The House in the Orchard

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Pub Date 27 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022

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Description

A startling gothic tale of corrupted innocence that asks—when we look closely—what it really means to know the truth.

1945: War widow Peggy is grateful to have inherited Orchard House from her husband’s Aunt Maude; she looks forward to making a fresh start in rural Cambridgeshire with her young son. The moment she sets eyes on the rambling property, however, doubt sets in. From the bricked-up cellar to the scent of violets and rotting fruit, the place seems shrouded by dark mysteries. When Peggy discovers Maude’s teenage diary gathering dust inside a broken desk, she begins to read, searching for answers.

1876: Orphaned Maude is forced to leave London, and her adored brother Frank, to live with a stranger. Everyone—especially Frank—tells her not to trust Miss Greenaway, the enigmatic owner of Orchard House, but Maude can’t help warming to her new guardian. Encouraged by Miss Greenaway to speak her mind, follow her curiosity, and form her own opinions, Maude finds herself discovering who she is for the first time, and learning to love her new home in the orchard.

But when Frank comes for an unexpected visit, the delicate balance of Maude’s life is thrown into disarray. Complicating matters more, Maude witnesses an adult world full of interactions she cannot quite understand with implications beyond her grasp. Her efforts to regain control and right the future as she sees fit result in a violent tragedy, the repercussions of which will haunt Orchard House for the rest of Maude’s life—and beyond. Psychologically gripping and masterfully told, The House in the Orchard explores the blurred lines between truth and manipulation, asking us who we can trust, how to tell guilt from forgiveness, and whether we can ever really separate true love from destruction. 

About the Author: Elizabeth Brooks is the author of The Orphan of Salt Winds and The Whispering House. She grew up in Chester, England, graduated from Cambridge University, and resides on the Isle of Man.

A startling gothic tale of corrupted innocence that asks—when we look closely—what it really means to know the truth.

1945: War widow Peggy is grateful to have inherited Orchard House from her...


A Note From the Publisher

LibraryReads votes are due by 8/1/22.

LibraryReads votes are due by 8/1/22.


Advance Praise

"Like McEwan’s Atonement, Elizabeth Brooks delivers a twisty tale which proves deadly when innocence collides with an antiquated world of manners and class." - Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening

"Like McEwan’s Atonement, Elizabeth Brooks delivers a twisty tale which proves deadly when innocence collides with an antiquated world of manners and class." - Michelle Hoover, author of The...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781953534392
PRICE $27.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

There's a lot of early buzz for Elizabeth Brooks' THE HOUSE IN THE ORCHARD--and it's deserved. A richly woven, Gothic narrative which is instantly immersive, this novel showcases Brooks' command of character and place. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Tin House and to Netgalley for the opportunity and pleasure of an early read.

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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: nothing! But 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.

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