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The House of Dust and Dreams Paperback – 10 Jun 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (10 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409114716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409114710
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 618,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An interesting story." "San Francisco Book Review"" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this 1st as an Audio book and loved it so much I then got a paperback copy. to read at my leisure. Also bought the sequal which I liked but as much as the 1st one. It's a marvellous story and as an ex Greek citizen can vouch for the mentality of the Island people and way of life in the villages.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am only half-way through this wonderful book but am rushing to submit a review because I wanted to share my enjoyment with others. This is a splendid read and I am totally captivated by both the characters and the location. I holiday in Greece most years - usually Crete - and it is wonderful to see how the author has captured that extraordinary sense of "Greekness" that anyone who visits there will identify with.

The story is excellent so far - in fact I am going to cut this review short (will come back and finish it later) because I want to get back to the book.

If a strong story, interesting characters and a wonderful setting appeal to you - read this.
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