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The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse
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The House at Midnight

by Lucie Whitehouse

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (19)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  All (22)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
The beginning of the story showed some promise, but as things progressed, it started to sound more like a poorly written soap opera than a gothic tale. Lucas is unbearable in his self-absorbed drama, and the motivations behind many of the characters' decisions seemed muddled and confused. I was also a bit uncomfortable with the unhealthy relationships and the emotional abuse that the narrator, Jo, continually excuses or takes the blame for, especially revolving around Lucas. I found them all despicable and not even in a way that I really cared what happened to any of them. And the ending.. Really?! I will never get those hours back. ( )
  PagesandPints | Sep 1, 2016 |
Thought this well down, well written, and moved really fast. ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Many of the reviews posted for The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse mention other books that are like this novel in certain ways. The Secret History by Donna Tartt and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier were both mentioned. (I haven’t read the first one, but loved the second.) I think finding similarities is a great way to discover new books, but hanging on to those comparisons can lead to false expectations.

The House at Midnight is about a group of friends. The house provides a place where these friends can live a lavish lifestyle apart from other people. It’s nice atmosphere, but the book’s about the people not the house. Their friendship started when some of them were in college and has continued as they’ve begun their careers. The book is written from Joanna’s point of view. She’s a writer for a tabloid and dreams of becoming a serious journalist. Lucas has inherited the house along with a great deal of money from his Uncle Patrick, the owner of a successful art gallery. He’s also inherited a number of psychological issues from a family with some serious problems. In some ways this novel is as much about memories of people who aren’t in the book as it is about the characters we get to know.

Although some of the characters, including Joanna, have real careers, they all seem happy to live and party on money they haven’t earned. Martha is the least self indulgent of the group and Lucas is the most, but all the characters have their flaws, at least all of the ones we get to know. I wouldn’t want to know most of these people, but it was interesting getting to know them in the novel.

I listened to the audio version which was read by Kate Reading (interesting name for someone who is the voice of many audio books). Her voice is sophisticated yet vulnerable and absolutely perfect for this book.

Steve Lindahl – author of White Horse Regressions and Motherless Soul ( )
  SteveLindahl | May 8, 2014 |
My reasons for reviewing books is to jog my memory of having read them later, so the intellectual energy I waste by not being able to attend school or work at anything worthwhile is seemingly not entirely wasted. Otherwise, with the rate at which I blow through books, I'd never remember half of them. These reviews are for me, and I don't expect anyone else to read them, or expect that anyone does. (But of course, I post publicly, so definitely feel free.)

As I am reviewing, it occurs to me that I wish I could give books two ratings: one, a critical grade based on the quality of the writing, the plot, the author's talent, the editing, the artistry, and whether or not the book is "important" on any level. This would be the snobbish rating. Two, a grade based simply on my enjoyment of it: which is to say, how easily it transported me away from my own life, which is the main reason I read. Books are a safer vice than alcohol, self-injury, or other forms of self-destruction.

I should do a public service announcement for the library.

What I end up doing is unscientifically averaging out the two marks. So this book, while a 4 or 4.5 in terms of ability to spirit me away from the drudgery of life (and this grade is directly related to how fast I read a book: the faster, the better; or the more desperate I am at the time for dystraction), it wasn't any kind of literary masterpiece. In terms of worth on that scale, it's probably a 2 or 2.5.

The House at Midnight also suffers from misrepresentation when it comes to promotion, in my opinion. A psychological thriller it is not, nor is it a horror story about a haunted house. And what midnight? I guess at the very end, when Lucas is dead and Danny is gone and all the other main players have scattered, and Joanna is left in the empty, destroyed house with a dying Greg in her lap? Perhaps that occurred at midnight. I don't know. This didn't really bother me, though.

There is a part in the book in which the main character (and I have begun to think that books in which the protagonist is a writer herself have to be semi-autobiographical, and I find them rather tiresome after realizing their prevalence) is told by another character that she really has a gift for metaphor, and would make a good writer one day. One thing I did admire about this novel was the language. The vocabulary is impressive and well-used, and the descriptive terminology is evocative. It is simile more than metaphor that Lucie Whitehouse implements, but she does a wonderful job of it. It wouldn't surprise me if Whitehouse was complimented in a similar way at some point, because she does have a gift for language. If it wasn't the viciousness of the drama and her solid writing, this would be little more than chick lit. All throughout I kept thinking it was more soap opera than psychological thriller.

