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House of Glass

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  743 ratings  ·  163 reviews

June 1914 and a young woman - Clara Waterfield - is summoned to a large stone house in Gloucestershire. Her task: to fill a greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens, to create a private paradise for the owner of Shadowbrook. Yet, on arrival, Clara hears rumours: something is wrong with this quiet, wisteria-covered house. Its gardens are filled with foxgloves, hydrang

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Virago
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  743 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’This was the time of day my mother had warned me against, years before. The half-light, she explained, can change how things appear so that distances may seem less. Our eyes might detect movement when in fact there is none; a shadow might become a living shape. In short, I was more likely to fall at twilight. Remember this, Clara. But she’d loved it, too. It was an hour of potency. In India, this had been the time of the leopard’s waking, in which jasmine smelled at its strongest.’’

Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfect read for a winter's night. An intriguing, and genuinely eerie slice of gothic fiction which was entertaining and atmospheric.

I love gothic style stories and House of Glass by Susan Fletcher has all the elements of what I was looking for. A Manor House set on the edge of an English Country Village, it's reclusive owner who only visits occasionally and remains in his rooms for the during of his visit. A Village of wary residents who remain tight lipped when asked about the House's histor
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
Reminded me of The Silent Companions and Little Stranger from time to time. Quite gothic and dark.

We follow the story of Clara, a young woman almost made of glass, with a medical condition that curses her with easily broken bones. A childhood of suffering due to broken bones, she grows up to be a crippled young woman with a mind beyond her tiny body. After the loss of her mother she starts working for Kew Gardens. Until one day she's appointed to set up a glass house in a house in Gloucester.

A house is meant to be a place of safety and intimacy. The haunted house is a powerful symbol of horror precisely because it shows us a haven of domesticity upturned by an intruder, and a supernatural one at that. It is hardly surprising that from being just one of many Gothic tropes, the haunted house eventually became the basis of a rich supernatural sub-genre.

House of Glass is a historical novel within this tradition. It is set just before the outbreak of the First World War and features a s
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
House of Glass is award-winning, historical fiction writer Susan Fletcher's first foray into the Gothic novel scene and creates a wonderful atmosphere and feelings of claustrophobia. Set in the run-up to the First World War, we meet Clara Waterfield, our narrator for the journey. Although Clara isn't really that likeable you can relate to most of her behaviour and thoughts. I found that in some parts of the story the revelations were very drawn out and as a result, everything became quite disjoi ...more
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
House of Glass is a beautifully gothic book set within a decaying English manor house and its sprawling gardens. It is about ghosts, but also about memories and rumours, and how sometimes false beliefs can reshape the reality of women.

Although more slowly paced in parts, Fletcher writes beautifully and the book prompted many thoughts. Truly an enjoyable read as the season turns to autumn, but would suit anytime of the year.

(Also, note that the heroine is disabled and uses a cane.)

> 4.2 stars
Callum McLaughlin
House of Glass is at once an enthralling gothic mystery, and a poignant piece of historical fiction that examines the devastating ways in which women’s lives were ruled by scandal, rumour, and reputation. In this respect, and many others, it is a book of opposites; of truth versus lies, logic versus faith, and reality versus the supernatural.

The story follows Clara, a young woman who spent her childhood confined to the safety of home. Suffering from a rare brittle bone condition, she is at const
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great story that I have never heard or read quite like a story that the author wrote.
Amazing book that starts in the 90' century.
I have always craving to read a story that is fresh and an original book.
I give the book 4.5 stars and thankfully I started reading it in 2019 with a perfect start.
Something that I have had never read and the book did not disappoint me at all.
Starting from the sample that I read which satisfied me from the start to the instagram when I saw it in others feed and I fel
Renee Godding
Jun 27, 2019 marked it as to-read

