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The Stranger House by Reginald Hill
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The Stranger House (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Reginald Hill

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4292024,588 (3.7)22
Member:Crotchetymama
Title:The Stranger House
Authors:Reginald Hill
Info:Avon (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Stranger House by Reginald Hill (2005)

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The Stranger House, by Reginald Hill, brings together unlikely allies in an unexpected place: Sam Flood is a brilliant mathematician from Australia who is searching for her family roots in Northern England, while Mig Madero is a half-English, half-Spanish man who has only just recently dropped out of the seminary and is now pursuing a historical mystery concerning an ancestor and the persecution of Catholics in England under Elizabeth I. When these two young people meet up in the village of Illthwaite, they soon discover that the villagers know more about their respective searches than they are telling, and that the reasons for their disinclination to help the strangers are more sinister than Sam and Mig can fathom.... This is a stand-alone novel by the creator of the Dalziel and Pascoe police procedural series, and a humdinger of a tale it is at that! There are some very scary bits, some history lessons, some very funny bits and overall, the creation of several very vibrant characters whom the reader feels have just stepped out for a minute and will soon be back talking to us in a cozy room somewhere. I really loved Hill's writing style and found the story gripping; highly recommended, and I'll be looking for more of his stand-alone work! ( )
1 vote thefirstalicat | Sep 15, 2014 |
A supernatural/crytographical/archaelogical/historical mystery broadly in the mode that was quite popular post Da Vinci Code. This one enriched by the setting (a Cumberland village) and the more than usually competent execution. Not that there aren't problems: the two lead characters are not good enough to carry the weight of the narrative, but they are saved by some interesting and better-done peripheral characters. There's an arbitrariness to the plot which really demands a more prominent role for some notion of providence, but Hill seems ambivalent about this and even appears to rehash some of the religious arguments surrounding the works of Richard Dawkins. In the end it's all a tad hokey, so not great by any stretch, but an engaging read. ( )
1 vote ehines | Apr 28, 2014 |
Meh. Didn't really come through with those ghosts and passions and whatnot it promised. And I found the heroine rather unlikable. ( )
1 vote LisaFoxRomance | Apr 6, 2014 |
I thought the opening of this book, though interesting, was a little slow and confusing. However, I'm very glad I kept reading, because once I got into it, I couldn't put this book down. A great cast of characters. It's not part of any of Hill series. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote y2pk | Jun 3, 2013 |
Reginald Hill has written dozens of books, but this is the first one that I have read. The Stranger House follows two people, Australian mathematician Samantha Flood and Spanish ex-almost-priest Miguel Madero, who travel to a small British town called Illthwaite to search out the history of their respective families. The novel is filled with a lot of coincidences, a small dash of the supernatural, a bunch of eccentric and memorable characters, and so many twists that you're still twisting in the final pages.

It could be really preposterous, the way that Sam and Miguel arrive at the exact same moment with interlocking stories. However, if you take Miguel at his word that ghosts have guided him through his life to this moment, and accept this as a semi-ghost story, it becomes easier to swallow as well as a more interesting story.

I liked the relationships between everyone, and I especially liked that the female lead is a mathematical genius. How often does someone create a female character like that? There is also a generous sprinkling of various parts of history, which is always a plus. I'm definitely going to check out a few more of Hill's novels, including a long-running series about Yorkshire detectives. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 21, 2013 |
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On July 8th, 1992, a small girl woke up in her bed in her family home in the Australian state of Victoria and knew exactly who she was.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060821426, Mass Market Paperback)

For more than five hundred years weary travelers have been coming to the Stranger House—an out-of-the-way inn in the tiny village of Illthwaite in Cumbria, England. Now two very different visitors have arrived here on the same dank and dreary autumn afternoon, each one driven by curiosity . . . and perilous purpose.

Australian math wizard Samantha "Sam" Flood is here searching for answers to a disturbing family mystery. Miguel Madero, former novice priest-turned-historical scholar, is exploring the links between an ancestor's bizarre disappearance and the people of Illthwaite. But Sam and Mig are not welcome in this town of secrets and silences. And when their personal quests become strangely intertwined, two determined seekers will find themselves drawn ever deeper into a fetid morass of deceit, mystery, and violence as they race to uncover the shocking truth about who they really are.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:37 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Things move slowly in the village of Illthwaite, but that changes when two strangers arrive in the village to dig up bits of the past locals would rather keep buried. The antipathy between Sam Flood and Miguel Madero is obvious but as they follow their separate quests their paths become increasingly entangled.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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