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Daughters of the House: A Novel

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A Booker Prize Finalist, Daughters of the House is Michèle Roberts’s acclaimed novel of secrets and lies revealed in the aftermath of World War II. Thérèse and Léonie, French and English cousins of the same age, grow up together in Normandy. Intrigued by parents’ and servants’ guilty silences and the broken shrine they find in the woods, the girls weave their own elaborate ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 7th 2001 by Picador (first published 1992)
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Anglo-French writer Michèle Roberts writes the story of cousins, one English, one French. Every short chapter is triggered by some household object in the house where Thérèse and Léonie both live in their teenage years. The book paints a vivid picture of French country-house life in the post-war years, and was a device I enjoyed, just as I enjoyed observing the girls' somewhat love-hate relationship develop, despite their closeness. But I was uninvolved in the plot itself, which I found rather s ...more
What is wrong with having a plot? Why are there endless books where nothing happens?
2.5 stars. I expected that I would love this book; it has so many of my favorite plot elements. Ancestral family home? Check. Long buried family secrets? Check. A slightly unreliable narrator? Check. And yet, put all together, all these checks ended up adding up to a mediocre read, at best, for me.

A large part of my problem was the writing style. The chapters, each centered around an object in the Martin family home, were so short (typically just a few pages long) that I never really got into t
Asma Fedosia
The English writer Michèle Roberts wrote Daughters of the House. The novel is a narrative about provincial French Catholics in post-WWII Normandy and thirty years later. Cousins Thérèse and Léonie are the protagonists within the familial and village setting. The reader enters the intimacy of the girls' lives. We poach mackerel in the kitchen, experience sexual awakening, and celebrate the Virgin Mother in a nocturnal forest. Suspense is carried by random bits concerning a tragedy in the village' ...more
Uma Blacher
It could have been an interesting read given the setting but there just was no story. Plenty of bits of 'not so important' information thrown in, chapters starting with no beginning with the so called secret turning out to but a non secret in my opinion. Disappointed.
I found this book to be very much a case of style over substance. There are some wonderful descriptions of the French village setting and cuisine, but that isn't enough to hold the uncoherent plot together.
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A sinopse atraiu-me: uma família com um segredo, uma casa e um santuário envoltos em mistério e a promessa de uma revelação arrasadora..... Não foi isso que senti ao acabar este livro. Não correspondeu de todo às minhas expectativas. Desagradou-me também a forma da escrita e da divisão dos capítulos. Não senti entusiasmo no passar dos acontecimentos. Por outras palavras, achei a maior parte da história "insonsa", com um ou outro apontamento mais relevante.
Emily Harris
This is the story of two girls and the uncanny family home they grow up in, a Normandy house with an unsettling history. This is the kind of novel you get lost in: every detail of the house is filled in, every meal and shift of light, every emotion the protagonists experience. I loved this book.
May 18, 2008 Ysabel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy reading about female friendships
I picked this book because I've always liked stories about intense female friendship - probably because my own friendships have always been intense. It wasn't what I was expecting at all - for a start the main characters in the book were younger than I'd thought. I thought it was a really good, honest story with probably very true reactions. There was a fantasy element to it that didn't go at all in the way I thought it would, and was never really resolved.

It was a good, sweet book about friend
I did enjoy this book, it was quite unusual but in a good way. I liked reading about a story set in France and really enjoyed the way everything was described, it gave me a good impression of what it was really like to be there. The book wasn’t one of those can’t put down books for me, it wasn’t very fast paced, but I did want to find out what happened and work out what was going on, so I did read it fairly quickly (although I was on a plane whilst reading it). I quite liked the short chapters, ...more
Clara Challoner
Fascinating story set in France with interesting spiritual dimension and rich, absorbing language throughout.
Fiona Mansell
An absolute masterpiece. A beautiful and evocative portrait of what it is to be female.
Good book! This is a book about two girl cousins who grew up together in Normandy France, went separate ways and then reunite after 20 years. The chapters are each about an object in their childhood house and usually very short. This style of writing made it very quick to read but made the narrative a little jumpy for me. I liked the detailed descriptions, getting a glimpse of country life in France after World War II, and how we really get to know the relationship between the cousins. I thought ...more
A book I wanted to read again as soon as I'd finished, loved it.
Suzanne Jackson
Very interesting, beautifully descriptive, strange and compelling. An unusual read for me. I would recommend it!
1.5 stars. I live in France and this novel sounded promising in its premise but I found the writing unnecessarily and almost pretentiously vague. The 'secret' was an anticlimax but perhaps I lost the point amongst the haze the writing drew me into. Unfortunately, this offering from Michèle Roberts finds itself at the bottom of my ratings for 2015.
I received this as part of a postal book group

I thought I would enjoy this book more than I did. The writing style annoyed me and the inference that the writer knew more about what was going on than the reader. I still didn't really know what had happened or who had done what at the end.
Sonia Gomes
Jan 14, 2010 Sonia Gomes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beautiful book
My introduction to Michele Roberts!
It is a wonderful book and I do think it is a sort of autobiography, for Michele is part English and part French.
Two cousins meet a share golden moments in a beautiful country house, and stumble upon a terrible secret which everyone has been hiding.
Jessica Meikle
The unfolding relationship between Thérèse and Leonie kept me hooked to this novel. I loved the way that the history of their families became entwined in present day as the girls grew older and learned more. A fantastic read - highly recommended.
This books is so full of luscious detail that it is a privilege to read. This book should have won the Booker Prize in 1992 rather than only being a finalist. This is the best writing I have ever seen. Michele Roberts now is my favourite author.
Ini buku yang bikin gw pengen belajar bahasa Prancis dulu.
Gw suka banget background French Countryside yang jadi setting ceritanya.
Terus ada sedikit glimpses tentang skandal masa PD 2 di Prancis.
Gw dulu baca buku ini berkali-kali.
This book was so tantalizing. I just like to read it again and again.
English author whose style in this book is very different. I enjoyed it.
Evocative, haunting, and just a tiny bit unnerving.
Glyn Pope
Very good. A book that lovers of literature should read.
Alan Pottinger
Enjoyed it it's the second time I've read it
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
92 shortlisted for booker prize
Yvonne (Fiction Books)
Yvonne (Fiction Books) is currently reading it
Aug 21, 2015
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Michèle Brigitte Roberts is the author of fifteen novels, including Ignorance which was nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction and Daughters of the House which won the W.H. Smith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her memoir Paper Houses was BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in June 2007. She has also published poetry and short stories, most recently collected in Mud: Stori ...more
More about Michèle Roberts...
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