The Little House. Philippa Gregory
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The Little House. Philippa Gregory

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,131 ratings  ·  172 reviews
A contemporary psychological thriller in the style of Ruth Rendell, from one of today's most versatile and compelling storytellers. It was easy for Elizabeth. She married the man she loved, bore him two children and made a home for him which was the envy of their friends. It was harder for Ruth. She married Elizabeth's son and then found that, somehow, she could never quit...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Harper (first published October 1st 1996)
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Elizabeth
Though the jacket says that this book is "tragicomic," implying that there are funny parts, it is actually pretty devastating to read. Ruth, the main character, deals with so much sadness, from tragedies in her past to the manipulating mental abuse she suffers at the hands of her husband and in-laws. Her husband is a selfish, stupid, arrogant, spoiled sorry excuse for a human, and her in-laws are only slightly better. Though the ending is kind of funny and triumphant in a creepy way, I think tha...more
Lyn Battersby
The blurb on this book called it a 'complex thriller' and 'spine tingling'.

For 99% of the book I could not get my head around this terms. I would have relabelled it 'psychological drama' and 'infuriating' for Ruth's treatment at the hands of her husband and his parents first annoyed me, then angered me, then finally shocked me.

Strongly reminiscent of "The Yellow Wallpaper" (indeed the terms 'yellow' and 'wallpaper' feature several times in the novel) The Little House is a novel dealing with th...more
Carol
Really enjoyed this book.

I felt so badly for Ruth, she struggles so badly with post natal depression, and 'luckily' for her, her in-laws can afford to get her the best 'help'.

Her husband (Patrick) is a complete dick, a spoiled brat still tied to mother's apron strings. Whatever mother wants, must be right, because that is the way it is always done (and of course mother makes everything so much easier for him).

The father-in-law (Frederick) is a well written character with strong moral fibre, an...more
Joanna
I love Philippa Gregory's historical novels and particularly enjoy psychological thrillers so when someone lent me this I was looking forward to it. Now I feel that I have wasted precious moments that I could have spent on a good book. I gave up half way through and only skim read to the end, but even so! I think the problem was that I have young children and have experienced post-natal depression and i did not feel that the reaction of the professionals here was realistic. It felt about 20 year...more
Janet
I picked this out at the library, looking for something to read until the books I ordered came in, and it sounded vaguely interesting. When I started it, I thought it was going to be one of those precious little stories where a new wife has trouble fitting in with her husband's family, but as I read on, I realized it was something more, that it was turning sinister. The ending was a surprise and better than I expected, but if I'd written this story, I'd have handled the ending better, stretched...more
Faith
THis book drove me nuts!! The female character was so weak and couldn't see what was happening. Twist at end was not believable.
Jemma
A good clear four stars for this one. It was gripping and intriguing, and well written, but not the best thing I have ever read. I read it in two and a half days, and that's saying something when I work full time.

'The Little House' follows Ruth, a young journalist who lives with her husband Patrick in a flat bought by his wealthy parents. They are happy until Ruth is made redundant. Patrick doesn't think it is a problem - on the contrary, he tells her - his parents were thinking of selling the f...more
Meo
Utterly dreadful.
Allegedly a "psychological thriller," it seemed to lack both psychology and thrills. A vulnerable woman allows herself to be manipulated by both her husband and his parents (mainly her mother-in-law), and moved into a house nearby whilst she is pregnant. After a traumatic birth, she becomes depressed and the in-laws assume responsibility for childcare. They are unwilling to relinquish control, and manipulate her husband into siding with them against his wife.
The whole story is...more
Beth
As I was reading this people kept asking me, do you like it? What's it about? And frankly I didn't know if I liked it. At first I thought, I don't think I'm interested in this. A story about a young couple who get pregnant and his over-controling family. She is depressed at the pregancy and after giving birth.

Most of the time I was thinking "This better not end like the Yellow Wall-Paper story! Where a young mother in the early 1900's goes crazy with the isolation and relaxation forced upon her...more
Teresa
I’m a big fan of Philippa Gregory’s Tudor historical fiction series and despite having had a couple of her more contemporary novels ensconced on my shelves for several years, it took a recent BBC tv adaptation of The Little House to spur me onto making this leap into the unknown.

