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30 April 2019
Review: HOUSE OF GLASS, Susan Fletcher
I had a curious sense of being watched.
June 1914 and a young woman - Clara Waterfield - is summoned to a large stone house in Gloucestershire. Her task: to fill a greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens, to create a private paradise for the owner of Shadowbrook. Yet on arrival, Clara hears rumours: something is wrong with this quiet, wisteria-covered house. Its gardens are filled with foxgloves, hydrangea and roses; it has lily ponds, a croquet lawn - and the marvellous new glasshouse awaits her. But the house itself feels unloved. Its rooms are shuttered or empty. The owner is mostly absent; the housekeeper and maids seem afraid. And soon Clara understands their fear, for something - or someone - is walking through the house at night.
In the height of summer, she finds herself drawn deeper into Shadowbrook's dark interior - and into the secrets that violently haunt this house.
Nothing - not even the men who claim they wish to help her - is quite what it seems.
Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier, this is a wonderful, atmospheric Gothic novel.
As the blurb says, this attempts, and largely succeeds, to be an atmospheric Gothic style novel.
The mystery isn't confined to what is happening in Shadowbank and what has happened there before.
Clara Waterfield has had a confined childhood largely caused by the disease she has - brittle bones- which makes her susceptible to fractures. Her mother has recently died, and there is mystery there related to who Clara's father is.
After a relatively short time of studying plants at Kew Gardens, through the head keeper Clara is surprisingly invited to oversee the set up of a large glass house in the country.
There she hears stories about the recent owners of the house. The current owner who is paying for Clara's glass house project is frequently away and it is weeks before she meets him.
This is a book that keeps you reading even if only to solve the mystery of what is happening in the house.
My rating: 4.4
I have previously read:
4.8, THE HIGHLAND WITCH (aka CORRAG)