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Burnt Offerings

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  7,490 ratings  ·  807 reviews
The Rolfes -- Ben, wife Marian, son David, and Aunt Elizabeth -- are a pleasant family from New York seeking to escape from the doldrums of a summer in their Queens apartment. They find a beautiful old country mansion on Long Island -- restful, secluded, with pool and private beach -- perfect, for the right people. But their "perfect" summer home hides terrors beyond their ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published 1973 by Delacorte Press
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,490 ratings  ·  807 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”The hum that drew her to the door at the end of the sitting room had become deeper and stronger, but almost imperceptibly so. It was the door itself that caught her attention now. It was white, and framed within the narrow, smooth border was an intricate pattern of lines and curves carved into the wood, so delicate in the room’s dim light that she hadn’t noticed the design until she came within a few feet. Swirls and garlands were cut into triangular panels that met in a small, raised pistil. S ...more
I can't say enough good things about this incredible haunted house story!
It was fast paced. It was chilling. It was vividly real. It was atmospheric. It was scary.It inexorably, unrelentingly pulls the reader to its final conclusion and that conclusion is stunning.
This is one of the best haunted house tales I've EVER read. Perhaps it's not as literary as The Haunting of Hill House, but it makes up for that with amazing imagery punctuated with scenes of such a chilling nature that my hands actu
Dan Schwent
When the Rolfe family finds a beach house for the summer for only $900, it seems too good to be true. And it is, for the house seems to be exerting its influence on Marian, Ben, and their son David. Will the Rolfe family head back to Brooklyn before it's too late?

Chalk another one up to Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction. This one caught my eye when I was perusing that sacred text one day and I eventually took the plunge.

Burnt Offerings is a slow-burn haunt
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hands down, the best dream-house turned nightmare chiller ever. A classic.
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The thing that I like about this novel is that it is not a hungry house itself but a certain family that goes crazy and freak out with nasty nudges from the monster mansion.
How could small things lead us into destruction so easily (unfortunately with the help of an uncanny thing),just when we feel stressed out?
This story doesn’t contain bloody scenes,but there is definitely something about it that chills me to the marrow every time I read.
A superb psycho thriller with a bad aftertaste.

Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Perhaps it's simply because it doesn't hold up to an unfair comparison, but Robert Marasco's Burnt Offerings, though not an awful read by any means, was not everything I imagined it would be. The premise isn't bad, as horror novels go: little urban family rents a beautiful, if sadly dilapidated, grand house in the country for summer vacation, and they slowly come to discover there's an evil presence in the house which automatically rejuvenates it under just the right conditions.

The "evil house"
My enthusiasm for this book may be tempered by the fact of having read too many scary stories this October past and my dislike of domestic chores. Burnt Offerings left me bedraggled. It is well written, but maybe I just have a hard time believing that any woman in the past or anytime would have loved housework as much as Marian does in this book.

Even before they move into the possessed house, she is a cleaning fiend in their tiny apartment in New York, waxing the floors obsessively, and making,
Johann (jobis89)
“The closer she looked at those windows, the lovelier and more irresistible the house became.”

Burnt Offerings is a slow-burn of a horror novel - but maybe a little TOO slow. It tells the story of the Rolfe family, who are tired of their claustrophobic sweltering apartment in New York, so decide to move into a beautiful old mansion in Long Island for the summer. It‘s too good to be true, of course!

We love a haunting sentient house, don’t we?! And the house really does take centre stage in Burnt O
Grady Hendrix
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not as good as you want it to be, but this is the most important haunted house book of the Seventies. Here's why.
Dec 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-read
Classic 70's haunted house horror. A "too good to be true" summer rental home includes a resident that needs feeding and a whole lot of weirdness and turmoil. ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, even after only a couple of years before reading this the first time, there were some scenes that I was delighted to re-discover! This stands among my top ten "haunted house" stories, easily--among others such as Hill House, The Elementals, and The Shining.

