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The House of Dreams

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  104 reviews

An international bestseller, Kate Lord Brown's debut novel The Perfume Garden has sold especially well in Canada, where it was selected as Read of the Month for June 2015 and made it to the Globe & Mail bestseller list. The House of Dreams combines Brown's lovely, lyrical writing and signature interwoven past/present narrative style with an even more commercial time pe

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published September 15th 2014)
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3.45  · 
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Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3 1/2 stars. The House of Dreams deals with an interesting part of WWII history that I didn't know about, and for that reason alone it was worth reading. This novel has a couple of timelines. The first one takes place in 2000, and focuses on an interview between young journalist Sophie and an elderly artist named Gabriel Lambert who immigrated to the US from France during WWII. The second timeline focuses on Gabriel's life in Marseille in 1940-41. As a backdrop to Gabriel's story, the author use ...more
Marilyn C.
I received an ARC of this book from Goodreads and Thomas Dunne Books. Thank you to both Goodreads and Thomas Dunne Books.

The House of Dreams moves between two time periods, the 1940's Nazi occupied France and the year 2000 in Long Island. The 1940's France story is centered on The American Relief Center run by Varian Fry, also known in present day as "America's Schindler." It is their mission to help well known artists and intellectuals escape to the United States. The center is set up in a bea
3.5 stars

The historical side to this story is set in 1941 Marseilles, France and details some of the courageous rescue efforts by Varian Fry and the ARC of artists, intellectuals, etc. His "set" is included as a good cast of the characters here. They were colorful, and I had fun googling some of the real photos described of them in here. I had never heard of Varian or of the good things he accomplished. I enjoyed the mystery side of the story of artist Gabriel Lambert and his past and also the e
I won't go into a lot of detail here now because I read this book in order to write a review which will be online at some later date, I think, if that's how it works, anyway. But just for brief posterity, I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I think the cover is lovely (but it's a stock photo and I've seen it used in a different cover recently, so that makes me a bit sad), and I was drawn to the story because it involves artists in 1940 and the rescue workers who helped them. There are r ...more
Laura Rash
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was astounding!! The alternation of time periods kept it fresh, it was an intriguing story with quick wit & characters that came to life! I didn't want it to end!

I won this copy from Goodreads!
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advanced uncorrected proof of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book takes place in Nazi occupied France in 1940 and New York in 2000. In 1940 France, Gabriel Lambert is an artist trying to escape the secrets of his past. Varian Fry is an American journalist running an organization that helps artists who have spoken out about their opposition to the Nazis to get out of France. In 2000 New York, Sophie Cass is a young journalist who wants to get the truth from 95 year old Ga
J.S. Dunn
Caveat emptor, it has that " international bestseller " publisher's hype plastered all over the promo copy on the web ( and incl. above) and on its back cover.

Too much fluff and romance, like useless frosting on the substance of a fact-based story set in Vichy France. Choppy scenes and short chapters; innumerable point of view shifts for no discernible reason. The scenes in the present (21st century) are almost totally unnecessary except to add another 'romance' to the brew. The tacky romance v
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book. Based on real life events and people, with a fictional story woven in, I was immediately intrigued as I started the book. The story takes place in 1940, Marseille France. It follows the journey of Varian Fry and the American Relief Center, an organization trying to get artists safely out of France, during the Nazi occupation. Told in the voice of a few characters, I sometimes felt like I should be taking notes to keep the story straight. Overall I did enjoy the ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction is not my favorite genre but this was a glimpse into the past as researched from the present about the rescue efforts of Varian Frey and crew to assist artists and writers escape Nazi persecution during WWII. Journalist Sophie Cass decides there is a story about her family member that she wants to find out the truth about and the story unfolds from there. Interesting read with a glimpse into the past. I would like to thank the Publisher and Net Galley for the chance to read th ...more
Adrienne Ashley
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on an interesting subject - I really enjoyed the historical aspect; however I found it hard to follow at times. I enjoyed how it all came together in the end. It was a good read but not a book I loved.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe 3.5 stars but closer to four. This seems to be following a popular trend of late about little known heroes of WWII. This book one centres around Varian Fry and the American Relief Fund and its efforts to get intellectuals and artists out he Vichy France, while saving hundreds of 'ordinary' as well. Fry and many of the characters were real and did incredible work but the story is fiction. The history was fascinating, it's billed as a real-life Casablanca. The story is a bit slow in the reve ...more
Cindy Burnett
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
4.5 stars

The House of Dreams is a must read. Kate Lord Brown tells the fascinating, little known story of Varian Fry and his team at the American Relief Center (ARC) in Marseille, France during World War 2. This remarkable group heroically managed to assist countless artists, writers and other intellectuals escape Nazi Germany during the war. Brown creates a fictional reclusive artist, Gabriel Lambert, who in 2000 is nearing the end of his life and Sophie Cass who is a writer for the New York Ti
May 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am finding it difficult to reconcile my thoughts on this book. The 1940's story revolves around the ARC (The American Relief Centre) run by Varian Fry (known as an "America's Schindler.") His objective was to help well known artists escape from the ravages of war torn Europe. The 2000 story, revolves around Gabriel Lambert, who escaped France and has kept many secrets about his past hidden, but a journalist is trying to uncover the truth about his past.

