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The House At Midnight

3.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,494 Ratings  ·  216 Reviews
On an icy winter weekend, seven friends celebrate New Year's Eve at Stoneborough, a grand manor in the English countryside. They've been brought together by Lucas Heathfield, a young man who recently inherited the property after the tragic death of his uncle Patrick. Though still raw from the loss of his last family member, Lucas welcomes this tight-knit group of friends t ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published January 7th 2008 by Bloomsbury (first published January 1st 2008)
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Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn WaughAtonement by Ian McEwanThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe Pursuit of Love by Nancy MitfordLove in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
English Country House Novels
11th out of 24 books — 20 voters
The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah OomerbhoyTyme's End by B.R. CollinsInstruments of Darkness by Imogen RobertsonThe Long Weekend by Savita KalhanThe House At Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse
Wrought Iron Fences
5th out of 41 books — 17 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
okay, i understand this one's comparison to donna tartt. and i accept it. i really enjoyed this, even though it is about shitty people being shitty to each other in the name of friendship: sexual betrayal, emotional blackmail, financial expectations and passive-aggressive behavior galore! i thought the story was interesting and relatable - to a point... but the point where it gets novel-y rather than true life-y was at least interesting and fun. not fun like meadows and hopscotch, more "fun if y ...more
Jessica
Sep 21, 2008 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high expectations about this book because it had been compared in reviews to Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca -- books I loved. What a disappointment! This book is definitely not even in the same league as the aforementioned books. The group of friends, the indulgent lifestyle, the haunted house -- the elements were all there, but the novel fell flat. The beginning of the book had a lot of potential, but I found the ending to be especially vague and rushed, ...more
Kelly
There were a lot of Secret History comparisons before I picked up this book. That shit is lazy, you guys. Do not listen to it. This book is like the Secret History if what you got from Secret History is big houses and overprivileged young adults and probably something fucked up happening at some point. This is not the Secret History.

It is its own thing, which is good because I have to be just about the only person in the entire world who does not worship at the shrine of The Secret History. The
...more
Leonie
Mar 15, 2011 Leonie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In part my dislike for this book is exacerbated by the way it's sold as a Gothic mystery type thing. I expected something supernatural to do with the house and all I got was a couple of references with the main character talking about the house's wild, evil pulse or something. The author was clearly working on influences like The Secret History, The Turn of the Screw etc, and while I don't necessarily demand originality, I am almost shocked that she couldn't knock together something better.


I ha
...more
Holli
Dec 04, 2013 Holli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just finished this book and I have to say that it's been a long time since a book swept me up in it like this one did. What a powerful story about the dynamics of a group of friends and the wonderful and horrible things that can happen within it. I loved it. Couldn't stop reading about the lives of these people to see what could possibly happen next. Great psychological drama....would really make a perfect movie I think!
Blair
Absolutely excellent! I was instantly gripped and devoured the whole book within a day. The intrigue is subtle rather than overtly dramatic, but I found myself fascinated by the characters and their relationships, and desperate to know more about them. I loved the way their histories unfolded slowly as the story progressed, turning each into a wholly believable personality - after finishing the book I realised I had come to picture them so vividly that I found it shocking to think of them as fic ...more
Bree T
Oct 12, 2011 Bree T rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, mystery, gothic
Lucas inherits the palatial country pile Stoneborough Manor from his uncle Patrick, who was like a father to him. He thinks that it would be a great place for he and his college friends to spend the weekends and summers, drinking wine, listening to music and generally relaxing away from their city jobs. At first the weekends are fun, everyone gets along and enjoys themselves… but gradually it all starts to unravel.

Firstly Lucas and Joanna finally get together after what is close to 10 years of d
...more
Misha
I have a love for all things gothic. This book was the perfect recipe for my addiction to gothic novels.

The actual reason why I loved it so much was that it reminded me so much of The Secret History. I don't know whether that's a bad thing or a good thing. But I really enjoyed The House At Midnight.

