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The House at Midnight Paperback – 5 Jan 2009

115 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (5 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747596255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747596257
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Scary, sexy, sultry and shimmering - a brilliant debut in the vein of Donna Tartt finds a group of close friends discovering more than they bargained for in a creepy Oxfordshire manor' Daily Mirror 'Whitehouse manages to tug at the sinister threads running through the book at just the right moment, keeping her tale taut and her reader transfixed. Suggestions of the horrors that lie in wait are scattered throughout the book like a trail of breadcrumbs, leading you even deeper into the dark forest of Whitehouse's creation, at the heart of which lie deceit, cowardice and murder' Beth Jones, Sunday Telegraph 'Psychological suspense as elegant as a Swiss watch but as powerful as a locomotive ... subtle, intelligent, accessible, and highly recommended' Lee Child 'A pacy literary thriller ... deeply spooky, compulsively readable' Time Out

About the Author

Lucie Whitehouse was born in Warwickshire in 1975, read Classics at Oxford University and now lives in London. The House at Midnight is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Robinson on 13 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
I liked the idea of this story, a sinister and disturbing atmosphere in an old house, gradually controlling and driving the actions of the people who come together in it, but although the novel did keep me reading, I felt it was flawed. The major problem seemed to be the characters' behaviour, which constantly balanced on the edge, just about to be tipped over into "unconvincing". I felt it was important for me to like Jo, the narrator, but found her strangely flat and I didn't quite believe in her actions or her motivation. Yet there was something there in this novel which did keep me reading, as if I was expecting the author to explore Jo more deeply and reveal her true angst.

The novel is too long and slow. It read to me as if the author had had several different editors/beta readers saying to her, "You must go deeper into this and that character.... but show us, don't tell us!" And then the author added another carefully crafted chapter, taking her characters swimming in a woodland pool, sending her 2 lovers on a camping break - and it adds nothing to the plot. Instead it slows the novel down, and it doesn't deepen the characters either.

As I tried to work out what the problem was with the book, I felt that Jo the narrator was just not sharing with the reader about herself in the way the reader wants her to. I didn't feel that the author properly built up Jo's desire for Greg before they came together. When they did, in London, I felt her love for Greg and her regret for Lucas were not fully explored, and I didn't quite believe in them, and certainly didn't feel that the things going wrong with her relationships were anything to do with the house in the Cotswolds.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dot on 10 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books that I have read so far in 2009. I had heard quite a lot about this book before I bought it, especially the comparisons to The Secret History and Rebecca. I believe that it is definitely worthy of those comparisons but in no way is Lucie Whitehouse trying to copy those books; her storytelling has very much a style of it's own.
Lucas inherits Stoneborough Manor from his Uncle, both of Lucas' parents are dead and he is haunted by the suicide of his uncle who had been a father-figure. However, Lucas decides to use Stoneborough as a place where he and his small group of friends can escape to from their busy lives in London. The group of friends is incredibly close and the relationships between them are all extremely intricate.
Lucas gradually becomes increasingly obsessed with Stoneborough and with the cine films that he finds of his Uncle and his friends in their heyday. The similarities to Lucas and his group are startling and the secrets they reveal come to have a bearing on all of them.
This book had me gripped from the very start, the suspense stays with you right until the last page. Even when events in the story take a positive turn you know that something must be waiting just round the corner. The house plays a pivotal role in the book; I love books set in large houses with their many secrets and memories hidden away in the attic just waiting to be discovered. This was a really excellent book, especially as it is Whitehouse's first novel, I hope she writes many more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By new kindle owner on 16 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow, what a good book! One that I couldn't wait to get back to. It's narrative smacks a bit of the decadence of Brideshead and is just as gripping. Lots of interesting reference to Greek mythology. Ms Whitehouse has a good turn of phrase and an extensive vocabulary that she uses to good effect.
Jo, an aspiring broadsheet journalist and child of a 'normal' family of teachers, and best friend Lucas, poor mixed up only son of rich and hedonistic parents, met at Oxbridge. Within the Oxbridge group the become best friends and then have an unsatisfactory love affair. Lucas has been willed a house called Stone borough from his rich uncle. Wild weekends ensue with the incestuous Oxbridge group exchanging sexual partners as if trying each other out before finally deciding who to settle with. Jo finally gets the prize of Greg, but only by loosing long standing friend Rachel in the process and unhinging poor Lucas. Danny is a central character who seems to be the channel for the house's negative energy and the unresolved torment from the past, and plays poor old Lucas like a puppet. The truth of the past is revealed in a gripping climax, which I won't reveal.
Really enjoyed this book and felt that I had read something of quality. I recommend it to other readers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Free Spirit VINE VOICE on 28 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
I didnt know what to expect when I chose this book, would it be mystery, romance or murder? It was all of those things combined.

What a great debut novel, a compelling read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wasnt disappointed by the ending either.

The characters were well formed and the plot, although complicated didn't lose momentum. I will not spend time telling you what the story is about, the synopsis does that but what I will say is that it is a really good read.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader on 15 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started reading this book in the bath last night, I got out 3 hours later, freezing cold and looking like a prune, I just couldn't put it down!

Stoneborough looms at you through the pages from the start, pulling the characters inward to where the reader cannot help but follow. And there, at the heart of the book, is a gripping, psychological suspense which keeps the reader hooked until the very last page.

However, it isn't the plot which makes this book worthy of its 5 star rating. What really kept me in the water long after the bubbles had gone and the hot water had run out, was the beauty of Whitehouse's writing. It's not often that certain sentences of a novel linger in your mind for days afterwards, but this is exactly what happens with this one. The craftsmanship with which she expresses herself had me reaching back to the beginnings of certain paragraphs, just to experience the joy of reading them again, reciting the same few words repeatedly, committing them to memory so I could savour them once more when trapped on the tube perhaps, or in a boring meeting.

Read it and enjoy it for the wonderful first novel it is... I'll be waiting at the bookshop for her second.
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