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The House of Dead Maids

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  800 Ratings  ·  235 Reviews
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 jealo ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Square Fish (first published September 14th 2010)
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that should be the whole review right there, just "no."

this is supposed to be the story of heathcliff as a ten-year-old boy. so you have two central characters: the real-life housekeeper of the brontes and the-boy-who-would-be-heathcliff, who was fictional, correct?? and you have the housekeeper character ultimately telling this story to her charges, the four young bronte children, with dear emily listening raptly. how clumsy is that? you can't market this as being a "prelude" to wuthering h
House of Dead Maids starts out as this wonderful, creepy, gothic ghost story, which is my absolute fav. But then it just gets a little disjointed. The young master with no name is sort of odd. The story behind the Dead Maids is a little too quick and bare bones, and the ending comes up so fast, it doesn’t feel like a fully fleshed out book or story. The tie in with Wuthering Heights was weak. I was disappointed. I wanted more suspense, more characterization, and a little bit more meat. I did enj ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
2.5 stars. Just so you know...yes, I was screaming inside of my own head. The caps were indeed justified in this case.

Thoughts when I saw this book sitting on a thrift store shelf :

Oooohhhh...lookie...awesome cover girl with creepy black eyes. The title makes me want to know what's going on. IT'S A HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS - HOW AWESOME!

Thoughts when I read the back cover :

OH HECK YEAH. It's a Wuthering Heights prequel in YA form. WITH LOTS OF GHOST ACTION!!!

Me after reading the book :

Sigh. At least
Riley Edgewood
Aug 10, 2010 Riley Edgewood added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a scare, lovers of Wuthering Heights
Shelves: read-in-2010
Last night, I started and finished and ARC of The House of Dead Maids, by Clare Dunkle. And, um, WOW. The book releases on September 14th and is definitely something you want to read.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I read Wuthering Heights right before, to better acquaint myself with Heathcliff's story, and though I'm really glad I've finally read the book (Wuthering Heights is amazing and it shames me how long it took me to get around to reading it) it wasn't absolutely necessary to read beforeha
Melissa Marr
Nov 08, 2009 Melissa Marr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I told the editor: “DEAD MAIDS is dark and beautiful, literary and lovely. In it, Dunkle has crafted a tale worthy of sitting on a shelf next to Wuthering Heights—which is no minor feat.”
I read this last night in one sitting. It's a young adult ghost story and I couldn't put it down. It is the story of Tabby (the Bronte's housekeeper) when she was a young girl and how she met Heathcliff prior to the story of Wuthering Heights. It's a pretty outrageous tale but I love ghost stories and I got drawn into it. It's fiction, of course, and likely to have never happened but it made for a good story. Not sure that I would have thought of this story if I wanted to explain Heathcliff's or ...more
Sep 10, 2010 Torzilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, reviewed
When I first heard about THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS, the English major in me squealed with joy. Holy sweet baby Jesus! she said, I love WUTHERING HEIGHTS. THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS is going to be awesome!

And awesome it was.

First of all, this story is not the sort of tale you should read at night. A wonderful woman named Barbara, who coordinated the tour I participated in, warned me not to do it. She said: "A word of advice: don't start reading it too late at night."

I wasn't sure what to make of her
Karyn Silverman
May 19, 2010 Karyn Silverman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, z2010-reads, arcs, vw
Short and spooky and thoroughly satisfying. The pagan rituals and how they play in a Christian world was really interesting-- almost more for what wasn't said; the book is firmly in Tabby's voice, but bigger themes shine right through. The fact that this is ultimately a prequel or backstory for Wuthering Heights-- and that it might just answer where Heathcliff went during those three years-- gives an extra little oomph, especially for us old English majors.
Feb 24, 2015 Figgy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Nice CREEPY cover to pop up on the recommended books when I'm in a dark house, the only one awake, and past my bedtime...

Thanks, GR!
Melissa Chung
Oct 19, 2014 Melissa Chung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The House of Dead Maids was a cover buy. I thought it would be a spooky ghost story. I didn't find out until half way through the book that it is a "prelude" to Wuthering Heights.