The best part for myself in Robert Marasco's novel is the slowly building tension and atmospheric terror that I could get from just about every page! (view spoiler)
I like psychological thrillers, but cannot say the same of this psychological horror thriller. This is one of those, in which the house takes the center stage for a young couple, Ben and Marian Rolfe, who desperately wanted to escape the stifling heat in their tiny Brooklyn apartment and need a place to go for the summer holiday. They found this beautiful old house out in the country, in upstate New York. Charming, with an ocean front, a boat, and a big swimming pool. Little did they know that i ...more
I listened to this audio for the HA Audiobook Group Read Come and join us!

Marian is a 70’s housewife and she is tired of city life and coerces her husband, Ben, into checking out a summer rental with a beach that is far from the sweltering heat, stink and noise of the city. He says it sounds too good to be true and whines, “but honey, we can’t afford it”. But he caves. Should’ve stood your ground, man!

The rental turns out to be a giant estate on 200 acres. There are 30 rooms and all they have
I discovered Burnt Offerings through a recommendation by Stephen King, who described it as "disturbing tale, and one which comes highly recommended not just to fans of the genre but to the general reader", praising its "near brilliance" , which he considers to be second only to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House . King deemed this book to be important enough to include in his recommended reading section of his work on horror fiction, Danse Macabre. I couldn't resist a book praised so h ...more
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
Obsession & Possession- 5 stars...

This was one of the best haunted house stories I've ever read! I just loved it! It's about The Rolfes- Marian, Ben & their son David. They live in a noisy apartment building in Queens so in order to get some peace they rent a house in the country for two months for their summer vacation. The house turns out to be a huge mansion that has fallen in disrepair. They find the renters, Roz & Brother, to be very eccentric and in the back of their mind they know that so
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I know the 1976 movie with Oliver Reed. What a scary read! You really get so absorbed by this book that you can't stop reading. Only thing is that many questions aren't solved in the novel. The old Lady and the horror in this house remain a mystery. Great novel and a great movie! ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This novel is basically a classic definition of insidious horror. It manages to unsettle, disturb and scare without relying on gore, violence or any other typical horror trappings. It's sort of in a class of its own, the mixture of a haunted house and a possession story that works so well in no small part due to the excellent writing. It's quite remarkably not all that dated (with exception of real estate rentals, of course) for a 40 year old book. Recommended. ...more
Rachel Bea
Completely unsettling and disturbing!

Ben (rather reluctantly), Marian, and their young child David go with Ben's Aunt Elizabeth to an old and sprawling mansion in upstate New York for the summer. The house, which belongs to a pair of adult siblings, The Allardyces, seems too good to be true: For an incredibly low price, the family can stay in the home for the entire summer. There's just one catch: the elderly mother of the Allardyces will remain in the home, although out of sight. Mother is to b
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Solid family-is-haunted-possessed-by-eeeevil-house story, if not a little campy at times, especially with some of the dialogue. Probably could've been novella length instead of a novel, too. That said, solid characterization with some beautifully detailed passages and atmosphere. Glad I read it. Now I need to track down the Karen Black/Oliver Reed film.

ASIDE: I bought a used copy and while I was reading a little note fell out of the book. Written in pen, quite old. At the top is a qui
Maxine Marsh
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rounded up from 4.5*

So I read this book in one day. I thought I'd read it over the next few days, along with some other reads, but pretty soon I was at 25% and then 50% and then I was huddling under the blanket last night to keep from waking up Mr. Marsh with my Kindle light and couldn't stop reading until it was done.

A young family needs a break from the city and gets a great deal on a house in the country. The house is huge but run down, the wife is a little OCD and sees it as the project of h
 (shan) Littlebookcove
Burnt offerings is a classic of a book from the same guy that wrote about a catholic boys school. This book of his "Burnt Offerings" is spooky haunted house read. The pace is set with a relaxed feel that soon evolves you into a suspenseful feel. Well written and very good char's I was very impressed to begin with. HOWEVER, the ending made me feel blah. I was expecting a better ending with the build up. And was sad when I didn't get it. But I loved how it left me with a Must know feeling at work ...more
Rebecca Maye Holiday
Apr 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Burnt Offerings was adapted into a 1970's film starring Bette Davis in one of her last roles, and it's a very creepy, subtle and beautiful film (it was also the inspiration for an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? titled "The Tale of the Captured Souls"). I was finally just able to buy a copy of the book it was based upon (which sadly has no dust jacket, but I don't discriminate), and if there was any way to truly capture a story as immense and spooky as this, Burnt Offerings was the perfec
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What scares me most, as a horror reader, is not gore or on-screen frights; what gets under my skin is the unseen. The imagination is a helluva thing, and mine is good at creating terrors worse than what is usually on the page. Perhaps this is why horror from the 1960s and 1970s is my favorite: it isn’t gratuitous or in your face with blood and screams . . . instead, it relies on the reader using his or her own imagination to fill in the blanks.