The House at Midnight is very atmospheric and gripping. It is an edge of the seat novel and the psychological suspense is intriguing. Throughout the book, there is feeling of hidden evil, of something
...more
Kerstin ~ (SheReadsByMoonlight)
I was disappointed in this book. The cover promised it to be a gothic masterpiece, but that aspect of the story fell flat. The main character mentioned a strange atmosphere she could feel in the old mansion, but that was about it. The house never became its own character and the haunted, mysterious atmosphere I had hoped for was pretty much absent.
Other reviews led me to believe that this story was influenced by books like 'The Secret History', which could have saved this novel for me. Unfortuna
...more
Susan
Aug 18, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who can only choose this or the Kite Runner
Recommended to Susan by: no one--saw it on the new fiction shelf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rowena
Aug 24, 2012 Rowena rated it it was amazing
This book was pretty fantastic! A great story with many twists and turns, the kind of book that's really difficult to put down.
Allison
Jan 02, 2010 Allison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bleah. Blech. And also, ick. Oh, the searing melodrama. The sense of failure and desperation and regret but oh, wait, let's have some more sex and booze, that's worked out for us so well so far. Can I talk? Well, I'm in the middle of the biggest career opportunity of my life and this will probably totally destroy it, but what the hell, tell me all about your new girlfriend, my boss who's staring directly at me won't mind. And sorry about cheating on you with my girlfriend's boyfriend who's so mu ...more
Philippa
May 29, 2009 Philippa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some parts of this novel were really well written, and I guess that was what kept me reading, because I kept hoping it would redeem itself. I think the biggest flaw is in the characters - they weren't particularly likeable or well developed. I found myself not really caring what happened to them! The final few chapters really fell short of the tension and drama that had been created prior and didn't really resolve the way I thought it would. If you haven't read The Secret History by Donna Tartt, ...more
Geraldine
I'm giving this 2 stars as a rounding up, in order to avoid three consecutive 1 star reviews.

I wrote the thoughts below halfway through. The second half did little to change my mind.

None of the characters became any more rounded, likeable or developed in the latter part of the book. The ending, and the lead up to the ending, didn't ring true. I will stress again that the best fiction is based on the 'unlikely' but it has to be written in a way that makes it seem unsurprising, and be set in a co
...more
Steve Lindahl
Apr 01, 2014 Steve Lindahl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of the reviews posted for The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse mention other books that are like this novel in certain ways. The Secret History by Donna Tartt and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier were both mentioned. (I haven’t read the first one, but loved the second.) I think finding similarities is a great way to discover new books, but hanging on to those comparisons can lead to false expectations.

The House at Midnight is about a group of friends. The house provides a place where these
...more
Amy
Dec 26, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I bought this cheaply from Amazon as a treat to cheer myself up because, quite simply, several people on here whose taste I like had enjoyed it. I was sadly disappointed. I wanted this to be excellent but, although I found it quick and easy to read, I didn't enjoy it very much at all. I think the characters were a peculiar bunch whose motivation to do the odd things they do escaped me. It didn't drag but I kept thinking it would pick up the pace and thrill me a little. It never did.

I think this
...more
Michaela
Sep 24, 2014 Michaela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
When Lucas inherits Stoneborough Manor from his uncle Patrick, he invites all his friends to treat it like their own. But Stoneborough has secrets that will tear the friends apart and change their lives forever.

This book disappointed me. I thought it would be right up my alley and whilst it gave off very brief sparks of potential, it failed to take off.
The suspense built up to nothing, the gothic wasn't all that gothic and I found the main character Joanna boring.
It's a pity because I really wan
...more
Barb
I was looking forward to this, hoping it was going to be the "stunning piece of modern gothic" that John Connolly claimed it was on the book jacket. In my view it did not come close to living up to that description.

There is nothing of reality in this story, this is purely escapists fiction, there is an element of suspense that kept me reading but the climax, as well as much of the story, was not realistic. It was an easy read, with a lot of dialog and can be finished in a sitting or two. But ho
...more
Terri
Jun 09, 2009 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
I really enjoyed this book - quite creepy in a dark and menacing way. Very atmospheric.

(Read for the TNBBC Summer Challenge - read a book that hasn't already been made into a movie, and post a list of who you would cast - 15 points)

(My cast: Joanna - Kate Winslett; Lucas - Jude Law; Danny - Rufus Sewell; Martha - Drew Barrymore; Michael - Paul Bettany; Rachel - Keira Knightley; Greg - James McAvoy)
Graham
Feb 13, 2009 Graham rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this book is very readable the plot has too many holes in it, none of the characters are particularly like-able and the narrator is so irritating as to be implausible. The comparisons to Donna Tartt and her book "The Secret History" bandied about in various quotes by the publisher are not only misleading but a serious insult to the much higher calibre work of Ms. Tartt.
Jayne
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, it may be the most suspenseful story I've ever read. Sitting on the edge of my seat doesn't even begin to cover it! And being pulled back to read more and more, my attention fully captured, is a sign of a good book.

