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The Birthing House [Paperback]

Christopher Ransom
2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

1 Jan 2009
When Conrad Harrison impulse-buys a big old house in Wisconsin, his wife Jo doesn't share his enthusiasm, reluctant at the idea of leaving their LA life - so Conrad is left to set up their new home as she ties up loose ends at work. But Conrad's new purchase is not all that it seems. Soon Conrad is hearing the ghostly wailing of a baby in the night, seeing blood on the floor and being haunted by a woman who looks exactly like Jo. With his wife away, Conrad becomes obsessed by the pregnant girl next door, Nadia, who claims to be a victim of the evil in the house. The crying leads him to a bricked-up body, and the mystery of the Birthing House unravels, pulling in Jo, Nadia and leading Conrad to a nightmarish conclusion...

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The Birthing House + The Haunting Of James Hastings + The People Next Door
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; paperback / softback edition (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751541710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751541717
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Ransom is the author of the international bestselling novels The Birthing House, The Haunting of James Hastings, and The People Next Door.

After studying literature at Colorado State University and managing an international business importing exotic reptiles, he worked at Entertainment Weekly magazine in New York, various now deceased technology firms in Los Angeles, and as a copywriter at Famous Footwear in Madison, Wisconsin.

Christopher now lives near his hometown of Boulder, Colorado.

Product Description


If The Birthing House had just been a biting and well-written novel about a contemporary marriage, that would have been enough to make it worth your time. If it had just been the kind of genuinely scary story that makes little hairs stand up on the back of your neck, that would have been sufficient as well. But what's remarkable is that it manages to have the best of both genres, without sacrificing thrills for insight. This is a rare thing: a ghost story with class. Read it. (Peter Blauner)

Book Description

A new twist on a haunted-house tale for the next generation of horror...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars what a disappointment 4 Sep 2009
The cover looked great and the story looked great but what a disappointment. I did manage to read the whole book but then wished I hadn't wasted my time. I still don't really know what a birthing house is and only have a rough idea about what happened in the one in the book. The characters were poor and unrealistic, there was very little plot or substance and what could have been scary just turned out to be a bit peculiar. I usually pass on the books I have read to friends or family, I am reluctant to even pass this one on to the charity shop.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save yourself! Re-read The Shining instead! 17 Feb 2010
Utter, utter pants. I struggled through this, which did have some mildly scary moments - the only reason it earns one star is because I heard clicking dolls feet after I read that scene, and also because I couldn't give minus stars.
I hoped the advertised 'twist' would make everything more clear - boy, was I wrong. it actually made the whole thing worse because I didn't understand AT ALL what the writer was trying to make us think. Surely a twist is supposed to turn everything you thought you knoew on its head - well this one just kind of confirmed all the build up. So not actually a twist at all. Just a really, really bad ending.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I have a grudge against "The Birthing House" 8 April 2009
I have a grudge against "The Birthing House". I can't quite explain it, but the novel just doesn't cut it. It isn't the kind of novel that you read and forget; this is the kind of novel, that you get angry at - want to slam against a wall.

"The Birthing House" is the story of Conrad, who on a whim, buys an old Victorian house in Black Earth. He and wife, Jo and two dogs then relocate from L.A. Jo immediately leaves on a 8-week business trip and Conrad and the dogs are alone in the house, that is haunted in some way connected to fertility and the history of the house as a birthing house. A major role in the novel is the next-door daugther, Nadia, teenage and very pregnant.

The only positive aspects about this novel are the dogs (most sympathetic characters) and the eerie picture of the house on the front page.

My recommendation: choose something else to read. (Harsh but true).

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dont waste your time 14 July 2010
By Squeak
Don't honestly think it deserves one star! Thought it looked quite good, how wrong could I be. Wasn't scary, it didn't even make a great deal of sense. The ending came across as extremely rushed. I've read quite a few rubbish books but this is probably the worst ever, still quite annoyed I wasted my time on it.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars doesn't do what it says on the tin 4 Feb 2009
By Misty
I bought this book on the strength of its cover, not having read the reviews here - my mistake.

