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The Dream House by Rachel Hore

The Dream House (1997)

by Rachel Hore

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Another very good read from Rachel Hore. Like the earlier book of hers I read (A Place of Secrets) this book takes place in the current time (at a time of great change in the life of the lead character - Kate) and in the back story of Agnes (early 20th Century). The two story lines are managed quite well in the book, although it took a bit long in my opinion to get to the back story. I preferred A Place of Secrets (mainly as it was set much further in the past - which fits more with my interests) but I still enjoyed this book. I will continue to read other books by Rachel Hore. The book did leave one unanswered question for me. If you enjoy this genre of books I would be happy to recommend this one. ( )
1 vote Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
A saga type novel, set in the present but involving some diaries that take us into flashbacks of the early part of the 20th century.

Kate is finding her London job tiring, and worried that she spends too little time with her children. So when her husband Simon persuades her that they should sell their house, and buy somewhere bigger in the country, she is happy to do so. They stay at first with Simon's mother Joyce, and things seem to be going well... until Simon starts behaving strangely, and it's clear that there are problems afoot.

Meanwhile Kate has a strange dream after buying a locket in a second-hand shop. Then she meets Agnes, a delightful old lady, and begins to explore the past through her eyes. A family tree at the start of the book means that some of the unexpected revelations in the book were not in fact surprises; others, later on, were fairly predictable.

It took me a few days to get into the book, but I found the characters - particularly Kate - very believable and by the end found it hard to put down. There was a little too much use of coincidence, but it somehow seemed believable.

Overall, very enjoyable. Recommended to anyone who enjoys women's saga type fiction. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Just too many coincidences.

I had been looking forward to reading this, especially as the author was coming to our annual literary festival. Unfortunately I found it rather disappointing and full of coincidences and premonitions that just didn't ring true.

Kate and Simon are finding the 'rat race' of London exhausting. They never see each other and have no spare time to devote to their children. After much heart searching, they decide to move to rural Suffolk and into the village where Simon's mother lives. In fact, while they are house hunting, they move in with Simon's mother. When this temporary arrangement starts to become more long term and Simon seems to have lost interest in the search, Kate begins to feel that things are going wrong. She has given up her job, home and friends in London while Simon is still commuting weekly, ostensibly until he can find a job nearer to their new home.
An old ramshakle house piques Kate's interest. It is owned by Agnes, an elderly lady with an interesting past, who becomes firm friends with Kate. Agnes's handyman, Dan, and great nephew, Max, also enter the fray to complicate matters.
Some well drawn characters, but a bit long, with rather a predictable ending.

As it turned out, when the author came to our festival, it was to lead a couple of workshops on creative writing (Hmmm), so I didn't get to hear the background behind the book as I had hoped. Oh well, you can't win them all :) ( )
  DubaiReader | Apr 1, 2010 |
  annenz | Jun 11, 2009 |
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Voor mijn moeder en ter nagedachtenis aan mijn vader
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"Toe nou, neem nou op', prevelde Kate in de hoorn.
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Londoners Kate and Simon are balancing the raising of two young children whilst holding down stressful jobs. As things start to fall apart, they decide to uproot to the Suffolk coast. Kate battles to make a new life for the family under her mother-in-law's roof, while they search in vain for the perfect home. When she stumbles upon the house of her dreams, it's tantalisingly out of reach. It belongs to a frail old lady, Agnes. As the two become close friends, Kate is amazed to discover how much the dying woman's story echoes her own. As past and present intertwine, Kate comes to realise how uncertain and unsettling a life built on dreams can be.

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