Cover Image: A Good House for Children

A Good House for Children

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Member Reviews

A creepy house that sucks the life out of anything or anyone that tries living in it. Great read if you need that kind of vibe.

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In this chilling debut, characters' lives entwine across two timelines in a haunting gothic narrative. Orla and Nick McGrath reside in Bristol with their 4-year-old son, Sam, and infant daughter, Bridie. When Sam suddenly stops speaking, doctors diagnose him with selective mutism and tell the parents to be patient. Nick decides a change of scenery will help and moves the family to an eerie Dorset home. Instead of peace and solace, the family encounters unsettling occurrences that unravel their sanity. Forty years earlier, nanny Lydia Price grapples with inexplicable phenomena in the same house, facing dismissive attitudes from her employer. Kate Collins masterfully intertwines these narratives, building tension and claustrophobia, while subtly exploring feminist themes. This gripping, eerie slow burn will linger with readers for a long time.

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A Good House for Children is a great example of a gothic horror. I overall really liked this book, especially since it’s one of my favorite tropes. However, I wasn’t too keen on the quickness between the two timelines. I feel like more time could’ve been spent before going back and forth. That made it kind of difficult for me to concentrate.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review!

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This was a great read that kept me turning pages as it pulled me deeper and deeper into the mystery. The characters were well rounded and I felt the frustrations of the main character as she received less and less support and understanding from her husband. The ending was heartbreaking and left an emotional scar. Four and a half stars.

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If you can keep up, this book is a good, haunted house story. There are two timelines that the reader will experience while reading this book. The present timeline, where Orla is ready for a change and agrees to move their family to a antique house set on the Dorset cliffs. Then there is a past timeline where, Lydia moves in as a live-in nanny for a grieving family. When weird stuff starts happening to both women, they know that something sinister is in this house.

This gothic horror that will cause anxiety, feelings of claustrophobia, and give you the creeps. The reader will be absorbed with this story. It is a great choice who enjoy a little horror with their story.

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I yearn for eerie tales, ones that haunt your psyche and soul and in A Good House for Children I have found just that.

his book is one of the highlights of my year. A gothic haunted house tale with elements of folk horror, it gave me shivers and chills of the best possible kind. Told in alternating time periods, each holds its ground and both are equally compelling. The stories linked by the struggles of motherhood, madness and ghosts, let the atmosphere slowly build until it envelopes and drowns the reader in this terrifying and suffocating tale. Reminiscent of The Little Stranger, this book is everything a ghost story should be. Perfection! Thanks to @netgalley & @marinerbooks for an arc.

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I enjoyed the alternative timelines and the tie-ins. There is a spooky feel that does leave you wondering about both mothers' minds. This is an excellent debut novel! I will be looking for more books by this author.

I received an advanced reader's copy through a giveaway and willingly read and provided a review for this book.

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Thank you Netgalley and Mariner Books for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

"A Good House for Children" by Kate Collins is a two monsters who share a same situation but during different times.

I would give "A Good House for Children" by Kate Collins a 1.5 star review because the concept is intriguing but everything else failed for me.

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I really wanted to get to this one, as it seemed interesting. This was requested when I first found out about NetGalley and I had requested so many ARCs that I could not get to all of them before they were archived. If I can find this somewhere for a reasonable price, I will try to get it!

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This story is told in dual timelines of 1976 and 2017. It follows several women who move to a house in Dorset known as The Reeve along with their respective families/employers. It follows various themes of motherhood, grief and societal expectations of traditional female domestic roles in the home. I thought the book shined in its descriptions of the gothic home and surrounding grounds.

However, I found it difficult to connect with the story since I found all the female characters unrelatable. Sara, a mother of four, was mostly indifferent towards her household, laying down rules then disappearing in supposed grief over her lost husband. Lydia, her nanny, and Orla the mother in the latter timeline, were both extremely passive and had issues with communicating their feelings and situations with everyone. I had a difficult time distinguishing them from one another. Sam, Orla’s son, who supposedly suffered from selective mutism was a very interesting character, but his story just fizzled away to nonexistence, as well as his parents’ obviously toxic relationship.

The writing was atmospheric, but I never felt pulled into the story. It was very slow moving but it never really went anywhere. I kept expecting the house, which was the most relatable character in the story, to have a backstory. There was none.

If you enjoy gothic stories and don’t mind ambiguity, you might enjoy this more than me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Mariner Books for a copy provided for an honest review.

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This is one creepy, unnerving read from the very beginning to the bitter end. It crawls up your spine, wraps tendrils around your brain stem like a hungry parasite and just doesn't let go. I love horror but as far as the basic ghost story goes it takes a lot of effort to make it worthy of my praise. This one though, it left me reeling! There's a certain bad vibes feeling that you get right from the start, even if you can't put your finger on it, this anxiety inducing feeling never seems to go away, after you know what is happening it's even worse!

