Sunday, March 6, 2011

House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

Published: Sept 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 146
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads


Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?

As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.


This book relates to Wuthering Heights and what Heathcliffe was like as a child. It helps explain some of his behaviour as an adult and lack of emotional connection. Unfortunately for me, it has been a long time since I last read Wuthering Heights. Think decades...

House of Dead Maids was an interesting read for me. I felt that the narrator's voice rang through clearly and I could even hear the accent. I'm not sure if I was influenced by the book trailer but it definitely added to the creepiness of the story. This novel was short and enjoyable but not to the point that I would rush out and purchase it. Dunkle took an interesting point of view from a naive maid's perspective. I LOVED how she worked in that the little boy (Heathcliffe) did not have a name so the man raising him called him a "heathen little git". Nice. Can you imagine this as a nickname for a child? This poor little boy didn't even have a chance to enjoy a childhood. He was treated like an adult and never really had an opportunity to play and grow as a child should. Even though he was annoying and rude, you couldn't fault him for not having good role models or proper parenting.

The second part of the story had to do with the spirit of the last house maid. Descriptions of Tabbys' encounters were frightening but not as much as the cover of this story....or the book trailer. Check it out here and take a chance on this one. The creep factor was not as high as The Devouring (Simon Holt) but it was still eerie....

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