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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: The Little House by Philippa Gregory

cover courtesy of HarperCollins-AU
Publish Date: February 2, 1998
Publisher: Harpercollins
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Challenge Met: 2012 TBR Pile

On Sunday morning, on almost every Sunday morning, Ruth and Patrick Cleary drove from their smart Bristol flat to Patrick’s parents’ farmhouse outside Bath.

Ruth and her husband Patrick’s life change drastically after Ruth loses her job and Patrick is offered an offer he can’t refuse. One of the changes is that Patrick’s overbearing parents have bought them the little house at the end of their road. Patrick thinks it would be great to live so close to his parents and since they have an (unplanned) baby on the way, Patrick finds it to be an ideal situation. Ruth does not feel that way. Ruth and Patrick’s mother Elizabeth do not get along. In Elizabeth’s eyes, Ruth can’t do anything right. As the story progresses, Elizabeth’s emotional abuse takes its toll on Ruth until Ruth can’t figure out what is real and what is not. Of course, Patrick thinks his mother walks on water and believes everything that she says.

This is my first book that I have read of Gregory that isn’t historical fiction and I wasn’t disappointed but I wasn’t blown away. Throughout reading The Little House my forehead was in a permanent frown because I was just frustrated at times with Ruth and her lack of backbone, Patrick and his bratty ways, Elizabeth with her holier-than-thou attitude and Frederick and his oh-well approach. Gregory does well to make the reader emotionally involved with the characters. The dysfunction of the family itself is intriguing and you figure out really quick that Patrick had no chance at a normal life being raised the way he was and Ruth was just perfect prey for him. How Ruth handles her “problem” is a bit of a shocker.

If you are looking for an acceptable psychological thriller to read I would suggest The Little House. The beginning is a bit slow but it lays the groundwork for the rest of the story and the ending will surprise you.