Title: The Children’s Home
Author: Charles Lambert
Date finished: 2/12/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller/suspense
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Pages in book: 224
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Blurb from the cover:
For fans of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, a beguiling and disarming debut novel from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor—and the startling revelations their behavior evokes.
In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper Engel. Then more children begin to show up.
Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgan’s lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgan’s library. But the children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgan’s past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgan’s mind.
The Children’s Home is a genre-defying, utterly bewitching masterwork, an inversion of modern fairy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass, in which children visit faraway lands to accomplish elusive tasks. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, Jamesian stream of consciousness, and neo-gothic horror, to reveal the inescapable effects of abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque—as well as the glimmers of goodness—buried deep within the soul.
My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Morgan Fletcher, who was horribly disfigured years ago in a tragic family event. Since then he has hid himself away in his family home, trying to hide his face from the world. He realizes that his face causes fear and disgust and this is something he simply can not deal with. At some point he acquires Engel as his housekeeper, though how she came to find him he is yet unsure. And then after awhile children start showing up at the house, orphans who are in need of a home. And miraculously these strays seem to form a family together, and Morgan is grateful that his new family accepts him as he is and they are not frightened by his mangled features. And then Morgan meets his new friend Crane, a doctor who comes to care for one of the children when they are sick. Crane also is not frightened by Morgan and together they form a deep friendship.
After awhile though Morgan starts to notice something different about the children that live with him. They don’t make very much noise (for children) and they always seem to disappear until someone is looking for them. They seem to already know all about Morgan and his estranged sister and the rest of their family. Morgan starts to question where they all came from and how they came to find him, hidden away in a country estate.
Overall I thought this was a great book. It was mysterious and weird and interesting, just everything you could want in a book. I’m still not 100% sure that I understand everything that was going on at the end but I think that’s mostly because I had a lot of outside distractions going on, I might need to read the last like 20 pages again. And honestly I really want to discuss this book with someone else that’s read it because I do think there are some points that the author leaves open for interpretation and I would just love to get someone else’s thoughts on it.
The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this book! It was fascinating and I am definitely going to be suggesting it for a book club pick, I think this one would be great for a group discussion. Mysterious and weird and just a great read!
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page