Book Reviews

The Two Houses: a gripping novel of buried secrets and those who hide them by Fran Cooper

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List Price: £14.99

 

Hardcover: 304 Pages.

Published: 22 March 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton

ISBN: 1473641578

EAN: 9781473641570

They cling to the hillside, cowering from the wind, because always, before everything up here, there is the wind.

The Two Houses were not always two. But if it is human to build - even up here, in this blasted northern hinterland - it is human to break, too.

After an acclaimed career in ceramics, Jay herself has cracked. Recovering from a breakdown, she and her husband Simon move to the desolate edges of the north of England, where they find and fall in love with the Two Houses: a crumbling property whose central rooms were supposedly so haunted that a previous owner had them cut out from the building entirely.

But on uprooting their city life and moving to the sheltered grey village of Hestle, Jay and Simon discover it's not only the Two Houses that seems to be haunted by an obscure past. It becomes increasingly clear that the villagers don't want them there at all - and when building work to make the two houses whole again starts, a discovery is made that will unearth decades-old secrets . . .

But who in this village has been hiding them?

Reviews

2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Dull - Too Much Description

Jay, a ceramics artist, has had a breakdown. She needs to get away from busy London so she & her husband, Simon, buy Two Houses in a remote area of the dales. The idea is to do it up & have weekends & the odd week away. There is a lot of superstition around Two Houses which was originally one house before a previous owner removed the middle rooms which he felt were haunted.

I really struggled with this book. The writing is just a bit too airy fairy for me. If something could be stated concisely in four words then this author would take four sentences. Everything is over described in lavish adjectives that really started to irritate me.

I got to 28% of the way through the book (the joys of ereaders, I know exactly how far through a book I am before I can't take any more!) and just gave up. By this point nothing had happened. Yes we had been inside Jay's head a lot, we knew every nook and cranny of the house and the surrounding countryside and even knew the exact nature of the rain and the mud. What we didn't know at this point was where the book was going. The scene was set but apart from some over dramatic glass breaking in the pub and the odd item seeming to be in a different place in the house and perhaps a few creaking stairs,  nothing had happened.

Jay and Simon didn't endear themselves to me. Simon seemed to have had a lot of time off work so they could settle in Two Houses but apart from that I couldn't get much of a hold on his personality. Jay was frankly irritating & I wanted to give her a kick. Her depression seemed to stem from a vase she was working on breaking in the kiln - it happens. There are also elements of issues due to not being able to conceive so I did feel sympathy. However, she seemed to spend time moping around & doing what did take her fancy regardless of the amount of work that needed to be done in the house such as unpacking. She was the one who wanted to move.

The characters in the village were a bit cliched - the old man living in a filthy cottage, Jacob the young man with learning disabilities, Tom the landlord of the pub being rather tacturn. There was even a male librarian who wore garish pullovers which he liked to knit himself - really! Why can't a librarian be a hunky good looking bloke who works out at the gym? Just once, please?

This was definitely not the book for me. I was not prepared to battle through any further to discover if or when the actual story was going to start. Background & description are crucial but they are supposed to draw the reader in not bore them silly.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

 
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