In summation, The House at Midnight is a decent novel, and if one goes into it with the intention of getting lost in the dark drama of some fictional lives for a few hours, nothing more, it's worth the read.
( )
2 vote dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
My reasons for reviewing books is to jog my memory of having read them later, so the intellectual energy I waste by not being able to attend school or work at anything worthwhile is seemingly not entirely wasted. Otherwise, with the rate at which I blow through books, I'd never remember half of them. These reviews are for me, and I don't expect anyone else to read them, or expect that anyone does. (But of course, I post publicly, so definitely feel free.)

As I am reviewing, it occurs to me that I wish I could give books two ratings: one, a critical grade based on the quality of the writing, the plot, the author's talent, the editing, the artistry, and whether or not the book is "important" on any level. This would be the snobbish rating. Two, a grade based simply on my enjoyment of it: which is to say, how easily it transported me away from my own life, which is the main reason I read. Books are a safer vice than alcohol, self-injury, or other forms of self-destruction.

I should do a public service announcement for the library.

What I end up doing is unscientifically averaging out the two marks. So this book, while a 4 or 4.5 in terms of ability to spirit me away from the drudgery of life (and this grade is directly related to how fast I read a book: the faster, the better; or the more desperate I am at the time for dystraction), it wasn't any kind of literary masterpiece. In terms of worth on that scale, it's probably a 2 or 2.5.

The House at Midnight also suffers from misrepresentation when it comes to promotion, in my opinion. A psychological thriller it is not, nor is it a horror story about a haunted house. And what midnight? I guess at the very end, when Lucas is dead and Danny is gone and all the other main players have scattered, and Joanna is left in the empty, destroyed house with a dying Greg in her lap? Perhaps that occurred at midnight. I don't know. This didn't really bother me, though.

There is a part in the book in which the main character (and I have begun to think that books in which the protagonist is a writer herself have to be semi-autobiographical, and I find them rather tiresome after realizing their prevalence) is told by another character that she really has a gift for metaphor, and would make a good writer one day. One thing I did admire about this novel was the language. The vocabulary is impressive and well-used, and the descriptive terminology is evocative. It is simile more than metaphor that Lucie Whitehouse implements, but she does a wonderful job of it. It wouldn't surprise me if Whitehouse was complimented in a similar way at some point, because she does have a gift for language. If it wasn't the viciousness of the drama and her solid writing, this would be little more than chick lit. All throughout I kept thinking it was more soap opera than psychological thriller.

In summation, The House at Midnight is a decent novel, and if one goes into it with the intention of getting lost in the dark drama of some fictional lives for a few hours, nothing more, it's worth the read.
( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lucie Whitehouseprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hirschberg, Olafdoor on coversecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kanda, Keikoroom w/ chandelier on coversecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saville, Lynncarpet on coversecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stvan, Thomas BeckCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For my parents, with love
First words
Even now, I can remember the first time I saw the house as clearly as if there were a video of it playing in my head.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A modern gothic.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034549931X, Hardcover)

On an icy winter weekend, seven friends celebrate New Year’s Eve at Stoneborough, a grand manor in the English countryside. They’ve been brought together by Lucas Heathfield, a young man who recently inherited the property after the tragic death of his uncle Patrick. Though still raw from the loss of his last family member, Lucas welcomes this tight-knit group of friends to the estate he hopes will become their home away from home–an escape from London where they can all relax and rekindle the revelry of their college days.

Lucas’s best friend, Joanna, finds herself oddly affected by the cavernous manse, with its lavish mythological ceiling mural and sprawling grounds, and awakened to a growing bond with Lucas. Much to her surprise, he reveals that he’s loved her for years. But as they begin to find their way from friendship to romance, Joanna can’t shake the feeling that the house is having its own effect on them.

Back in London, Joanna is stunned when Lucas announces that he and their impetuous friend Danny are moving into Stoneborough full-time. Her concern seems justified as Lucas, once ensconced, becomes completely ensnared in the turbulent past that seems to haunt the house–a past that is captured in old movie reels featuring Lucas’s now-dead family: his charismatic uncle Patrick, his lovely mother, Claire, and his golden-boy father, Justin.

Over one decadent, dramatic year, as the friends frequently gather at the shadowed residence, secrets slide out and sexual tensions escalate, shattering friendships and forever changing lives. And all the while, the house cradles a devastating secret.

By turns taut and sensual, mesmerizing and disturbing, The House at Midnight is a gripping psychological novel that pulls the reader into the thrall of its ominous atmosphere. Newcomer Lucie Whitehouse has written a tense and captivating story that will linger long after the final, shocking pages.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Following his uncle's suicide, Lucas Heathfield inherits Stoneborough Manor in Oxfordshire, which he and his best friend Joanna plan to use as a gathering place for their circle of friends, but the house has a strange effect on everyone who stays there.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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