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House of Glass

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  42 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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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  125 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Amalia Gavea
‘’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: historical, mystery
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.

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
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
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
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
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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
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
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: elle-thinks

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
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
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
Olga Miret
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley and to Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing me an ARC copy of this book. I was later contacted by Kimberley Nyamhondera suggesting I take part in the blog tour for the launch of the book, and as I knew the author I immediately agreed.
I had read and reviewed another one of Susan Fletcher’s books (Let Me Tell You About a Man I Knew, you can read my review here) a couple of years ago and loved it. When I checked my review, to remind myself what I had thought about it in mor
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this - historical setting, mystery, interesting characters, possible ghosts?! Blog review here
Sue Hampton
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am such a passionate admirer of Susan Fletcher’s work that I will read any novel of hers, whatever the genre – if it has one - and if I had to apply just one adjective to her writing passionate is what I would choose. I admire two elements consistent through each title: a breadth and depth of wise and generous characterisation, and a style that is rich but simple, unusual for its clarity, sensuality and painterly beauty. As a reader I’m less drawn to plot, but as an author I try to explore dif ...more
Sue K
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This a well written story with a glorious atmospheric gothic feel. The novel takes place on the eve of first World War and young Clara Waterfield has lost her beloved mother. Clara herself suffers horribly from a brittle bone disease leaving her unable to stand straight and susceptible to bones breaking very easily and was unable to leave home. But on the death of her mother she starts to venture outside and one day finds herself at the greenhouses of Kew Gardens. There, she learns all she can a ...more
Linda Acaster
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
A stream of lies ripples through this novel, its sun-sparkling surface hiding its depths and its currents. Due to her health, Clara was a shut-in during her formative years, learning about the world beyond the window from books and from her doting mother who’d been sent in disgrace from colonial India to England to become the wife of a man who entertained a special male friend. Thus the foundations of the narrative themes are cemented.

On the cusp of Clara’s womanhood, her mother dies leaving her
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
review originally posted at

First things first, this book is absolutely stunning. My photo doesn't do it justice.

Secondly, and I really do feel the need to shout this, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was hooked right from the first page. I loved the characters, the setting, the plot - the whole shebang. It actually reminded me very much of Laura Purcell's writing (and I adored both of her books). Honestly, this whole post is simply me gushing about how amazing this b
Bookish Chat
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Clara Waterfield is born with a disease which makes her bones very brittle along with various other medical problems.

Clara is cosseted by her mother and step father, who wrap her up in cotton wool, keep her inside the house and away from danger. But Clara feels isolated and claustrophobic and yearns to experience the outside world. She's feisty and occasionally rails against her parents, either becoming sullen or throwing wild fits of temper.

When Clara's beloved mother dies, Clara begins to vent
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5* - Gardens, an old house, a ghostly presence - all good stuff. I enjoyed the story but wasn't overly impressed. It is fairly predictable and a bit longer than it needs to be and incidentally has very little to do with the building of a glass house, but it had a nice Gothic feel to it. It was enjoyable and relaxing to read.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
Fletcher is one of my favourite authors, but whilst this has a nicely gothic atmosphere and is generally well-plotted (though a couple of twists were predictable), it lacks the melancholy beauty and finesse of her best work (Oystercatchers, The Silver Dark Sea). Still a very enjoyable read.
Darya Duckworth
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was a story rich with so many threads and themes. It really took me on the journey of feeling all the emotions a human heart can experience. It’s been a long time since I felt so strongly and for that I really am grateful what a wonderfully written book.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK for review copy in exchange for honest review.

I felt like I was there in this novel. So real does the writing make you see, feel, and empathize with the heroine in this unearthly story.

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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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