Ruth and Patrick Cleary have been married for four years and enjoy a cosy, child-free existence at their Bristol flat. Every Sunday they religiously visit Patrick’s parents at their idyllic rural home outside Bath, a fam...more
Janette Jones
This one throws up the whole tv-film/book debate. I watched the TV drama a few months ago and quite enjoyed it, so jumped at the chance of reading this. I have to say that at first I preferred the TV drama as the suspense was better captured visually and the potrayal of the Mother In Law was interpreted as being more outwardly evil than the book. However, the slow build up to a gripping climax in the book, made the twist a litte more substantial and the fact that the ending was different to the...more
Ria
Wow, where to start with this one?
An amazing psychological thriller with so many twists and turns its hard to keep up.
Ruth is married to Patrick a success at basically everything, good job, good home, good wife, everything in his life is perfect until that is, for Ruth things take a turn for the worse, after being made redundant at the local radio station where she works, finding out the "in laws" want to sell the couples' flat they gave them on their marriage AND finding out she is also pregnan...more
Sheila
This book reminds me of a very long (9 hour audio) short story. Would have made an average short story and certainly doesn't merit the length of a novel. Additionally, it is described as a psychological thriller ..... REALLY? It doesn't even rise to the level of psychological drama. Very disappointing .... maybe I should stick to the author's historical fiction.
Carol
Not sure what I was expecting. This is not the style I usually associated with Gregory. I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed by the way her feelings were not considered by her husband and his family at the beginning, her post natal depression and how it was handled or the end. My stomach turned throughout in frustration in some ways I was proud of her at the end but then I was shocked at myself. It does seem out of date, I might expect this to happen 70's or earlier but I would think by the 90s ev...more
Janice Sadler
I enjoyed this book so much. So different from most of Philippa Gregory's other books and, in my opinion, all the better for it. From the very first page I was caught up in the life of Ruth Cleary and found myself willing her to find the strength to sort out her husband and in-laws. She couldn't, of course which is where the book's storyline draws its strength from.

Throughout the novel, I found myself wondering how this book could possibly end - always the sign of a strong story line! If I have...more
Julia
After learning she's pregnant, Ruth Cleary reluctantly agrees to abandon her career in the city in order to move with her husband Patrick to a cottage adjacent to his parents' property in the country. When her son Thomas is born, Ruth feels a disconnect between herself and the infant, and finds the responsibilities of caring for a sleepless baby and running her household alone overwhelming. Her perfect in-laws interpret her struggles as an embarrassing indication of mental instability, and Ruth...more
Dooba Writes
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Kathleen Kelly
Synopsis from Barnes and Noble

Ruth and her husband, Patrick, live in Bristol, where she works as a correspondent for a mediocre radio station and he is an up-and-coming TV news reporter. Their marriage is not ideal, but the warmth offered by Patrick and his parents is a welcome change for Ruth, who was orphaned at the age of seven. Every Sunday Ruth and Patrick visit his parents at their eighteenth-century manor farmhouse - afternoons loved by Patrick and tolerated by Ruth. Then "the little hou...more
Kat
Ruth thinks her life is fairly straight-forward. She loves her job, she loves her husband and she loves her apartment in the city. Everything is fine and dandy until a routine visit to the country to visit her in-laws threatens to turn her world upside-down. Her husband Patrick, still mollycoddled by his parents, Elizabeth and Frederick, finds himself suggesting to her that they move to the country, next door to his parents, where a cottage has just gone up for sale.

