Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Children's Home” as Want to Read:
The Children's Home
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Children's Home

2.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,323 ratings  ·  594 reviews
For fans of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, a beguiling and disarming debut novel from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor,and the startling revelations their behavior evokes.

In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Scribner
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Children's Home, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Theediscerning Seeing at one point we're told the sun rises in the west, and later that it sets in the east, you can take it that it's not around these parts.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 2.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,323 ratings  ·  594 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Children's Home
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
"It seems I'm doomed always to miss the point."

and it seems i have missed the point of this book.

i don't know the circumstances around the writing of this book, but it feels less like the author had a clear idea of his story's direction in mind and wrote purposefully towards that conclusion and more like he wrote a bunch of admittedly arresting and creepy images and then thought - shit - ending, ending, ending…

part of the problem is its length. in e-ARC form, it's 162 pages. as a novella or a t
Elyse  Walters
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
In a large estate... secluded from town, lives Morgan Fletcher .... disfigured...
But why? From birth? An accident? Just how ugly is this man? These were questions
I was curious from the start.
We learn soon enough that Morgan avoids looking into mirrors...( just having them
around his 'huge mansion' is the best way to avoid looking at himself).
His housekeeper, Engel, lives at the house. ---
He also develops a close friendship with his town doctor who begins to be at the house daily,
at first spen
Diane S ☔
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Morgan, a lonely recluse lies alone on his family's vast estate. He is grossly disfigured, and has lives here for most of his life. Estranged from his sister, who he has not seen since she was nine and sent away to school. A Mrs. Engel has recently been sent, by his sister he supposes, to take care of him. How he was disfigured and what business his family makes their money in is a big part of the story. Soon children of all ages begin appearing, they all accept Morgan as he is, but who are thes ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
While I must compliment the author for creating something fresh and original, his hard work was lost on me. The atmosphere was tense, but this is only useful if its actually leading somewhere. Maybe my reading experience was thrown off course by the general impropriety of a creepy old man with a house of children. In any case, the author made me feel like I was waiting for something. And then it was the ending. And I was still standing at the bus stop eying the horizon for my ride. As it were.

Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was frustrating on soooo many levels. While it was reasonably well written, it didn’t make any sense and the ending was deeply unfulfilling.

A graph of my enjoyment of this book over time would be a bell curve. I wasn’t sure at first and only carried on reading because it was incredibly short, then the middle showed lots of promise and seemed to be building to an interesting ending, then it all completely fell apart in the last quarter when it became apparent that nothing would be pro
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suffer the little children...

Morgan was a beautiful young man but a terrible incident has left him so horribly disfigured he can no longer face the world. So he stays holed up in the house his grandfather built while his sister runs the family business that keeps them both wealthy. The only person Morgan lets see him is his housekeeper, Engel. But one day Engel finds a baby left outside the house. The two of them agree not to tell the authorities and so the child becomes part of the household. S
Erin Clemence
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
What a disappointment. I expected such great things from this book- the cover was intriguing, the story was described as a neo-Gothic, psychological horror, with comparisons to “The Chronicles of Narnia” (after reading this novel, I was insulted by this comparison) and “The Golden Compass”. Being such a small novel, from an author I hadn’t heard of before, I thought it would be a surprising little treat. Alas….
“The Children’s Home”, by Charles Lambert, tells the story of Morgan- a man who has be
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Morgan is a recluse, living a lonely and empty life in his sprawling family home. At first, all we know about him is that he is disfigured in some way - his face so shocking that he refuses to have mirrors in his house. Then Engel turns up; a housekeeper that Morgan assumes his sister, Rebecca, has arranged to send. Finally, children mysteriously begin to appear at the house. Without explanation, they arrive and are taken in and cared for. When one of the children become ill, Engel calls in Doct ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Wow. I was so happy to read other reviews that reassured me I hadn't lost my mind or my intelligence!
This book starts out interesting but quickly descends into confusion then goes absolutely nowhere (or everywhere).
A quick read, at about 3 hours, I don't know who the audience is meant to be but at 56 I enjoy the YA and some childrens books, sci fi, suspense, just about anything that isn't all sex or romance. I kept reading, hoping I would get it, and then it was over.
There is no sense of time o
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a gothic fairytale with very dark themes running throughout the story. It is an unsettling short read that feels very much like a series of surreal paintings with striking imagery.