It purports to be a 'horror/ghost' story, but its major failing is that it is not at all scary - in fact for the first half of the book I thought maybe it wasn't a ghost story at all but some sort of mid-life crisis story about the central character - Conrad. (I should point out that I am very easily scared with an over-active imagination and have to sleep with the lights on after watching scary films so if you can't scare me, you're not going to scare anyone!)

As several other reviewers have pointed out - the ending is just terrible - really rushed and badly executed. The device by which Conrad finds out what happened to Alma is levered in with a crow-bar and even then large parts of it are nonsensical. Either leave the past as a mystery or explain it properly!

The idea behind the book is sound but just wasted in poor execution. The initial characterisation is ok too - but Conrad's & Jo's descent into 'madness' is too abrupt and not at all convincing. Take The Shining as a benchmark and this falls far short.

All in all I found this to be a very unsatisfying read and would not recommend it.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor 8 Sep 2009
So, I fell for it: like so many others here I picked this up because it 'sounded good' and because the first page was intriguing. Unfortunately this is a poorly written novel that is ultimately devoid of atmosphere. In spite of the presence of all the expected genre ingredients and a potentially interesting twist on the 'haunted house' scenario, it is poorly constructed. The characters behave in increasingly frustratingly abstract ways that serve the author's needs above the logic of the story. He seems keen to generate 'moments' and those 'moments' serve the thematic side of things, but the connecting scenes of characterisation and plot fail to sustain a sense of dread. It lurches between several different story elements none too elegantly, and then moves towards its conclusion in a self-consciously hallucinogenic register that really just shows the author has given up trying to hold it together. This is not a good read, and it becomes worse as you realise that he's not actually going to make it work, and by the time you reach the end you are likely to feel very silly for having fallen for the pitch. I certainly did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars bad characters, bad plot, bad writing... 24 July 2009
I was tempted to give this one more star only because although I obviously didn't like this book if you paid attention to my star rating, at least I didn't put it down and manage to finish it. However, the fact that this feels like an accomplishment alone goes to say a lot.
First of the all, the only scary thing about this book is how bad the writing actually gets. It progressively degrades and by the time you reach the end section and the author attempts to draw you into the action and make use of what I like calling "active flashbacks" you just completely lose track of what the heck is going on and the writing becomes the biggest anti-climax of a story which already lacked any punch.
The worst thing about this book though has got to be the characters. Conrad and Jo's relationship is the stuff of either extremely adolescent fantasies or a deliberate artifact used to annoy the reader to extremes in order to create some kind of emotional layer in the story. If the latter is true,then it just simply doesn't work, as every time Conrad and his wife had a conversation over the phone I felt like I had to fight just that bit more against my reflex to put the book down.
In short, an extremely dissapointing book which makes you think twice about believing the "best-seller" claims of WH Smith book shelves by checkout counter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Have read a couple of books by Christopher Ransom and this title was very interesting. I personally enjoyed this title, it was different with a twist.
Published 5 months ago by Abbey buyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Why all the negativity?
I don't see why there is so much negative reviews surrounding this book. It had a good storyline, well written characters and a good setting. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange..
Good book but think the ending could have been better... Have read other books by Christopher Ransom and found them easy reading..
Published 8 months ago by Sue Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
I have just re read the synopsis of this book that I've just finished this morning and thought, huh?? I just didn't get it at all. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. R. Hodge
3.0 out of 5 stars Lot of bad reviews on this but i thought it was quite good.
Yes it is a bid odd - granted - but i actually thought it was quite interesting and i'll go as far to say i enjoyed it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by F. Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment
A disappointing read. I couldn't get on with the characters at all. The plot was poorly written , and if this was supposed to be full of suspense it failed totally.
Published 11 months ago by Ms. T. J. Thomas
2.0 out of 5 stars dreadful--sorry!
Published 12 months ago by lady anna
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable
The book not credible from the start really- then became predictable -
I think the writer lost their way mid book and it then lost my interest
Published 12 months ago by julie m kerwin
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok story idea
The story isn't too bad but the excecution is terrible. Just badly written, I stopped caring about anything pretty quickly!
Published 12 months ago by
4.0 out of 5 stars Time well spent.
I bought this book a while back but never got around to writing a review. While buying his latest book I saw an advert for this and how many negative reviews it had. Read more
Published 13 months ago by L. Jenkins
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