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Fantasy with house and changing / growing rooms

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May 30, 2011, 4:02am Top

I'm looking for a fantasy with a house or mansion that had changing rooms. It seems like there were flowers in one part of it -- either on the walls or in some other way. I probably read it in the 80s, so it could've been published in the 70s or 80s, but I would've been pretty young when I read it. It would've been an adult book, though.

It's not Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones or Castle Perilous by John de Chancie, though I rediscovered those years after I'd forgotten their names.

May 30, 2011, 7:13am Top

There is a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle called Castle in the Air that has a lot of rooms changing and growing. It isn't an adult book though.
Do you recall why the rooms were changing?

May 30, 2011, 10:26am Top

Stephen King's Rose Red talks about a house with rooms that change and a house that grows on it's own b/c it's haunted. It also has a little girl whose powers feed the house.

I believe the story is a variation of the many stories about the House on Haunted Hill, Amityville Horror, etc (there's a list here: http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/HauntedHouse.htm )

Hope this helps!

Edited: May 30, 2011, 12:28pm Top

Could it be And He Built a Crooked House by Robert A. Heinlein? It's about a house that is built in the shape of a tesseract - a four-dimensional cube. Someone is being shown round the house, the rooms are never where they expect, and I seem to remember that at one point they walk from one room to another and find themselves in the garden instead, which could be where the flowers come into it.

May 30, 2011, 1:37pm Top

Not really an adult book, but at the very end of the Neverending Story there is a house that changes shape to accommodate/play with whoever is living there. The house is one with the garden it is in, and the woman that lives there has flowers growing from her head, like hair. And you own the book, so it's easy to check.

May 30, 2011, 5:22pm Top

The Beast's mansion in Beauty by Robin McKinley has rooms that move and rearrange themselves to stop Beauty getting lost - and there is of course the rose garden that is responsible for Beauty coming to live with the beast...

May 31, 2011, 9:34pm Top

It's much too recent to be the story you're looking for, but the description reminds of me of the fantasy short story, Single White Farmhouse.

Edited: Jun 1, 2011, 2:01pm Top

House of Thousand Floors ? It's more fantastical/surreal than fantasy though, and apparently so rare in english translation that no edition in that language seem to be listed yet.

http://www.librarything.com/work/3703267/ (The work on LT, but currently only czech, french, german & other editions listed IIRC)
http://darkbutbright.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/the-house-of-a-thousand-floors-by-... For someone's summary & review

Jun 1, 2011, 9:13am Top

Clive Barker has The Thief of Always. Piers Anthony has Realty Check.

(This is a fairly common theme; any more details?)

Jun 1, 2011, 10:46am Top

There's a D&D module like that but the name escapes me. You didn't play it maybe? :)

Jun 3, 2011, 12:45am Top

Thanks for all the responses!

I wish I remembered more. It could easily have been horror, too. In fact, I remember a similar weird house story -- could've been King, but I think I might've been slightly too young for King at that point. It's not the sequel to the Howl book -- I've read them all. I don't think it's the Heinlein, either, though it sounds interesting. I looked at the end of The Neverending Story... I don't know if that's it, but now that you mention it, that's very close to what I would like to remember that I remembered. Perhaps that's it. Though I don't know that I would've actually read The Neverending Story when I was a kid. I was an adult, most likely. I did read Beast by McKinley, but I don't think that's it, either. Single White Farmhouse -- nope. :( House of Thousand Floors seems too dark. The Thief of Always sounds interesting on its own. I want to say there were female characters, though. I read Realty Check -- it was interesting, but I went off Piers Anthony quite some time ago, and I didn't think it was one of his better efforts. Definitely not D&D. ;-)

Thanks for all the help, anyway, everybody. As noted -- it's a more common theme than you'd think, and that's clearly illustrated here. I wish I remembered more. Maybe it's meant to be lost in my brain. I've rediscovered old loves eventually through the power of the internet and other people.

Thanks again!

Jun 3, 2011, 3:16am Top

Dům o tisíci patrech (The house of a thousand floors) by Jan Weiss

and the third Howl series book:

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

Jun 3, 2011, 1:02pm Top

The Haunted Woman by David Lindsay is another example, but is probably too early (1920s)

I'm so pleased you asked this question, as there are loads of interesting answers!

