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The Little House

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,036 Ratings  ·  269 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 quite
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published October 1996)
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Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Mary BG
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-a-copy, 2013
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
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favourites
This has such a fantastic twist at the end that you don't see coming. One of my favourite books I have ever read.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Deborah Pawley
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've never read any of Philippa Gregory's books, despite having having about 7 on my shelves; so I thought it was time to give her a go! I thought she only wrote historical books about the dark and racy secrets of the Plantagient and Tudor aristocracy; but it seems not! A quick and easy read, The Little House is book about impenetrable familial ties and the twisted nature of controlling relationships. The setting, characterisation and plot were exquisite; so much so I pretty much read the book i ...more
Howard Cruz
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The entire time I read this novel, the thought that this is a what would exist if the medias "Everybody Loves Raymond" gave birth to "Rosemary's Baby" on an English countryside. The book takes place in England but I've seen so many stereotypical English slang, I was about to increase my use of the word "charming". The characters are well rounded each with unique flaws but their charming qualities. The book is tragic in the sense things seem to go from bad to worse for this poor woman that it's n ...more
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Chrstina Scholtz
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
A great thriller.

Ruth marries into the Clearly family and soon finds herself pregnant and living with he in-laws, none of which was her idea. Her seemingly perfect mother-in-law soon takes over her life andher baby.

Very surprising ending, I could not put it down. Great read.
Pat Gwyn
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you like a fast paced psychological thriller this book is for you! Philippa Gregory is best know for her English Historical titles such as The Red Queen, The White Queen and so forth. The Little House is full of deception, manipulation and devious set ups. The ending was very unexpected!
Jan 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
THis book drove me nuts!! The female character was so weak and couldn't see what was happening. Twist at end was not believable.
Sophia Loves to read
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book before , only could remember parts so I reread the book .
I enjoyed the book more the second time round . Great book .
Lesley Swanson
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definite not a thriller but as usual Philippa writing draws you into the characters Brings memories of people that I knew that where like her mother in law. Yikes
Apr 05, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough book to review. I read almost the entire book in one sitting and felt compelled to keep reading it, even though it was like watching a car accident in slow motion. The characters were awful and made me want to tear my hair out; watching them conspire against the protagonist was horrifying. The setting was the 1990s but felt really outdated, like a faux 1950s. It was just an odd book. However, it was an addictive read and the only reason I gave it such a low rating was the weird a ...more
Janette Jones
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Catherine Oughtibridge
I often flick through a book to get a feel for it from a point that isn't the first chapter. Unfortunatly with this book the next thing I knew I'd read too thirds of the book, sat in an uncomfortable position on the bedroom floor leant against the bookshelf, and I was too scared to go back and read the rest. I think this is the best written of the Philippa Gregory books I've read, but also the most uncomfortable.

Read it, but afterwards give yourself time to come to terms with it.
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book yonks ago, and I didn't have GoodReads back then, and I couldn't remember what the book was called.
But now I've finally found it, and I remember that I absolutely loved this book.
I can't specifically remember the names of all the characters, but I felt so bad for Ruth. She went through Hell and back, with her child and -- Elizabeth, was it? And Ruth's husband was an ass.
Overall I loved this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good thrilling ride.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favourite thriller

I first read this book 20 years ago and it really resonated with me at the time. It is a dark, psychological thriller, with a very likeable main character and her extremely manipulative, overbearing in-laws. It deals with mental health, addiction, grief and ultimately murder. This book is unputdownable! Still a favourite book after all these years, wonderfully written.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wicked. This was very, very wicked.
Justice rides a slow horse, but it always comes to town.
LOVED the ending!! LOVED! LOVED!! LOVED!!!
Erin Berger
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2017
This was not very enjoyable. I wanted to strangle every character through the pages. I'm glad it was a quick read, otherwise I would have abandoned it.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't think too much of this's not often I say this, but the TV adaptation was better!

The characters were all fairly unlikeable and their speech was so unrealistic, all "I say Ruth, what have you done?" and "oh I am sorry, darling" and "Steady the buffs". I understand the Clearys are meant to be a well-off country family, but it's not 1910.

I also came away not knowing who was really in the wrong. I guess that's the point.
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This is story about a young married couple. Who's in law intervene in there lives decisions. You will see how they manipulate this marriage. It will keep you engaged for hours. This is a fast read!!!
Chelsea Todd
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book I could not put down. At first I was on Elizabeth side then after about half way I found myself despite to see if Ruth would be OK. This is a real book about postnatal depression and how easy it is for someone to influence someone else's life.
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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...

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