Clare skillfully writes about a maid and her misfortune, when selected to be a new maid at the Seldom House. Being 11 and a skillful knitter Tabitha or Tabby was delighted to be placed in a new home. She later finds out she will be in charge of a young "master". The children are close in age. I want to say, the boy, wh
Jun 17, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
18/6 - Let's start off with "I've never read Wuthering Heights." I've seen the Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche movie and thought it was worth four 'very good' stars. The movie made me want to get started immediately on reading the book (obviously I haven't, as other books had precedence), The House of Dead Maids didn't really have the same impact on me. When I put this on my 'to read' list I had no idea it was the 'prelude' for Wuthering Heights. It wasn't until after I started reading that I ...more
Vickie Wilson
Sep 13, 2013 Vickie Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first spotted The House of Dead Maids on a blogger's site - the eerie maid staring right out you with her weird non-eyes is an image that's hard to get out your head. I was further intrigued by the setting, Yorkshire, where I live! The House of Dead Maids is a short, speedy read that you can easily devour in one afternoon - in fact, it took me only an hour. At less than 150 pages in large type, Clare B. Dunkle has managed to pack an unusual, creepy, ghost story within it's pages without making ...more
Robert Beveridge
Clare B. Dunkle, The House of Dead Maids (Holt, 2010)

The current craze for revising and updating classic works of literature rolls on with Clare Dunkle's The House of Dead Maids, a prequel to Wuthering Heights with an intriguing twist. In this one, Tabby (the real-life maid of the Bronte family, mentioned by biographers as the source of Emily's gothic leanings), formerly an orphan at a knitting school, is chosen by an old biddy named Miss Winter to be the new governess at a secluded mansion. She
Steph Su
Gothic and gruesome, THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS is not exactly my usual type of book, but is an excellent example of what “creepy Gothic literature” should be like.

Dunkle certainly knows her Victorian—or more particularly, Brontean—language. THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS reads like it was written by someone who lived during that time and wanted to tell children a scary bedtime story. The historical fiction aspect is authentic and believable.

Accordingly, there is little character development—Victorian lit
(Reviewing the advance readers copy.)

I have consistently mixed feelings about this author's work, but WOW, what a fantastically creepy read. So many scenes, so much of the imagery, had my heart racing.

I wonder, though, who is the intended audience? The main character is eleven years old, which would make this a tough sell for teens, but the (lovely) writing is fairly complex, which would make it a tough sell for intermediate readers. I think I'd be most likely to give it to a teen or adult fan
Melinda Jane Harrison
This is a very small book, based on some folklore surrounding Yorkshire, introducing a young girl who would go on to be a maid in the house of the Brontes. It's really meta-fiction, using "secret histories" as a way to gather interest in the story Wuthering Heights by Emily Jane Bronte.

I thought it was done quite well. I'm about to enter a Bronte gloaming period, and I thought this would be a great edition to it.

I'll be reading through it again as I read more Bronte-related books, making updates
The House of Dead Maids is a creepy story to be sure. For some reason I was definitely able to put it down though, it wasn't one of those I HAD to keep reading, not until a certain part came and then I was flipping the pages furiously to see what happened. But after that it was back to being interesting but not unputdownable.

I liked the story, I thought it was well done and the main characters were drawn in enough for them to be mysterious - we never learn too much about them, which was fitting
Oct 11, 2011 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was way out of my comfort zone. I wouldn't classify it as scary but instead Dunkle has a knack with creepy. This book is very creepy.
I think the idea behind the book is creative. It seems that Dunkle has been exposed to everything Bronte from a young age. Honestly, Wuthering Heights isn't my favorite novel. However, I think that Dunkle, because of her mother's influence, really captured Heathcliff. What she did with the novel and the character Himself was amazing to me. I think she re
Aug 02, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
The House of Dead Maids is a spine-tingling masterpiece. Told as a prequel to Bronte's Wuthering Heights, the reader is introduced to a young Heathcliff through the eyes of the Tabby. While Tabby is a great character, seeing a young Heathcliff was in itself quite a treat.

The House of Dead Maids is quite a unique novel. Part classic novel continuation and part delicious Gothic novel with the hint of paranormal. The tale is told beautifully. Now, readers, I must forewarn you. This novel is definit
The Rusty Key
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Adult Bronte fans, and your strange niece who’s pretty advanced for her age and has read Wuthering Heights twelve times.

One Word Summary: Peripheral.

In a bizarre coincidence, my response to The House of Dead Maids is quite similar to what I expressed in my review of ‘The Book of the Maidservant’ (Is it something about Maids?). Dead Maids has strengths in its appropriation of the Victorian Gothic style and some affectingly frighteni
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Warning: this review contains spoilers.

The House of the Dead Maids is described as a prelude to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. I was curious about this connection to one of my favourite novels and since I have enjoyed other books by Clare B. Dunkle (The Hollow Kingdom and By These Ten Bones), I decided to give this one a go.