There's something to be said about the way the author brings the feeling of being mother or caretaker to life. All the nitty-gritty stuff that all women have felt at one time or another, all parents have felt it for that matter. The weaving together of emotional trauma, of grief, of just never feeling like you can ever do enough, make for a book that feels solid and scary in ways that tap into the most basic of human fears and discomfort.

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This is an eerie atmospheric ghost story that gradually builds suspense, though at times a bit too slowly. The dual timeline gives some history to the setting which begins as idyllic and evolves quickly to creepy for both families featured . It was a better than most ghost story, but wish there had been more explanation of the history of the house and why it was "haunted ", just too many loose ends and things that were left unexplained. Definitely worth the read. 4 stars out of 5

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This story started off great, but left too many things unfinished or unexplained. I would have loved to further explore the past events that started everything instead of just the story in the present and the one in the 70's.

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A Good House for Children is about a family who moves to a huge old house on the coast in an effort to live a quieter life away from the city. Unfortunately they’re not alone there.

I was hoping to love this book but it was just ok. I’ve said before in my reviews of other books that involve mothers and motherhood that I’m not a mom., maybe if I were id have found this creepy. This was a quiet story more about mental illness than a haunted house.

Thanks to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the e-arc I received in exchange for my honest review.

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Written in dual perspectives of Lydia, a nanny in the 70s helping out a recently widowed mother and Orla, a stay at home mom in present day, A Good House for Children was atmospheric, haunting and unsettling. The house has a greedy past that no one talks about, and Orla can feel something is wrong. Her husband Nick is away for work all the time, leaving Orla on edge, afraid and on the verge of a breakdown.

While it wasn’t scary necessarily, it was disturbing in a way that will leave me thinking about it for a while. If you love gothic settings and ghost stories, A Good House for Children fits the bill. Thanks to Mariner Books for my eARC.

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The chilling story of two women, living in different decades, but in the same mysterious mansion. Is it really a good house for children, or is it a good house for no one?

Dual timelines, a gothic setting, a house with secrets, ghostly apparitions, children behaving strangely, relatable themes of identity and motherhood. These are some of my favorite storylines and elements. A Good House for Children by Kate Collins had all of these and more. Unfortunately, however, I don’t feel like the book reached its full potential. The writing was beautiful, but the action moved so slowly. Even most of the spooky parts lacked intensity. Honestly, I struggled to get through it. My favorite parts were the ones involving Orla’s painting: How the house was affecting what and how she painted, and the best, most intense scene when Orla’s reaction to the painting makes you wonder if she is losing her mind. I wish we had gotten more of that. I wanted more from the ending, as well. I typically don’t mind ambiguous endings, but this one left so many questions unanswered and plotlines unresolved that it felt very unsatisfying.

Overall, however, A Good House for Children was an interesting take on a haunted house story and a moving exploration of the role of motherhood, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in those themes that doesn't mind being left with your own interpretations.

Thank you Mariner Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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I LOVED this book, we have already purchased it for our library and it continues to be a hit. The way the story is told leaves you wanting more.

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A Good House for Children by Kate Collins is a dual timeline story about 2 families who both have come to live in a mansion called The Reeve which is located on a clifftop just outside of the small town of Dorset. It’s here within the walls of the house and in the gardens outback that strange things seem to happen. The children appear to have friends or playmates while spending time in the backyard that don’t really exist. The women hear things that can’t be explained and even see another woman or spirit of one who seems to be interested in the young children. It’s like the house is haunted and that the spirits of previous residents have remained there taking claim to the house even though they are no longer alive. It’s a house where tragedy lurks just waiting to happen. It’s a creepy, eerie read but one I really enjoyed. If you like reading spooky type stories, then I recommend you read this book. I’d like to thank Scene of the Crime Early Read program and NetGalley for the arc to read and review. I thought it was a good story, not too over the top but definitely on the creepy side and I’m giving it a 4 star rating. I look forward to reading more by Kate Collins in the near future.

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This book really got to me.. kind of creepy and interesting at the same time.
Orla who was a painter, but now is a mother to 2 kids. Her husband decides that they should move into a house that will give the family more room, and he will commute to work. Then he declares he has found the perfect house and moves them. She senses there is not something right and hears things that are not really there, and doors closing, etc.

Orla then starts to look into the history of the house and why was it vacant when her husband bought it?

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I thought as a debut novel this was a really good gothic novel! I loved the eerie feel throughout the novel. I'm obsessed with old/haunted houses so I definitely connected with it.

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