Jun 3, 2011, 7:36pm Top

Another one is Guardian's Key by Anne Logston. That's from 1996.

Edited: Jun 3, 2011, 10:34pm Top

I have no idea what it is. What makes you say it is an adult book?

This is children's fiction, so doubt it is it. It's hard to search for your book as the search terms are vague... and "changing rooms" means multiple things, but doesn't mean that phrase is used in the book.

The mystery house by Polly Hobson. Expecting to spend a dull vacation in the country, excitement enters 11 year old Marilyn's lonely existence when four lively children move into the old vacant house next door. Becoming friends, they are surprised to find the house is complete with hidden rooms and strange treasures, and Marilyn sees her fondest wish come true.

Jun 4, 2011, 11:26pm Top

Wow, thanks for even more responses. I'm still not sure any of these are the answer, but now I've very intrigued by some of the suggestions -- The Haunted Woman, for example, seems good in its own right, even if it's not what I'm looking for.

I'm not entirely sure it was adult -- but it seems like it was more adult than children's fiction. That said, I was convinced that Howl's Moving Castle was adult until I finally jogged my memory as to what it was and found out it was part of a children's series. I rediscovered them several years ago...

I guess I will continue to be fascinated by strange, expanding houses. And as Stuck In A Book says -- there have been a lot of interesting answers.

Jun 4, 2011, 11:56pm Top

It sounds a little like The High House by James Stoddard, but this was published in the 90's.

Jun 5, 2011, 12:15am Top

What do you mean by changing rooms -- what happened to the rooms?

Jun 5, 2011, 7:51am Top

House of leaves scared the bejeebers out of me

Jun 5, 2011, 4:10pm Top

The High House sounds interesting...

I think the rooms would be different sometimes when you opened the doors -- the house shifted around somehow. I'm not sure that there were other universes, necessarily, when you opened the doors. I just get the vague memory that the house would grow and change.

Jun 5, 2011, 6:40pm Top

The first of Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest books has a house where the doors open onto different rooms each time. Talking to Dragons is the one I'm thinking of - the old woman shelters the two main characters after one's been injured. Do you remember lots of cats, by any chance?

Jun 5, 2011, 11:44pm Top

I dearly want one of Morwen's whatever-you-need rooms ...

Jun 16, 2011, 1:53pm Top

Robin McKinley actually wrote *two* Beauty & Beast books. The 2nd one she wrote Rose Daughter gets way more into the eerie shifting house and rose aspects. A round room full of identical doors, but the numbers keep shifting, (there's 12, no, 15, no, 8) And there are perfectly painted roses on thewallpaper, the bedspread, etc (that shift and grow if you look away).

Jun 17, 2011, 3:41am Top

But Rose Daughter was published in the 90s, so too late for this. Otherwise, yeah, it fits pretty well.

Feb 9, 2012, 3:27am Top

Late to this discussion but I was googling around to find just such a book. I recall (in the book I read) the reason the rooms/walls shifted was to avoid taxes ... the house could never be measured, hence not taxed. But that was just backdrop to a story I totally forget. Might have been a Canadian author.

Feb 10, 2012, 11:40pm Top

Posting this finally jarred my memory after years of trying to recall this. I now believe it is Towers at the Edge of a World by Virgil Burnett. It was published in 1983 by Porcupine's Quill press, a small press, and illustrated by the author. I still can't remember what happened and I haven't found a summary that brings it to mind, I no longer own it, and so I will probably have to buy it again.

Feb 10, 2012, 11:57pm Top

Brief plot there.

Feb 11, 2012, 12:07pm Top

Feb 20, 2012, 7:28pm Top

maybe 'house of many ways' by diana wynne jones... its the sequel to howl's moving castle

Feb 20, 2012, 9:27pm Top

Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 5:27pm Top

Could it be Little, Big by John Crowley

John Crowley's masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood—not found on any map—to marry Daily Alice Drinkawater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss; of impossible things and unshakable destinies; and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.

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