With all due respect to this book, I’m putting it back onto my TBR shelf for now.
House of Glass is very literary and atmospheric and could potentially be something I really end up loving. As for now however, I think I have to much going on in my mind to appreciate the beautiful writing. 100% me and not the book, but I’m going to save this until another time, preferable in autumn.
Although this is set during the summer (in the days leading up to the outbreak of World War I), this is one of those books that is definitely well suited to winter reading by lamplight. A large, decaying mansion, rumoured to be haunted, in which picked flowers die within hours. Clara Waterfield is a marvellous heroine - fragile due to her brittle bone disease but still rooted in soil, plants, the outdoors. I enjoyed the first half particularly. Beautiful writing. Review to follow shortly on For ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But above all, there were books. Books were my consolation. For if I could not walk into the bright, blowing world I could, at least, read of it; books, I was told, contained it all."

After Witch Light, I tried a different kind of book by another author as my next read. Unfortunately, I had to put said book on hold, because Susan Fletcher's masterpiece was still on my mind at every page. So I decided to read the other novel by the same author I bought and while it's not as amazing as Witch Light
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had such high hopes for this one. It does some things well. A main character that has a disability and is different and she stayed clear of the “this girl has a disability so she must be sweet and lovely” trope which I was grateful for but apart from that this book just did not quite know what it wanted to be. All over the place.
Susan Fletcher is an author whose work I have always very much enjoyed. My first encounter with one of her novels was in the glorious Harper Perennial edition of Eve Gree, quite some time ago. I have since read almost all of her other work, and when I saw that she had a new novel - House of Glass - coming out in 2018, I borrowed it from the library just as soon as I could.

Many of the reviews of House of Glass mention its ‘darkly gothic’ tone, as well as the way in which it is such things as surp
Tanja Berg
If I wasn’t so incredibly bored I could perhaps gather up some disappointment as well. This book is predictable from start to finish and there is nothing gothic about it at all. I don’t know exactly what I had hoped for, it got lost very quickly. A promising start, weak middle and no help with the endless revelations at the end.
This had the potential to be a 5 star read for me but as you can tell from my 3 star rating, it didn't live up to the admittedly high expectations I had going in. There were some things it did very well, such as envoking a deliciously creepy gothic atmosphere alongside some reasonably well-drawn characters, but my main problem with it was that it was far too slow in terms of its pacing. The plot moved at a snail's pace for at least 2/3 of the book, with page after page of little to nothing happe ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's 1914 and England is on the cusp of war. Clara is a young woman with what we now call brittle bones disease who takes a job at Kew Gardens whilst grieving for her mother. She's sent to the countryside to stock the glasshouse of a mysterious estate owner where she encounters a staff terrified by the ghost of a former owner. This was a wonderful piece of historical fiction with a slight supernatural undertone. ...more
Christena Rose
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
House of glass turned out to be less of a ghost story and more of a tale of loss and lies. About half way in, all the well spun creepiness ended, and with it, my interest. Then, strangly, the plot spiraled into a odd half-baked romance that seemed to belong to a whole other story. By the time I read the last page, I just ended up feeling drained and sad.

There were some beautiful lines and sentimental moments that were truly memorable, for sure. The author took alot of creative liberties with he
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness what a book. This is absolutely exquisite; so lyrical and vivid and such an amazing protagonist. I don't want to say too much as I don't want to spoil any of the experience but I will say if you enjoy beautiful writing and intense character connections, this is an absolute must! ...more
Helen Carolan
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another terrific Gothic read. Clara suffers from brittle bone disease and has spent much of her early life cocooned indoors. When her beloved mum dies Clara starts to question her own identity and wanders the streets of London trying to banish her grief. This leads her to Kew gardens where she learns about exotic plants. This in turn leads to a commission at Shadowbrook in Gloucestershire. The owner is a mysterious recluse and the locals have nothing but bad to say about previous owners the Pett ...more
Lynn Williams
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am on a winning streak with my gothic reads these past few weeks and here is yet another little beauty to add to your wishlists. I know, I know, I’m sorry, you have too many books already but you and I both know you don’t want to miss a good book – after all that’s how your TBR grew into such a monster in the first place and, whilst I hate to add to your ever growing stacks, trust me, this book is worth it. Don’t miss out. Described as being reminiscent
Mary Crawford
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A gothic novel that ticked all the boxes for what should be included. A young disabled woman accepts a commission to set up a greenhouse in Gloucestershire. There are strange goings on in the stately house and Clara is determined to solve the mystery. As this is 1914 she is unusual in being forthright and outspoken as well as an expert on plants. There are beautiful descriptions of flowers and fauna. A good read.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It starts as a ghost story but is so much more. It's tone is a bit different from her other books but has the same beautiful writing, same uncanny ability to depict emotion that is spot on and a sense of place that is almost as vital as the characters.  The story is about a strong willed but physically fragile young woman discovering who she is and what she believes, set in 1914 during the suffragette movement and right before the war, braving the world on her own for the first time at a grand e ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histfic