Despite Ruth's initial disli...more
Kelsey
Ruth and her husband Patrick’s life change drastically after Ruth loses her job and Patrick is offered an offer he can’t refuse. One of the changes is that Patrick’s overbearing parents have bought them the little house at the end of their road. Patrick thinks it would be great to live so close to his parents and since they have an (unplanned) baby on the way, Patrick finds it to be an ideal situation. Ruth does not feel that way. Ruth and Patrick’s mother Elizabeth do not get along. In Elizabet...more
Bookguide
Reminiscent of 'Gaslight', this is a psychological drama in which Ruth's husband and parents-in-law conspire to convince the world that she is mentally unstable and incapable of caring for her baby. In fact, she is beset by the doubts and incapacitating exhaustion suffered by many mothers, declining into post-natal depression, and not helped by an unsupportive husband, an overbearing and efficient mother-in-law who takes over from the start, and a father-in-law who is willing to accept that Ruth...more
Jo
I've been disappointed by most of her non-historical fiction, but was interested in the premise of this. It was a fairly average 3 star read all along, but I got bored with all the detail about the drudgery of looking after a baby - maybe that was the point - but really didn't like the ending. I'm not sure if one was supposed to sympathise with Ruth the heroine, but from the beginning I found her weak, cowardly, stupid, selfish and ineffectual - she could have stopped everything that happened to...more
Tally
Philippa Gregory is a brilliant author when it comes to historical novels. With the exception of one, which I'm still quite traumatized by, I loved them all. Her attempt at contemporary fiction is not a very successful one, though. The Little House made me cringe from very early on, from its feeble-turned-psychotic heroine to its array of unlikable characters (the domineering Frederick and Elizabeth and mostly their idiotic son Patrick). The only truly agreeable character is Ruth's old friend, t...more
Liz
Where to start? First off this is a cross between Mother Love, a drama screened in the 1990s, and The Life and Loves of a She-devil. Both were anti-woman in their ways: the first about a controlling mother who would not give up her son to a wife; the other about a woman so aggrieved at being swapped for a younger woman that she re-created herself as that woman to take revenge on her husband.

The characters in the Little House were utterly repugnant, stereotyped; the story was non-existent, and...more
Jayme Swallow
Originally posted at: http://myabsolutelyridiculouslife.blo...

As you know, I absolutely LOVE Philippa Gregory. She could write just about anything at this point, I'm so hooked. I've been trying to get my hands on this book for some time, but it was rather hard to find for a reasonable price. So I finally got my hands on this book, and devoured it in three days.

The Little House is about a woman, Ruth, who, having no family of her own, is completely enveloped by her husband and his parents. They...more
Mark
This is by far the best book I have read in a long time and quite probably one of the best books I have ever read. Initially I was unsure of whether it was my kind of book or not, but with view of the current TV dramatisation of this novel my partner highly recomended that I read the book before watching the TV show - and I was hooked from the first line. There are times where you can see where the villain of the story (Elizabeth - the main character Ruth's mother-in-law) is coming from because...more
An
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Chrissie H
Jan 24, 2012 Chrissie H rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Women really, particularly those with kids
Recommended to Chrissie by: Book Club
A bit of a slow start but worth perservering with. The story is one that any new mum can relate to in many senses - the uncertainty, the sleep deprivation, the feeling of being judged. Thankfully my Mother in law was NOTHING like the MIL in this book - what a horror that woman was!! I felt a great deal of sympathy for the main character Ruth, and have to say I was rooting for her right the way through the book. Definitly enjoyed reading it and would gladly recommend to others as one to read - sa...more
Anu Susan
I liked the book. I am not sure if this is partly because most of the writing that I have been lately reading has been hugely disappointing. I enjoyed the plot and willed for Ruth to find her bearings sooner. I like that she finally was the queen of the house where she was persecuted. The story was gripping and the characters quite believable.
Looking forward to more of this genre from the author!
Chrissi
I thought this book was brilliant. I have read more modern stories by Philippa and haven't been that impressed but this changed that. It was compelling and interesting, yet sad at the same time.



The story portrays a woman (Ruth) suffering from postpartum depression and a very horrific manipulating family. The mother Elizabeth was truly awful. The Mother In Law from Hell I can imagine! Elizabeth seemed quite disturbed and obsessed with her youngest son and her grandson. She was incredibly manipula...more
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Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acc...more
More about Philippa Gregory...
The Other Boleyn Girl (The Tudor Court, #2) The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court, #1) The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1) The Queen's Fool (The Tudor Court, #4) The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)

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