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Ruth Taylor is reeling from the death of her husband, an RAF pilot who was forced to ditch and didn't manage to deploy his parachute. Seeking to lose herself in work, she accepts an off to serve as nursing supervisor at a remote hospital that rehabilitates pilots who survived horrific injuries. For the purpose, the British government has taken over a country estate, D'Esperance, which is operated by a plastic surgeon, a psychiatrist, and a military trainer. There seems to be a hidden agenda at D'Esperance, one that appalls Ruth. Almost from the moment of her arrival, she's been "haunted" by her husband, and within days things begin to go terribly wrong. Falling is the central metaphor in this novel, in every sense of the word. House of Doors offers enthralling psychological mystery and suspense, as readers follow Ruth through its doors, hidden passages, corridors, and kitchens.
I hate not finishing books, and I don't do it often, but sometimes I have to accept the fact that I'm really not enjoying reading something, and that there are many books out there that I might like better.
As with this one. I love gothic style novels, ones which rely on atmosphere over gore, and I love a good haunted house novel. I also like historical fiction, so this book, set during WWII England, in a spooky house, seemed perfect. So I started reading. Now my kindle version (which I got from the library) didn't have page numbers, but I read fast, and it seemed I'd been reading a long time, and, well, nothing much at happened at all. I wasn't sure what the plot was, except for the horrors of war (and war surgery), and the fact that the main character did not feel good about stitching men back up to send them back to war. Then I realized I was 60 percent through the book. Nothing terribly spooky had happened (and believe me, I'm not a reader who is expecting huge things from a haunted house novel). I still wasn't sure what the plot was. This was not good.
Nor did I like the main character, who seemed cold, clinical, and sometime inexplicable in her actions (her dutiful seduction of a patient just seemed odd, not really believable to me). I can even deal with not liking characters, but if I don't like them, then I need something else to carry me--plot, for example. But I didn't have that either.
And there was one thing that drove me crazy, because it's just not skilled writing: the book was so heavy on exposition that there were not nearly enough well developed scenes, and even when there were scenes, they were slow as can be because we had to get all the main character's agonized thoughts (often repetitive) before she said or did anything.Read more ›
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With her husband dead, fighting as a pilot in WWI, Ruth feels adrift, so she accepts a job as a nurse at a mansion deep in the English countryside. Her new patients are also pilots, who like her husband were also shot down, though these men survived despite horrible wounds. And the mansion? Is Desperance, an old house with a history of hauntings. Ruth must help her new charges while rediscovering herself, and above all find out the terrible secret being kept in this house.
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