At first glance, House of Glass seems to fit neatly into the tradition of English Gothic haunted-house stories: an unusual or unreliable narrator (Clara Waterfield, age twenty and a sufferer of osteogenesis imperfecta, which renders her bones dangerously brittle; her beloved mother is dead of cancer and her stepfather not unkind but distant) is summoned to a stately home (Shadowbrook, in Gloucestershire) that represents some kind of sanctuary (the opportunity to use her newly acquired horti
Mary Lou
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The publisher’s blurb describes House of Glass as ‘a wonderful, atmospheric gothic page-turner’ and that is exactly what it is.
Forced to spend her childhood indoors through illness Clara only knows of the world from her mother and stepfather. Now able for the great outdoors, a naïve young woman, carrying a limp from a badly mended broken hip, she sets out to may a way in the world but experiences a major set back when her mother dies suddenly. Clara finds her way to Kew and the Palm House. The t
Angela Smith
Clara Waterfield has spent most of her life cushioned from life's knocks as she has a rare bone disorder which causes them to break like twigs as she grows up some strength is afforded her and she manages to get about with a cane. Her mother dies and Clara wants a bit of independence from her stepfather and the house she has been closeted in.

One of her strengths is that she knows plants. A gardener at Kew who she befriends helps her to get a temporary position at a country house whose owner wan
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can say that the premise of this novel is high. Some reviewers said that it was an attempt to remake Rebecca.
Sure there's a resemblance but this story was drafted in a different way.

‘House of Glass’ left me with so much sorrow. I also had a moment of nervousness with all that occurred.
For me the ending was unpredictable. I had concluded some conclusion of my own but not quite precisely.

It's a combination of debates, questionnaire, rational, factual, and it's certainly focused on morality
Ellie Stevenson
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Lyrical and atmospheric book with unusual storyline set just before WW1. Low key atmosphere meant I was surprised by some of the later twists and turns. Well worth reading. Gardens inspired by Hidcote Manor in the Cotswolds (which, incidentally, is an amazing place to visit if you can).
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre) meets Wilkie Collins (Woman in White) meets Daphne du Maruier (Rebecca) meets Jean Rhys (Saragossa Sea) meets Germain Greer. This is a homage to Victorian Gothic (oops, apologies, the book is set in 1914 on the cusp of World War One) with suitable twists and turns plus a touch of feminism and modern eroticism. This is my first Susan Fletcher. What a gifted writer. In the lyricism of some passages, you can almost smell the flowers, hear Clara's bones splinter. A myste ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
House of Glass is a historical mystery in the vein of Jane Eyre or The Turn of the Screw. 20-year-old Clara has lived an isolated life but takes a job setting up a glasshouse at a remote estate. With mysterious sounds in the night, a village full of rumours and a house with a chequered past, Clara’s doing her best to find out what her new employer is hiding.

Clara’s a wonderful and complicated character. She’s blunt and forthright, and fiercely independent despite a sheltered upbringing. She grow
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Fletcher is the author of Eve Green, which won the Whitbread Award for First Novel, Oystercatchers, and Corrag. She lives in the United Kingdom.

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