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House of Many Shadows
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House of Many Shadows

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,325 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Meg Rittenhouse fears she is losing her mind. The doctors tell her the strange and disturbing hallucinations she's been experiencing ever since her accident are all in her head, and that, with a little rest, the haunting visions will vanish. But accepting an invitation to stay with her cousin in the country may be the worst decision Meg has ever made. Here, in a remote old ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by HarperTorch (first published 1974)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,917)
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Samantha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roberta
Barbara Michaels (Barbara Mertz) was one of my favorite authors. I grew up reading her mysteries as both Michaels and Elizabeth Peters. She recently passed away and that has moved me to update my Michaels shelf to my Nook and re-read some old favorites. Mertz was a master of the romantic suspense genre and as Michaels she often added a supernatural flair. Reading this was like spending time with an old friend. And, I am not ashamed to say I did need to turn on the nightlight after reading it. I ...more
Valerie
This was one of my absolute favorite books when I was a teenager, and one of the only books that I've read over and over again. My mom used to go to used bookstores and buy me gothics (my favorite genre when I was a teen), and she picked this one up for me. This book, along with Watch the Wall My Darling by Jane Aiken Hodge were the two most read books in my personal library. And this book actually got me into needlepoint!
Angela
With House of Many Shadows, I jump pretty far back along Barbara Michaels' bibliography, from the mid-90's back to the mid-70's. Despite this being one of her older novels, it's actually not terribly dated; it helps that the setting is in the obligatory Creepy Old House in the Country, and that there are exactly two technology references that really date the book (a tape recorder and a dictaphone). Reading it, then, is a pleasantly timeless experience.

Meg Rittenhouse is suffering from hallucinat
...more
Lisa Greer
Jan 04, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
You know what? I love mysteries, and I don't mean high literary ones. For my money, it is tough to beat Barbara Michaels. With a Ph.D. in Egyptology, her work is unique, and it is chock full of philosophy as well as wonderfully round characters. I liked the atmosphere and main characters in this novel very much.
Cari
Now I remember why I read every single Barbara Michaels book I could find in the high school and public library... This is really good, entertaining stuff! Who doesn't love a romance with some mystery and a nice, creepy haunting!? I'm very glad I decided to revisit this author. Her books are a lot of fun!
Patricia Houston
Michaels/Peters/Mertz was one of my favorite authors whatever name she used. As Barbara Michaels she wrote what I suppose can be referred to as supernatural romantic suspense. But I always felt she was spoofing that style. Her "heroes" were more likely to squeal with terror than her heroines. Her females were no shrinking violets and they didn't mind proving that they were as smart, if not smarter, than the males. And she was a very funny writer, as well. And informative. I loved this book becau ...more
Beverly
Good ghost story, mixing modern day (well, 1974) characters and times with ghostly characters from the 1740s.
D.M. Hoffman
This book inspired me to write my novel. I had my eye on it for a while years back, and when I finally gave in and made the purchase, I ended up reading it in one night - I simply could not put it down. It lures you chapter by chapter into the shadows of the tale and soon you have no choice but continue until the end. After reading this book I immediately purchased others by Barbara Michaels, and it wasn't long before I owned all of her works. I truly enjoy her writing and highly recommend givin ...more
Angie
This was my first book by Barbara Michaels, and I'm embarrassed to admit I had never heard of her until a few months ago. Man, did I not realize what I was missing!

This is American gothic--spooky, fun, a little romance. I'll definitely be hunting her books down to read. Luckily for me, she wrote a ton of them.

I read a ton of Victoria Holt when I was younger and still love her books. This gave off that kind of vibe. You can read these many times and never bore of them.



(A clean read too!)
M.
House of Many Shadows is a typical example of the unique style of Barbara Michaels. Michaels has a knack for creating stories that draw the reader in with attractive characters and settings, and then adding substantial doses of tension, suspense and...the unknown. As a reader, you become instantly immersed in the world within the pages.


This tale certainly has the attractive characters, the leads of which are Meg Rittenhouse and Andy Brenner. There is also an eccentric supporting cast that deserv
...more
Kathy Jackson
Where to begin…

The story is a good idea – ghosts invade a house built on the site of a house where a murder occurred. The couple there – Meg and Andy are both damaged humans who try to figure out the reasons for the haunting. Each is likeable but their relationship is rocky – actually rather irritating – throughout most of the book.

While the characters are rather believable, they also lack a luster that is there with the other Barbara Michaels books. I’m afraid the whole idea of dimension foldin
...more
Liz
Barbara Michaels, who also writes as Elizabeth Peters has a pattern to her modern gothic novels. First you have a young, educated feminist who is sent to an old house, usually by a curmudgeonly relative. Typically there is a young man, who by some means is fated to be the star-crossed lover, at least at first. Hi-jinks ensue.

