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The House of Dust and Dreams Paperback – 16 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; Reprint edition (16 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409120139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409120131
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"An interesting story." --"San Francisco Book Review"

Book Description

A house in ruins. An island at war. A love affair just beginning...

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Caramia on 12 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Brenda Reid's House of Dust and dreams is beautifully written and so atmospheric one can almost feel the heat of Crete beating down on one's back.

Set in 1936, it tells the story of Heavenly who, when her diplomat husband is posted to Athens, finds the endless rounds of parties and social events all a bit stifling and shallow. Hugh's family own an old tumbledown house on Crete and when he goes there to sort out a problem, Heavenly goes with him - and doesn't come back - because she falls utterly and irrevocably in love with the place. She rapidly makes friends with Anthi, a young local woman who helps her find her way around Cretan society. Anthi, herself, is a strong woman, mother to two daughters, unhappy in her marriage, but inescapably trapped by its conventions. Heavenly sets about restoring the house, although Hugh would much prefer her to come back to Athens. Enter Christos, a young handsome builder - Cretes answer to Heathcliff and the stage is set for some complicated emotions. But dark times lie ahead with war on the horizon and Heavenly's haven comes under serious threat which tests her, Anthi and Christos in ways they could never even have imagined.

Brenda Reid writes with real passion and emotion. The characters are wonderfully drawn, living and breathing. I found myself really caring about them and, by the end of the book, also desperately wanting to visit Crete.

Anyone who likes Anita Shreve and Victoria Hislop would do well to read this book. It won't disappoint. I am greatly looking forward to Brenda's follow up book.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Peter Jefferies on 4 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written love story by an author with an obvious intimate knowledge of Crete and it's people. The untold story of Crete's world war two resistance to invasion by both Germany and Italy. The descriptive writing conjours up the very scents, sounds and heat of the hard and simple existance of mediterranean village life in that era. One of the best novels I have read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leggylou on 13 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Based on all the positive feedback this book has I decided to try it for myself. I must admit I was rather dissapointed. I found the first half of the story incredibly slow and tedious, it only started to pick up in the second half.

I found some parts of the story quite improbable, for instance it would have been quite unnusual in the 1930's for a devoted husband to leave his wife alone on a remote island for so long. And why didn't be even come to visit her from Athens, it was only a boat journey away? Surely any normal husband would have given up a few Embassy banquets and parties just to reassure himself that his wife was safe? Especially as he was supposed to miss her so!

However, the romance between Evadne and Christo was quite touching. At least this was not a sickly sweet love affair, Christo did not come across as the usual stereotype as the majority of books of this genre. An interesting finish, quite a sad story even though it was rather unrealistic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookishworm on 28 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who knows Crete well, and who loves Greece (and she needs love more than ever at the moment), I can't recommend this story highly enough. Brenda Reid evidently knows and loves Crete too. More than that she knows and respects the island's history and its long-suffering but always spirited inhabitants. This is not some book written out of dry research, but a tale that breathes with abundant life and understanding. I've rarely read a novel that captures the spirit of Crete (and Greece) so informatively and wisely, except perhaps novels by Greek authors, such as Psychoundakis's The Cretan Runner. It is both funny and terribly sad, and also a fascinating insight into a still shamefully little known period of Cretan history. It reminds us how much we all owe to Crete. Reid's descriptions of the politics and the sadness of war and how it can split friends and families apart are matchless and important. And then there's the weather, the landscape, and of course the food, to say nothing of a good number of enthralling and well-drawn characters (including expat Brits!).I suggest you buy it and then, if you haven't been already, go to Crete!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pollyanna Colsell on 28 July 2010
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book this is. You can almost smell the air in Crete. I took a week to read it, slowing down towards the end as I really didn't want it to end! The characters are utterly real and their situations both painfully and joyfully believable. It is a lovely story with some very interesting historical facts within it, as well as beautiful descriptions of scenery and dilema. Brenda Reid's style is easy to read and charming and I look forward to the follow up with great enthusiasm.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. P. Wright TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At the start this book looked promising - romance, Crete, ancient village house to renovate, war - lots of good strong ingredients! The story is told by two narrators, Evadne, a British diplomat's wife, and Anthi, a Cretan farmer's wife.

When the book starts it is the summer of 1936 and Hugh and Evadne arrive on Crete for their honeymoon, two years after their marriage. Hugh is a diplomat based in Athens, so they both speak Greek. A relation of Hugh's (at some points great uncle, grandfather or great grandfather, it isn't totally clear) had married a Greek heiress and they had owned a house on Crete which had come to Hugh. It is nearly derelict. Hugh loathes it and Evadne falls in love with it.

Then we flash back to their romance and marriage which run along fairly well worn tracks (she a nurse, he a golden haired godlike toff who falls in love with and "rescues" her) but there was sufficient originality to keep the momentum going.

We are back in 1936 and we see the world through Anthi's eyes with lots of details about Cretan life whose authenticity I am not qualified to comment on. Evadne takes up the story again and we find that Hugh has agreed that she can stay in Crete to renovate the house while he returns to Athens. At this point she tells us about Hugh's impotency problems in a fair amount of detail, but whatever marital difficulties they had, I do not believe that at that time and in that political situation, Evadne would have been allowed to stay in Crete on her own for any length of time.
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