A Good House for Children
by Kate Collins
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Pub Date 04 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 29 Aug 2023
The dazzling debut novel from Kate Collins—a feminist gothic mystery spanning decades, in the vein of Mexican Gothic and The Essex Serpent.
Once upon a time Orla was: a woman, a painter, a lover. Now she is a mother and a wife, and when her husband Nick suggests that their city apartment has grown too small for their lives, she agrees, in part because she does agree, and in part because she is too tired to think about what she really does want. She agrees again when Nick announces with pride that he has found an antiquated Georgian house on the Dorset cliffs—a good house for children, he says, tons of space and gorgeous grounds. But as the family settles into the mansion—Nick absent all week, commuting to the city for work—Orla finds herself unsettled. She hears voices when no one is around; doors open and close on their own; and her son Sam, who has not spoken in six months, seems to have made an imaginary friend whose motives Orla does not trust.
Four decades earlier, Lydia moves into the same house as a live-in nanny to a grieving family. Lydia, too, becomes aware of intangible presences in the large house, and she, like Orla four decades later, becomes increasingly fearful for the safety of the children in her care. But no one in either woman’s life believes her: the stories seem fanciful, the stuff of magic and mayhem, sprung from the imaginations of hysterical women who spend too much time in the company of children.
Are both families careening towards tragedy? Are Orla and Lydia seeing things that aren’t there? What secrets is the house hiding? A feminist gothic tale perfectly suited for the current moment, A Good House for Children combines an atmospheric mystery with resonant themes of motherhood, madness, and the value of a woman’s work.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 102 members
This book is about 2 mothers one house in a shared nightmare. In 1975 Sarah lost her husband and decided to move her children to the country and took the children’s caregiver Lydia with them. In 2017 it is Orla‘s husband Nick who decides they’re moving to the country he has the perfect house and a perfect plan, he will drive to London during the week and come home on weekends but like most plants he doesn’t stick to it and Orla finds herself home alone with Lil Britty and nonverbal Sam for days on end. Sarah is a very strict mother she wants a low sugar intake no TV in the children cannot leave the front garden she believes the country air in good living will keep her family healthy but it seems the house they live in will change both women and even the caregiver Lydia sees and hears things that she questions. it seems the house will only host families so long before it starts to take revenge. It doesn’t help matters that both families have children who now have an imaginary friend only imaginary friends are supposed to be silent and invisible. This book was so good I didn’t know what to put and what not to put but just know if you love a great ghost story with a great Gothic feel you love a good house for children it is absolutely perfect as a debut in OMG it’s so good! A total five star read so much in this book was creepy and had me sitting up on the edge of my seat to finish it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it I love Gothic ghost stories and this is one of the better ones I have read … So freaking good! A truly spooky tale. I received this book from NetGalley and mariner books but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
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