Full review at:
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This was a very interesting and entertaining read. It flip-flops between current day and Marseille, France during World War II with a focus on the historical work of the American Relief Center (ARC) to aide artists in escaping the Nazi regime. It is an aspect of WWII relief work that I was not familiar with prior to reading this book and the current day and historical stories both had many twists and turns. I definitely recommend this book and I thank NetGalley for providing me with an early re ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought I would really like this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. I didn't find the characters interesting or sympathetic and I gave up after 105 pages. I won this book on Goodreads and really don't like posting a negative review, but I want to be honest.
Laura Harrison
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction isn't usually my thing but Kate Lord Brown is a terrific writer. Interesting, smart read. As long as you don't have a problem moving between very different time periods- you will love it!
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn’t finish. Couldn’t get past the beginning. The point of view changing and the slow story that seemed to b going nowhere.
Rachael Burrows
Wow! What can I say about this book? It was amazing! It started off a little slow, but I promise, if you stick with it, you are in for a wonderful treat. I am a WWII history nerd. This story is based of real events and people during WWII..this is a story I have never heard about until now. You can guarantee I will be reading Varian Fry's book!

I loved how The House of Dreams went back and forth from present day (2000) to pre-WWII/WWII. I loved the characters...Gabriel pulled at my heart.

I am a
J. Ewbank
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book by Kate Lord Brown is a very interesting book. Flip-flopping in time from WWII in Marseilles to America, the book concerns an artist who was in Marseilles but today is an old painter in America. Varian Fry, an American is tasked with getting artists out of the dangers and to America. This story is basically about him and one of those he got out. A journalist is on the story because she believes there is more to the artists story than is presently known, and she is right, but because of ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When fiction interweaves with non-fiction, the result is an absorbing read. Based on the life of Varian Fry and his efforts with the American Relief Center in Marseilles in the early 1940's, the author tells the story of artists helped to escape the Gestapo. Gabriel Lambert is the fictional protagonist, remembering his past while living out his old age in Montauk in 2000. I really liked the historical parts of the book but Gabriel was a hard character to warm up to. Varian, Mary Jayne and the ot ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway and it was absolutely breathtaking. You can't help but enjoy Varian, Mary Jayne, Mariam, and other members of the ARC as they work for not only their freedom but that of many others. And what a pleasant surprise when reading the author's notes to find out how much of this story rings true! So many unexpected twists and a beautiful ending for all.
nikkia neil
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thanks St. Martin's Press and netgalley for this ARC.

Surprising ending that will leave you laughing and make the whole book as surreal as the awesome bunch of artists in this unique novel. So much of this book seems like fiction but it's based on true events and that makes it even more awesome.
Chantale Canadian Book Addict
I wasn't expecting to really like this book but I am happy to say that I did.

It isn't one I just couldn't put down but it was very nicely written that I am glad I took my time to read this book .

I do recommend this book.
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book knocked my socks off. A beautiful love story and I also learned so much-I had no idea who Varian Fry was---how is that possible? So-a love story, a little mystery, WWII, artists-who could ask for more?
Beth Olson shultz
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful novel based on the true life story of Varian Fry who rescued so many from death during WWII. I loved Gabriel. A book to read slowly. I received this book from Goodreads giveaway.
I had high hopes for this book, but all I can give it is 3 stars.
Sue Klinck
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the storyline and characters. It transported me back to 1940 France and the war efforts. I was caught up til the last page.
This book was nothing like I expected it to be. I thought it would be a sweet 1940-ish love story but nope. I was pleasantly surprised.

The story is about Varian Fry and all he did for the effort of setting people out of a France during WW2. You get to meet a band of his colleagues and clients as well. Not all of them but a few. The trials they must go through in order to obtain visas, passports, identification papers. Whether Jew or not. It is amazing to me how quickly a day can change in this
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The House of Dreams was such an interesting read for me. I loved all the different perspectives of the characters and I loved seeing this interesting take on what it was like during the war in the 1940s. I have a love for the artist and the arts so, to see these displayed in this novel was quite wonderful.
This novel always kept me on my toes and I always wanted to know what happened next. The story was way different than I thought it was going to be. It took so many twist and turns but in a goo
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 2000, Sophie, an art journalist, requests an interview with a famous painter about his life in France during early World War II. The painter, Gabriel, is in his nineties and reticent to relive those times. As the story bounces back and forth between 2000 and 1940, his story is told. The novel is based on fact. In 1940, Varian Fry, an American, along with a number of other Americans and Europeans formed the ARC (American Relief Centre) in France. Their focus was to help well-known artists esca ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 2 2 Jan 24, 2016 01:22AM  

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Kate grew up in the wild and beautiful Devon countryside. After studying philosophy at Durham University and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Kate gained a MA in Creative Writing. In 2016 THE HOUSE OF DREAMS will be published in the US, and THE TASTE OF SUMMER in the UK.
“There are few things emptier than the space where a Christmas tree used to be.” 2 likes
“That’s what great art does—that’s why these men and women counted. It shows us what makes life worth living.” 1 likes
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