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The Children's Home

2.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,435 ratings  ·  614 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
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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.…moreSeeing 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.(less)
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Average rating 2.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,435 ratings  ·  614 reviews

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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
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
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
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
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.
Toria (Please call me Leo)
Nope this wasn't my cup of tea. Like always the premise drove me in but the novel it self didn't deliver. Feel it was to short to make a real inpakt, maybe it could have in better. ...more
Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive)
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
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
Apr 06, 2022 rated it did not like it
What did I just read ? I want my 6 hours back. I have no idea what this book was all about. 😠😠
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
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
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
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.
Tracy Fitzpatrick
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
I missed the point of this book, I just didn’t get it. A disfigured man, a mansion, and mysterious children sounded like it was going to be a very interesting story. I found this very disturbing at times and even found the children not so like-able. Just not my cup of tea.
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
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
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.
Odd and fairytale-like, The Children's Home is a strange dream of a story. So many things about it are non-specific: the country and time period it's set in always remain blurry; there is little context to anything; the characters accept peculiar and fantastical events with barely a flinch. In the most simple terms it's about a man called Morgan, who lives a cloistered life in his vast, walled manor; having been disfigured in an accident, the circumstances of which are not immediately made clear ...more
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
Chantel Coughlin
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't really quite know what I think about this book. It took me longer than I would have liked to really get into, and never actually got less vague. there were certainly redeeming qualities, but not so much so that it makes me feel satisfied about my unanswered questions. as a bookseller, I don't know exactly how I would go about recommending this book to a customer. it would probably sound something like... "So this man who was disfigured in an accident is living a secluded life, and then t ...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
Donna TalentedReads
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
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Charles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life. His most recent novel, The Bone Flower, is a Gothic love story with a sinister edge, set in Victorian London. His previous novel, Prodigal, shortlisted for the Polari Prize in 2019, was described by the Gay & Lesbian Review as "Powerful… an artful hybrid of parable (as the title signifies), a Freudian ...more

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