2016 Book #12 – The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert

51giUwdr+qLTitle: The Children’s Home
Author: Charles Lambert
Date finished: 2/12/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Scribner
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!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book # 92 – Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

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Title: Sisters of Versailles
Author: Sally Christie
Date finished: 8/31/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Pages in book: 432
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:

A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters—Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne—four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot—and women—forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters—sweet, naïve Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie’s stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood—of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for ARC August reading challenge, it wasn’t included on my sign up post but it will be my last book for the challenge. I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about the five Mailly Nesle sisters, four of whom were mistresses of King Louis XV, the fifth deciding to stay loyal to her husband, which appears to be rare for this time period. Louise is the eldest sister and a couple years after she marries she inherits a position in the Queen’s court. It is there that she meets the King and becomes his mistress. The next two eldest girls, Pauline and Diane, are sent to a convent after the death of their mother. The two youngest, Hortense and Marie-Anne go to live with their aunt after their mother’s death.
I loved this book. I thought it was extremely interesting, it was hard for me to put down. And I think that it is even cooler that it is based on actual events from the 1700’s. Since this is fiction not everything from the story is factual but there were actually 4 sisters who all slept with the same King apparently. I don’t want to give away too much from the story line so I won’t say much about the actual plot but there is enough romance, intrigue, love, revenge, death, and power to make all kinds of readers happy. I thought this was a great book and I can’t wait to see more from this author!

The bottom line: I very much enjoyed this book, it was full of power, intrigue, revenge, and love. I would definitely recommend!!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page