of room, fresh sea air, large gardens. However, The Reeve has a mind of it's own as is slowly revealed both to Lydia in the 1970's and later to Orla in 2017. I found it thoroughly chilling, very compulsive and beautifully written. If you like haunted house type settings then I highly recommend, this is packed full of tension and really stayed with me. With thanks to the author and publisher for the chance to read an advance proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

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