Maria Thermann's Reviews > The Big House

The Big House by Larche Davies
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it was amazing

Larche Davies' second installment of her YA thriller sees 15-year-old Lucy, her small brother Paul, half-siblings Dorothy (17) and David (15), being hunted once again by the Magnifico's terrible sect. About to give evidence in the first of the cases being made against the murderous sect, the children are being hidden away by the police's witness protection programme in various parts of the country, but somehow the sect always manages to track the children down.

The Big House title refers to the refuge they eventually find in Miss Clement's house in a small seaside resort in Wales. During the course of the book the Big House turns from a temporary shelter into a real home where love, not fear reigns. Anyone who has read the first book will know that the children have seen more horrors in their short lives than most adults could even imagine. Growing up in different places with house mothers trained not to show emotion and not to allow the children any comforts, the four children gradually free themselves from the religion that nearly cost them their lives at the end of Book One (“The Father's House”, Matador/Troubador Publishing, ISBN 978-1-78462-366-1). Their Magnifico-fathers also made them live in big houses, but the Magnifico's houses never felt like homes and the communes the children were forced to live in were deadly to anyone who refused to obey and conform.

Disturbing to the point of making one's flesh crawl with the horrors such religious fanaticism inflicts on innocent young people, the book takes the reader through a world where nobody can be trusted. The four children can only rely on their own wits and judgment to make it through to the next hour, let alone the next day. The vast organisation that runs the sect in the name of the 'Magnifico' has so much money and influence it can virtually infiltrate every state-run organisation and find a way to bribe or blackmail most people. The character of Isobel Drax will not leave the reader's mind for a very long time, she has been portrayed in such a chilling way. She is one of fiction's most horrific monsters.

Plot, structure, pace and characterisation are all faultless. At the end we get a glimpse of a possible third adventure as a bonus. My only criticism is that the author clearly has never worked in a somebody who was put through the horrors of housekeeping and hotel kitchen duties during her student days, I know only too well that even 17-year-old Dorothy couldn't possible stay awake at the end of an exhausting 10-hour day!

The Big House is a highly entertaining read. Every page serves as a chilling reminder, how precious children are and how much we should all, collectively, enable them to have the future lives they want for themselves.

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Reading Progress

July 20, 2019 – Started Reading
July 30, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 1, 2019 – Shelved

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