Rachel Brand's Reviews > House of Orphans

House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore
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Jan 19, 09

bookshelves: historical, 2007, library
Read in December, 2007

** spoiler alert ** I will admit it; I have a rather unhealthy obsession with Finland. So when I spotted this book I was immediately interested.

I don't remember a lot about this book, depsite having read it little over a year ago. I remember that it was a fairly decent book, and quite interesting if you like light historical reads. But some parts of this book were light (where the main character is working for the doctor in his big house) whereas others are quite heavy (all of the political stuff in Helsinki). The ending seemed extremely rushed and it didn't really conclude anything. All of a sudden, the doctor went to visit the main character in Helsinki, and it seemed to me that the author thought "Oh! I forgot all about his character! Let's shove him in somewhere and make it look like it was part of the plot." One character was banished back to the Finnish countryside, another ended up wandering around in some woods for no explained reason (was he drunk? Insane?) and another was in jail, or just about to be released.

I don't know whether I would recommend this book or not. I remember enjoying it at the time, but it's not the kind of book which you can close and think "Well, that was time well spent" or "I feel satisfied because of that ending." I closed it and then reopened it to check that I hadn't skipped any pages; I was sure that Dunmore wouldn't end a book on a scene with a minor character rambling through the woods, possibly insane!

On second thoughts, I'm ducking the rating to three stars rather than four.

On another note, Helen Dunmore wrote a kids book called 'Adamina's Blanket' which was a favourite of mine as a child!
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