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The House of Dead Maids Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
Tabby Ackroyd is the new "young maid" at Seldom House, charged to take care of a wild, nameless boy (known as "Himself"), who is apparently the new master of the house (even though he's not related to the OLD master). But Tabby soon discovers that there's something horribly wrong with her new position -- nobody except her cares about Himself, there isn't a church nearby, and strange ghostly girls with pitlike eyes keep appearing.
But the most horrifying discovery is when Tabby realizes that one of the dead girls was the previous maid -- and she's only one of many maids who has died there. As she tries to protect herself and Himself from the evil forces surrounding (and filling) Seldom House, Tabby begins to realize that the danger is not just aimed at the little boy, but at herself as well.
"The House of Dead Maids" has some interesting literary connections -- Tabby is based on the Bronte sisters' housekeeper, and Himself... well, you'll find out who he is, and why his wild, passionate ways are so important. But even if you're unfamiliar with Bronte lore, this book is still a magnificent story -- think a gothic horror story for kids.
Most of this comes from Dunkle's command of language and atmosphere. The entire book drips with dank, heavy gothic atmosphere and a general feeling of impending doom ("She was nothing but a hollowed-out skin plumped up with shadow").Read more ›
The atmosphere of Dunkle's novel is brooding and atmospheric throughout. A darkness prevades every page, and rich description is abundant. It is eerily provacative in the way of a good ghost story, shot through with descriptions of the creepy old house, wild moors, and the mysterious village. There are no spots of light, no safe places of retreat for Tabby or for the reader: all is darkness, and the reader feels Tabby's claustrophobia and isolation acutely. Psychologically, Dunkle has created quite the ideal setting for a ghost/suspense story.
In terms of readership, Dunkle does not "dumb down" the text for her juvenile readers. The vocabulary is advanced but not overwhelmingly challenging, and there is a suitable amount of period colloquialism. Indeed, Tabby's frequent references to her faith (which she uses to justify why the ghosts should not hurt her, to counteract superstition) recall an earlier era and lend to the novel's historicity. All of this makes the novel more engaging for the interested adult reader as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book took me a bit to get into, but by the end I was very intrigued.
I do wish the book was longer. It feels like it should have been longer. Read more
Tabby Ackroyd becomes the maid to a dirty little boy at Seldom House whom people call "Little Heathen Git. Read morePublished on April 14, 2013 by MS
When I first began reading , I didn't think this book was what I thought it would be. As I continued it captivated me. The surprise twist ending made the book a keeper.Published on February 21, 2013 by RH
Recently I read Clare B. Dunkle`s, THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS, a prequel to Emily Brontë's classic, WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Read morePublished on December 23, 2011 by E. Kristin Anderson
Confession time - I've never actually read Wuthering Heights. I think I started reading it or maybe even had to read it for school but I know I've never read the entire book. So! Read morePublished on October 30, 2011 by Emily WilowRaven from Red House Books
This novel was a quick read for me. Unfortunately, I knew what the gotcha of the mystery was so that diminished the impact for me. Read morePublished on September 24, 2011 by A. Burgin
Do not...I repeat...DO NOT ...read this book late at night, by yourself, like a dumb ass. I did that very thing, and this book scared me to death! Read morePublished on August 12, 2011 by Literary Darling
The House of Dead Maids is a spine-tingling masterpiece. Told as a prequel to Bronte's Wuthering Heights, the reader is introduced to a young Heathcliff through the eyes of the... Read morePublished on August 2, 2011 by Kate B.