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In the Tenth House: A Novel Hardcover – May 15, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dietz weaves a colorful debut set in Victorian London when psychology was considered experimental, spiritualism was a hobby of the gentle class and neither field was understood or accepted. Budding psychoanalyst Dr. Ambrose Gennett becomes obsessed with beautiful spiritualist Lily Embly when she flees from their chance encounter at a train station. After locating Lily, who is trying to pay down her debt to nefarious lenders with meager earnings from her tarot reading business and by helping her mother perform séances, Gennett learns of her profession and becomes bent on saving her. Lily, meanwhile, is convinced Gennett was sent to help her out of her financial jam and invites his sister and aunt to participate in a séance. Outraged that Lily has co-opted his family, Gennett turns vengeful, and his professional life suffers as his quest to out her as a fraud heats up, and Lily teams up with the scheming Monsieur St. Aubin, who provides Lily with access to a very moneyed crowd. The confrontation erupts at a grand séance and has drastic repercussions neither Lily nor Gennett expect. Dietz handles her characters and plot with a precision uncommon to debut novelists. (June)
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From Booklist

This unusual literary gothic centers on late Victorian society's fascination with spiritualism. Dr. Ambrose Gennett takes a progressive approach to mental illness with his psychoanalytic experiments, which alarms his more tradition-bound colleagues. A random encounter with a troubled young woman who makes uncanny predictions about his family--he believes her delusional--compels him to pursue her throughout London. When Gennett learns that Lily Embly is a medium who finds clients among London's upper crust, and that his spinster sister is one of her strongest supporters, he determines to expose her as a fraud. For her own part, Lily fakes seances to make ends meet, especially with an ill mother and creditors at her heels, but she has a very real gift for fortune-telling. All comes to a climax when Gennett crashes an exclusive seance in the Hertfordshire countryside. Dietz's language is delicate, formal, and occasionally vague, but it suits her ethereal subject matter, and her novel reads surprisingly quickly. A compelling account of matters spiritual and scientific in Victorian times. Roberta Johnson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307352846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307352842
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,762,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the Tenth House by Laura Dietz is a literary thriller full of twists and turns. Ambrose Gennett, respected alienist in Victorian London, observes Lily Embley at the Victoria Station as she bumps into a man and is knocked down. He rushes to her aid and her reaction to his help startles and intrigues him. Her ramblings sound like prophesies or do her prophesies sound like rambing? Her words about a threat to his mother's safety causes him to rush to his family home, only to find his mother is perfect, if absent-minded, health. He curses himself for believing Lily's nonsense, but finds that he can't get her out of his head and begins to pursue her. Lily and her mother Carola are mediums, and masters at their game of deception and misleading, but they are behind in the rent and living in fear of a loanshark named Bettering. Lily sees Gennett as the Page of Cups and decides that fate has brought them together, but for what reason she doesn't know. Gennett and Lily justify their fascination and obsession with each other in their own way. Gennett determines to expose her trickery and that of all spiritualists in an attempt to free not only his sister from their sway, but also for the betterment of the world's mental health. Lily sees their relationship as deemed by fate and refuses to aid or deter Gennett. Lily is truly a passive vessel in the story. She is whatever is expected of her and when she finally takes action on her own, it brings about destruction for them both. Gennett won't admit to desiring Lily, so he sabotages his own career and reputation. Working in the background against them both are Bettering and Gennett's sister Ernestine. Each work as puppetmasters manipulating everyone for their own reasons.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be entertaining but felt that the author took a very long time to come around to her point. We find the characters nearly intersecting many times and while we begin to care about the two main characters I felt a pressing need for something of substance to happen for a large part of the book. Sadly the end of the book was not satisfactory in the least as the excitement builds to its ultimate crescendo the characters are completely dropped. We find the two together at last and then the story stops, there is absolutely no personal resolution. The reader is made to feel an intimacy with both main characters thoughts & feelings through out the story and yet at the very end the reader is left entirely disconnected from both of them and the end of their tales are told quickly, sloppily and without satisfaction. I feel like the author had a good idea and did well to describe the time and the phenomena of Victorian spiritualism well enough but rushed to an ending that made me sorry I bothered to read the book at all. I don't normally write such scathing reviews but I was sorely disappointed and am feeling resentful of the time wasted reading this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Clever Sheep on June 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this Victorian thriller.

It has an upper-class London doctor controlling his womenfolk's lives, and oblivious to the danger.

Early psychiatry versus spiritualism. This is a part of Victorian society I knew nothing about. It's full of delicious detail and a very good read.

A Clever Sheep
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I truely tried to like this book. It just left me hoping until the last page that something was going to happen. It did in the last two pages but was a waste of my reading time.
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