Burnt Offerings is one such novel.

This is quiet ho
Page turning suspense!

I was expecting more then I received from this book as all the reviews I read before getting into it seemed to light up the "scare" tactic, but I wasn't scared at all. I guess it takes quite a bit to scare me, but it was still a good book as it had a lot of suspense, mystery, and there were some spooky moments, but not the "leave the light on" spooky.

Ben and Marian Rolfe want to get out of their apartment and go somewhere far away for the Summer months. Marian sees an ad t
Apr 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Pretty easy to see why Burnt Offerings is a classic in the horror genre as it still holds up after almost 50 years and is a nice little creepy tale. The story centers on Rolfe family (mom, dad, 8 year old boy and dad's elderly aunt). The Rolfes live in Queens and Ben teaches high school english; mom (Marian) keeps the apartment tidy and food on the table. Ah, the early 70s, when single 'bread earners' were the norm! I have to admit a little nostalgia for this tale as I was about the same age as ...more
One of THE best haunted house stories ever written!

Burnt Offerings is a dated yet classic take on a haunted house, a hungry house. (Great Introduction by Stephen Jones.) Written in 1973, his novel was not widely known. The film adaptation however, established its cult following. And those who have a copy in their possession can attest its awesomeness!

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

We all want to get away, more so when summer approaches!

Marian Rolfe can’t take it anymore
Andi Rawson
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco Burnt Offerings, by Robert Marasco, is far from your typical haunted house story. Ben and Marian Rolfe decide to get away from the city for the summer with their son David and aunt Elizabeth. When Marian finds an ad to rent a mansion in the country for the summer at a reasonable price, it seems too good to be true. Ben is suspicious but Marian, always the optimist, believes that the house is fate—that they are meant to have it, and Marian is unusually ...more
I received the audio book in exchange for a honest review.

I've seen the movie and I've read the book before. I'm not sure if its because this was a re-read or what but I liked it a lot more this time around. There was more that stood out to me- the way the Aldice's acted in the beginning, the trim around the door and how it seemed to change (to Miriam), her relationship with everyone around her. as far as the narrator, R.C. Bray, he did a fantastic job! now I want to see the movie again lol. oh
Cindy Newton
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio, and I thought the narrator really added a lot to the story. It's a slow burner, without any big bangs, but the suspense steadily builds. There are plenty of horrifying moments, and some heartbreaking ones, as well.

I sympathize with Ben, the husband and dad. He's indulgent of his wife's fancies, but the seeds of her dissatisfaction with her own place in the economic food chain are sown at the beginning of the book. Their New York apartment, so despised by Marian as ho
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s nothing more. Nothing. It’s all in order now. All the way it should be. And there’s nothing, nothing at all left.

What an amazing deal on a great summer mansion. Can’t pass that up. One catch – need to feed the old lady behind the crazy carved doors three times a day. Not a problem. Until it becomes one.

A little slow going at times, but genuinely creepy and unsettling throughout. Reads like it was written in the 70’s. Because it was. Duh.

I don’t recall ever seeing the movie. Hmm. M
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Robert Marasco was born in the Bronx in 1936 and educated at Regis High School in Manhattan and Fordham University. A classical scholar, Marasco taught at Regis before turning to writing, with Child’s Play, an eerie melodrama about incidents of evil at a Catholic boys’ school. The play was a surprise success in 1970, running for 343 performances on Broadway and earning a Tony Award nomination for ...more

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“The closer she looked at those windows, the lovelier and more irresistible the house became.” 0 likes
“It was just curiosity of course, nothing stronger. Perfectly natural.” 0 likes
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