The writing was also beautiful: so many gorgeous similes used, that reminded me a little of Maggie O'Farrell's style.

I picked this book up on a Saturday night, while really in the mood for an episode of Friends. Being unable to find any online, I
...more
Judith Cranswick
I so wanted to like this novel! I first met Lucie at the Winchester Writers' Conference when she was still an agent and the following year did a course with her. Glowing reviews on the back cover of the book by people like Lee Child and Susan Hill whetted my appetite even more, but I'm afraid 'The House at Midnight' was not for me. For a start, I'm not sure what kind of genre it was intended to be. There was certainly little suspense. Above all it was SO slow! Paragraph after paragraph of nature ...more
Sarah
Mar 11, 2014 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2014-read
Oh where to begin...
Everyone in this book chain smokes. Every 10 mins some one is smoking. Which is fine, I am not one of those crazies that goes off when there is "bad habits" depicted in books/movies/TV shows as it can add depth to character. But when many of your characters are smoking so often that my lungs hurt for them and I feel compelled to make hash marks to track the number of smoke breaks maybe you should find a new habit or action for your character to perform. After a while it show
...more
Wendy Hines
Dec 04, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A magnificent debut by Lucie Whitehouse, The House at Midnight will keep you up long into the night turning the pages. A modern gothic splashed with romance and suspense, this novel will wrap its dark magic around you.
On a bitterly cold winters night, New Year’s Eve, seven friends from college meet at Stoneborough, a grand manor in the English countryside. Lucas Heathfield recently inherited the manor after the shocking, tragic death of his Uncle Patrick. Hoping the manor will become their escap
...more
Lorraine
Jan 05, 2009 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romantic suspense fans
Recommended to Lorraine by: Adam
Lucas has just inherited a beautiful old house from his uncle, and he invites his close college friends to join him every weekend for good times, college-style. They all love being there, but Joanna (the main character/narrator) notices the house has a presence all of its own. In fact, the house almost becomes one of the characters in the novel. Joanna realizes they're not in college anymore, and it's time to start living like adults. In a sense, the novel is an adult coming-of-age story.

Almost
...more
Sarah
Jun 25, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Lucas's uncle has just killed himself and left his fortune and his mansion in the English countryside to Lucas. Joanna wants to comfort him and share the house, as Lucas wishes her to, but something about the house unsettles her. Then, she and Lucas embark on a relationship. It's great but....

I expected something much different from what this novel actually was. I expected a straight out ghost story, something in the vein of "Hell House" by Matheson - the description on the back as well as the r
...more
Ali
Feb 17, 2012 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was bought this book for Christmas by my Auntie, she bought this because Lucie went to school with my cousin, Lucie also used to live in the house that my Great Grand Father did.
I was intrigued - a fellow writer from Warwickshire (my home county) - I just haven't taken my work further yet.
I found the start slow and almost put the book down - the description was too much and was stopping me from getting into the story and the characters.
But I carried on - refusing to give up and wanting to like
...more
Superangela
Jun 19, 2016 Superangela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually really enjoyed this book. This is about a group of friends whose situation changes after Lucas inherits his uncle's fortune.
Sheila
Feb 20, 2014 Sheila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
2.5 stars probably.

This book wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I was expecting. The word "gothic" is used 3 times on the book's flap and cover, and between that and being titled "The House at Midnight," I expected a ghost, brooding vampire, or evil family legacy. Alas, nothing like that. Disappointing.

This is instead a psychological suspense novel. I thought it needed more depth to the characters (especially the main villain) and less navel gazing by the narrator. Still, it was solidly written, eve
...more
S.C. Skillman
I liked the idea of this story, a sinister and disturbing atmosphere in an old house, gradually controlling and driving the actions of the people who come together in it, but although the novel did keep me reading, I felt it was flawed. The major problem seemed to be the characters' behaviour, which constantly balanced on the edge, just about to be tipped over into "unconvincing". I felt it was important for me to like Jo, the narrator, but found her strangely flat and I didn't quite believe in ...more
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Lucie Whitehouse was born in the Cotswolds in 1975 and grew up in Warwickshire. She studied Classics at Oxford University and then began a career in publishing while spending evenings, weekends and holidays working on the book that would eventually become THE HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT.

Having married in 2011, she now divides her time between the UK and Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband. She writes
...more
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