The House of Dead Maids
by Clare B. Dunkle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
House of Dead Maids / 978-0-805-09116-8
I picked this book up without realizing that it's meant to be a precursor to "Wuthering Heights", and I would like to review it as such. I enjoyed this short novel very much as a "period piece" slash horror story, and recommend it highly to people interested in the genre.
When Tabby is pulled from her orphanage to serve as a maid in a distant house, she is initially confused by the disrepair of the house and almost complete lack of inhabitants - outside of an older maid and an ambiguously powerless "master" of the house, her only other companions are a laconic kitchen cook, and a sprightly boy who is her only charge. The weather is dreary, and the nearest village inhabitants are unusual (working on the Lord's day, and without a church or parsonage), and Tabby soon begins to imagine deathly cold ghosts - other maids like herself - haunting her nights, with nothing but black emptiness where their eyes and mouths should be.
I'm something of a sucker for a good ghost story, and this novel is definitely that - the setting is well-realized, the supporting characters are genuinely creepy, and the ghostly details are doled out with perfect pacing. This is, I think, being marketed as a young adult novel (which is a bit odd in itself - was "Wuthering Heights" re-classified as a young adult novel when I wasn't looking?), and while I found this novel to be quite scary for me personally, I don't think there's anything here that an average young adult reader couldn't handle.
Readers who are unfamiliar with "Wuthering Heights" can definitely enjoy this novel - the material that this novel is meant to be "enhancing" is definitely not required to understand the settings and characters here.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine.
~ Ana Mardoll
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