Morgan Fletcher, isolated and disfigured, lives in a remote mansion. Engel, his housekeeper appears from nowhere. Children start appearing and come to live in the rambling house. They appear to have a curious knowledge of Morgan and his history. A doctor comes and eventually ends up residing. The children star
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok

So I feel like this book was trying to combine Every Heart a Doorway, Neil Gaiman, and Chuck Palahniuk and failed miserably. Attempts to be multiple scrissed genres and didn’t quite make it in any. Not fluid or coherent. I feel like it should have left me wowed and mystified, instead I just felt irritated and let down. Basically this had a ton of potential to be amazing and fell short.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
In the very last paragraph of this short novel, another character asks the protagonist, "Have you learned nothing from all this?"

I'm with the protagonist, here. I have learned nothing from all this.

I haven't read a great number of books that can be classified as horror, but I believe this would be one of them. I've always sort of assumed that my low-level interest in horror novels is that they may contain a certain level of violence to which I may be turned off. Reading The Children's Home has a
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Wow. I don't know what I just read, but it was weird.

I loved the writing and the characters but I think perhaps I missed the point.

I picked up on some of the themes and ideas but this book was probably one of the most bizarre stories I've read.

It was haunting, atmospheric and eerie, and those are things I love in books. The tone reminded me of "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson.

But in the end it was just too convoluted and confusing to speak to me.
I definitely n
Read all my reviews on

I've been postponing this review for weeks now because basically I still don't know what to say about it.

It was by far one of the weirdest books I've ever read. But not in the weird way that I usually quite like. No, I was wondering for almost the entire book if I wasn't somehow missing what was going on and what the purpose of the complete story was.

Morgan lives secluded from the world in his big house together with a bunch of childre
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really like this novel . I recommend this novel for fans of The Bone Clocks ...more
Laurie Notaro
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Liz Baessler
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at the library knowing nothing about it, and barely put it down again. I came to Goodreads briefly to mark down that I was reading it, and I was pretty disheartened by the low ratings. I powered through, however, and I'm so glad I did. The fact that I enjoyed it so much in spite of this outside influence speaks volumes.

I was never 100% sure what has happening in The Children's Home, but that didn't bother me. I had a ball trying to figure it out as I went. There are vague
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
This started out with such great atmosphere and then sadly ended in a bunch of disappointment for me.
I love character driven ambiguous stories, but this novel tried to fit "too many" genres and ideas into one short book.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"The Children's House" is a dark and intriguing tale that begins when abandoned children begin appearing at Morgan Fletcher's country estate, a man disfigured from an accident that's left him psychologically scarred, ashamed and withdrawn. Isolated from society because he sees himself as a monster, Morgan lives with his housekeeper Engel when abandoned children begin turning up on his kitchen step. Longing for the warmth of affection and acceptance he gravitates to these youngsters giving them t ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
Okay I think most of this book just went over my head with its completely cryptic writing and never actually getting to a point.
I mean I read the thing and have no idea at all what this book was actually about. Did it have a point? A direct story that was told? Was there an actual story line and plot that I just missed?
Still for some strange reason after I finished the thing it was very enjoyable to me.

I mean didn't get me wrong this story is not horrible. The guy and his big house where all o
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
This book was way out of my normal genres that I read. So I wasn't sure what to expect. This was an interesting read, it was a bit odd it didn't quite make a lot of sense in places, but then again it could just be me.

I understood that Morgan was born a beautiful child and was kept away from everyone, then he was tragically disfigured and became a total reclusive. I understand why he was disfigured, that I got, but I have to admit the grandfather's role and what all was up with these mysterious c
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
Hmmm. Okay, I'll give it a go: ooh, deliciously creepy to blah blah blah to what in the actual fuck to blah blah blah to aw that's sad.

