Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

Release Date: September 14, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 146
Received: Borrowed from Library

Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, yet this spirit is only one of many. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?

As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. He is determined to keep Seldom House as his own. Though Tabby tries to befriend the uncouth urchin, her kindness cannot alter his fate. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.
To be honest I have never read Wuthering Heights nor had I any idea what it was about, but after reading The House of Dead Maids and doing a little research on it, I am now looking forward to reading it in the near future.

Ms. Dunkle has created a very creepy and chilling tale of Heathcliff and Tabby, his young nursemaid. I would say that it gave me shivers, but not nightmares. The idea of the ghosts of dead maids with "great round sockets of shadow" for eyes is what gave my the creeps.  The cover is just gorgeous with it's girl with the empty, soulless eyes and the pearly shroud of grey-blue.

The narrative given by Tabby Aykryod, as she tells the tale of arriving at Seldom House and the choices she made for both her and the heathen git's well being, is very compelling and makes you want to keep reading until you find out why they are stuck in that house. Everything about the situation is off and it keeps you wondering who these people are, why they dress in black and why a young maid and master are needed if there are already existing ones in  the house.

After having read this book I can say that I am left wanting a little more, but of what I am not sure. Is it that I truly do need to go read Wuthering Heights or am I looking for more in the way of Tabby and her story telling? The book is a good quick read and after having read the author's website I realize she has accomplished what she had intended.
"That’s exactly how I want you to feel. When you finish this book, I want you to be filled with curiosity. I want you to say, “I have to find out what happens next,” and then I want you to head to your nearest library or bookstore to pick up a copy of Wuthering Heights." -Clare B. Dunkle


  1. That cover gives me the creeps! Do check out Wuthering Heights. It takes a little while to get started but bear with it, it really is an excellent novel.

  2. Thanks Katie... I am not even sure why I have never read some of the classics... but I might just have to make a list of the ones I want to read and slowly pick away at them. This one sounds really good.

  3. OOOOH! I added this to my To Read list. It looks wonderfully creepy!

  4. This cover is very, very creepy! The story sounds very interesting and I agree with you on the great, round socket situation being disturbing:) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, I might give it a try!

  5. I got a little anxious just looking at the cover...creepy!


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