It tells the story of orphaned Tabby Aykroyd as she is taken to the old mansion called Seldom House to be the nursemaid of an u
Oct 22, 2010 Bookish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
How I coveted The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle once I saw its ghoulish cover (It reminds me of one of my favorite childhood series - Scary Stories with Stephen Gammell's nightmarish illustrations). And upon finding out that it was a prequel of sorts to Wuthering Heights - well it was just all over for me. Had to read it.

At 146 pages, The House of Dead Maids is a slim volume that's full of gothic creepiness. Not a word is wasted. You don't need to have read Wuthering Heights; this nove
Katieb (MundieMoms)
Have you ever wondered what Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff was like as a child? Pick up The House of Dead Maids and you'll find out. Clare B Dunkle does a great job at bringing an Emily Brontë like voice to The House of Dead Maids. It reads as though Clare came from the early Victorian/ Emily Brontë's time. The style and language is very similar to Emily's and can, in my opinion be read as a prequel to Wuthering Heights. You don't need to read Wuthering Heights to understand what's going on in th ...more
Oct 26, 2010 Lawral marked it as read-but-unowned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, arc
This cover grabbed me. I walked past the girl with no eyes probably a dozen times before I decided I just had to have a copy of this book. That girl on the cover is so enthralling. And a little disturbing. And she doesn't disappoint. This book is enthralling. And a more than a little disturbing. Tabby's life at Seldom House is odd, creepy, and plagued by ghosts, some seemingly kind and some openly menacing.

The House of Dead Maids has a wonderfully creepy and complicated set-up. It is hard to gue
Why I read this: If you look at that cover, you may get seriously spooked out. I haven't read a spooky book in so long and couldn't resist another novel by the lovely Clare B. Dunkle.

Plot: Wow. Let's just say that this book will definitely keep you up at night and I highly suggest to read it in daylight. Dunkle mixes a meld of classic writing with such horror and suspense, that you will jump if anyone interrupts you while reading (I certainly did). I actually have not read Wuthering Heights (bad
Rebecca McNutt
I liked the plot and the creativity of The House of Dead Maids, but in the end I just found it too weird (and I love weird books, so this doesn't happen very often!). Not only that, but the writing was near-void of much depth or descriptiveness at all. :-\
Mar 12, 2011 Alexandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book but it is also a prelude to the book Wuthering Heights, which I've never read but plan to read in the future. I thought this book might be a good start. It was really creepy. Even though it is meant for children, it scared me at times. Not only because of the dead maids and masters, but because the whole setting was just so dark, and damp and windy and desolate. I really just didn't care for this book at all. I couldn't help but like Heathcliff though, but only because ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-13
A spooky little horror story, quite chilling in parts. The publisher quite annoyingly chose to subtitle/advertise the book on its cover as "A chilling prelude to Wuthering Heights." I found that completely unfair/inaccurate, as it raises expectations that I don't believe the author was shooting for, and ruins a clever little twist at the end. This does not in any way read as a Bronte imitation; Clare Dunkle is simply continuing her habit of taking other's stories as a jumping off point for her o ...more
Keep in mind that I'm NOT a Bronte kinda girl but I just loved this "prelude" to Wuthering Heights. (Heathcliff fans-please don't send hate mail if you disagree with my opinion!) With just 146 pages, it's a quick read but I was on the edge of my seat for most of them. If someone had snuck up behind me, I would have jumped a foot in the air!

I'll be looking for more Dunkle titles before I leave work today! Do I really need to say any more?
Sonia Gensler
Dec 29, 2010 Sonia Gensler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gothic thriller intended as a prologue to Wuthering Heights. Dunkle definitely nails the Bronte style. Booklist called the plot arc predictable (in an otherwise positive review), but I really didn't know where things were going and found myself pleasantly surprised (& disturbed -- in a good way).
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I was born Clare Buckalew in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Denton, Texas, a city north of Dallas. I earned my B.A. in Russian with a minor in Latin from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from Indiana University with a master's degree in library science, I came back to San Antonio to work when my husband, Joe, joined the engineering staff at Kelly Air Force Base. I earn ...more
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“I had no fear of the stream's perils, and I listened with the greatest contentment to the quiet slap of water on rocks, the running whisper of the current, and the taps and creaks and croaks that rose with the mist around me. Overhead swing the glittering stars, and the bright moon shone down and lit the curling ripples of the water. At no time in my life had I been in greater danger from the elements, and yet if I learned that heaven is such as that night was, I should deem it a joy worth the dying.” 6 likes
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