Some piercing visual imagery but ultimately a let down with faint murmurings of ideas of forgiveness, loving others and oneself as roads to salvation. Plus an unwanted mental image of the Harry Potter mandrake.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Bizarre. Morgan Fletcher is hiding from the world due to his 'spoiled' face. The reader knows there was some sort of terrible accident that has Morgan living a reclusive life in his family estate allowing his sister, whom he is somewhat estranged from, in full charge of the family business without him. What exactly that family business is that allows him to live in such a lavish home is a mystery. As he lurks in shadows due to his disfigurement, children mysteriously appear as if from thin air s ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like a dream in the most literal sense of that, resplendent with strange beauty of narrative and dream logic of the plot. And for all that, to continue with the metaphor (or is it simile, since metaphor is an equation and simile is an approximation and I'm not quite sure which one applies here), much like a dream it seems somehow insubstantial, surreal and very odd. The basic story is that of a disfigured hermit whose reclusive lifestyle gets interrupted by children, dozens of th ...more
Keith Chawgo
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Lambert is an incredible writer with excellent character profiles that spark off the page. The plots are well devised and intriguing that keeps the writer entranced as they work the puzzle of why the children are showing up and what exactly is the reasoning behind this.

His detention to detail and descriptive passages are extremely rich with incredible detail. The dark fairy tale plot devise is well used and carries the plot forward to its conclusion.

This is unfortunately where the book lets its
Brandon Forsyth
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
A fascinating, creepy, eerie, ominous story that never really becomes more than the sum of its parts. The Dahl comparisons are apt (or at least they are to my terrified half-memories of THE WITCHES), but there's also a LORD OF THE FLIES-vibe permeating the whole novel that creeped me the hell out. There's a lot of playful experimentation going on here as well, and it both genuinely unsettled and surprised me at several points, but I'm not sure what to make of it all by the end of it. Originality ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I read this as part of my big horror binge but while it's gothic-adjacent it doesn't really fit into the horror category. There's some horror trappings, sure, but not much here is designed to scare or even creep you out. What it does feel is all slightly wrong, a little skewed and off-kilter. I enjoy books that unsettle you, but if you don't this may not be a good book for you.

All around you in this book there are echoes of tropes you've seen before. An isolated man in a big country house, a pre
Uhhhh wut? Dafuq is this? Dafuq was that?

I was excited by the premise, and the characters and the ambience.

And then....the author lost me. And the plot. And the end, apparently.

So, so bizarre. 2 stars, and a recommended remedial class in answering readers' unanswered questions.
A Storied Soul
5/5 Stars

In a large, tucked-away estate in the British counryside, reclusive and disfigured Morgan Fletcher resides, hidden away from the world, attended only by his faithful housekeeper Engel and the town's doctor, Dr. Crane. One day, children begin to mysteriously appear on his estate, from where or why Fletcher doesn't know, and this mystery invades and takes over his once calm and quiet life. The answer to the mystery and shadow surrounding the children and their presence slowly unfolds in a
Jackie Law
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Children’s Home, by Charles Lambert, is an allegorical tale written by an accomplished weaver of words. The prose is sparse yet perceptive. The surreal aspects leave much of the detail open for reader interpretation but the arc is clear, and disturbing. If we open our eyes to that which is happening all around we risk comprehending the wickedness of the world and may be forever changed.

Morgan Fletcher lives the life of a recluse in his large and rambling home set within its own extensive gro
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Stranded
  • House of Small Shadows
  • Twelve Nights at Rotter House
  • Treasure (Hush collection)
  • Prayers for the Dead (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus #9)
  • Our Lady Of The Forest
  • Generation Loss (Cass Neary, #1)
  • Fear of Life
  • The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales
  • The Family Plot
  • Pan's Garden
  • Harrow Lake
  • Wonderland
  • Pokko and the Drum
  • Horrorstör
  • The Best Friend (Broden Legal, #3)
  • Gwendy's Magic Feather (The Button Box, #2)
  • Frankenstein
See similar books…
Charles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life. His most recent novel is Prodigal. His previous novel, The Children's Home, was described by Kirkus Reviews as 'a one-of-a-kind literary horror story', while Two Dark Tales, published in October 2017, continues to disturb. Earlier books include three novels, a collection of prize-winning short stories ...more

Related Articles

The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is...
66 likes · 37 comments
“Sometimes you have to give up the easy thing and do the right one,” 5 likes
“Rooms are never alone," said the Doctor with a laugh. "Only the people who live them can be alone.” 3 likes
More quotes…