Riley Edgewood's Reviews > The House of Dead Maids

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle
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Aug 10, 2010

bookshelves: read-in-2010
Recommended for: anyone looking for a scare, lovers of Wuthering Heights
Read from August 09 to 10, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

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 beforehand.

Premise: So, basically, the book tells the story of Tabby, a girl brought to work as a maid at the mansion known as Seldom House. She's charged with taking care of a young boy (who grows up to become Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights) and discovers a world of ghosts and dark, dark superstitions.

My absolute favorite thing: This book is deliciously scary. Starting it late at night was a MISTAKE! I kid you not: I slept with the lights on last night. Dunkle's ghosts were described with such detail and so dark my skin crawled--there literally was one moment of description so vivid I had to put the book down and give in to a shiver.

Other thoughts: The cover is what drew me in to begin with. It's fantastically creepy--and it completely matches the scariness of the book.

It was interesting to read Heathcliff before he's officially Heathcliff, and I thought Dunkle did a really nice job of creating him to be believable with the character I know he grows into.

It's a short book, which made it a really quick read. (Though I'm pretty sure I still would have read it in one sitting even if it'd been twice as long.) And the illustrations (by Patrick Arrasmith) in the ARC--and I'm assuming in the hard cover--flow right with the tone of the book and give visual to the terror you feel while reading.

Even thought the protagonist is 11, I'm not sure I agree that this book is suitable for readers ages 12 and up. At least, had I read it at age 12 I'd have had nightmares for weeks. Heck, I still probably will! Maybe most 12-year-olds are tougher than I was at that age though, which is highly likely...

I absolutely recommend this book, especially if you're a fan of Wuthering Heights--and even if you aren't. Bravo to Clare Dunkle, it's been a while since I read anything quite this spooky!

♥ Sara
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