In House of Many Shadows, we meet Meg Rittenhouse who is recovering from an auto accident which has left her mostly healthy, but with a tendency to have hallucinations, both
...more
Kasia S.
After reading some great books written by Michaels this is my second time being disappointed and I think I will require a lengthy break from her novels after this one. The book has some nice parts, that saves it form being a one star in my opinion, such as the descriptions of the house and the characters, I enjoyed reading about Meg and Andy's relationship, it was cozy to see two people spend so much time alone and try to solve the mystery of their cousin's haunted house in which they lived in, ...more
Lea Wait
It's been a long while since I read a Gothic mystery, complete with ghosts. Too long. And Barbara Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters) know how to write one! Nineteenth century house in eastern Pennsylvania, hunky (but troubled) hero. beautiful (but troubled) heroine ... and a few eighteenth century ghosts to round out the cast. Bottom line: the afternoon slipped away. I hardly noticed. Hey - maybe I should take up cross-stitch. (Read House of Many Shadows and find out why.)

Stacy
The book was a spooky page turner. The visions combined with the history and geneology made this a great read for me. The real relationship between Meg and Andy was prickly and I enjoyed the references to Andy being a coward. Meg was the tough one and I loved reading about a strong woman – even if she was seeing things that weren’t there.

Michaels did a great job of wrapping up the mystery of the house and visions in a satisfying way, but there were a few loose ends about the characters that I w
...more
J
Have you ever encountered a book where the story seems to be dragging but you kept on reading it, not noticing that you’re almost finished with it? This book has that effect on me.

I think it was the mystery that made me keep on reading it. What I just noticed is there’s a lot of things that was being dealt in the book, like a crazy man, the haunting of the murdered people in the previous house and the mysteries surrounding the hauntings and the personalities of Meg and Andy. It’s sort of draggi
...more
Jennie
Liked the story and romantic development in the characters. Another great gothic novel by Michaels- this one with ghosts from the past. Much better than Black Rainbow.
Sistermagpie
Enjoyable haunted house story from Barbara Michaels. The heroine this time is a young woman who was in an accident and now suffers from temporary illusions--just the person to doubt the ghosts she sees. She's sharing her aunt's house with the woman's ex-stepson, who used to terrorize her as a child. Luckily, he's no longer the terrorizing type and sparks fly!

The mystery begins with a hidden sampler, which I definitely appreciated, and the final explanation of the house's secret has enough of a t
...more
Mary
This was a painfully long read.
The story was repetitive, had way too many clichés, was very predictable and the characters were light and they had a promising beginning, but as the story advanced they got way too flat and dull. They weren't deep nor dynamic... just dull.

I must say that what Culver did in he end was surprising. Everythig else was too predictable and the antiques took much, if not all, of the focus for at least half of the book.
Victoria Watson
struggled to suspend my disbelief with this one. wouldn't recommend it.
Laura
I wish I had liked this novel better because a friend lent it to me.

It was a quick read but the characters were very two dimensional and I never felt for their plight (seeing strange things in an old house and a creepy ex-tenant).

There were at least two major grammatical errors that jumped out at me. Wrong verb tenses and the like also irked me.

This novel was written in the 70s, so maybe that explains it.
Teri
Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters is among one of my favorite authors. I have read many of her books (some several times) and found this particular book to be a disappointment. It was not as engaging as most of her work is and I quickly became bored with the story. Always a loyal fan, I pushed through to the end and, unfortunately, found that my opinion never waivered. Definitely not her best work.
Jellicle
The first Michael's book I ever read, discovered in the school library when I was 12. This book introduced my mother and I to a life long love of all books Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters. Ok, it isn't one of her all time best but it is funny, romantic, and suspenseful to a degree. I still enjoy reading it for nostalgia.
Hilary
This was my first Barbara Michaels book, so I'm not sure if this is typical of her writing. Interesting premise, and some real characters there (especially Sylvia and Georgia) but the romance built too abruptly for me.
Polly
I always remember this as being worse than it is, actually, it's quite good for one of my not-favourite Barbara Michaels' books. It's not Ammie, Come Home or Vanish with the Rose (two of my favourites), but it's got quite a lot of good stuff, if you want a romantic gothic ghost story!
Ellenb
Sep 15, 2009 Ellenb added it
I read this the first time at about age 15. Awake, alone on the second floor of the house, windows open, hearing critters outside. I couldn't get out of bed to turn the hall light off!
Still one of my favorite reads - the ones you return to when you need some sort of comforting.
Caitie
Paint-by-numbers Barbara Michaels novel, which is perfect because her mysteries are my favorite kind of traaash. It totally hit the spot in every way.

HOWEVER. The ending is so abrupt that I thought the final page might have been ripped out of my battered old copy. That's no fun!
Ericka Scott
I found an old edition of this book at a garage sale. I'd read it years ago... and hunkered down to re-read it. Although a bit dated, I enjoyed it every bit as much as I have all of her other books. Just wish the author was still writing in this genre.
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Barbara Michaels is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters, as well as under her own name.

She was born in Canton, Illinois and has written over fifty books including some in Egyptology. Dr. Mertz also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Egyptology.
More about Barbara Michaels...
Stitches in Time (Georgetown, #3) Ammie, Come Home (Georgetown, #1) The Dancing Floor Smoke and Mirrors Vanish with the Rose

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