House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

House of Dead Maids
Clare B. Dunkle
Henry Holt & Co., 2010
ISBN: 0805091165
FORMAT: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghost Stories
AGES: 14-18
3 Stars

This book is just a bit creepy. So Tabby is sent to be a maid at a strange house. There her young charge doesn’t have a name but is “a heathen git” who wants to be a master who is in charge. Not only is Tabby unsure about what her role as a maid is, she is increasingly startled when she keeps seeing dead maids and other things that haunt Seldom House.

Eventually readers discover how Tabby is connected to the Bronte family and that the young charge is the one who will become Heathcliff.

I liked how the literary world, historic world of the Brontes and the supernatural were all thrown in together. The descriptions were just creepy enough that I could keep listening to the audio while not being so creepy that I needed to turn it off or take a break to ground myself in reality (aka a world without ghosts). But I did wish there was just a bit more. I liked the book, I did. However, I think it could have been just a touch more of a powerful story if the ending wasn’t a “and we lived and here is how Heathcliff came to be” type of ending. I almost expected more of a shiver-experience at the end.

Like I said, creepy. Good and creepy.

Book Discussion Questions:
What is the definition of creepy? Does this story qualify? Why or why not?
Why did Tabby see ghosts and the “old maid” couldn’t?
Why were there so many ghosts?
Why would the town go along with the scheme?
Did it make sense how Heathcliff became a real character? Did it work?
Did the young Heathcliff in this story work with the character Emily Bronte made?

2 thoughts on “House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

  1. I am not a fan of creepy books but after your review I think I might have to give this on a try. I will have to just download the audiobook so I don’t have to look at the cover. Wuthering Heights is probably the least favorite Bronte novel but I would love to know how Heathcliff ends up the way he does.

    • Some other people that read it really liked seeing how Heathcliff came into play in this book. Others didn’t like it so much. I liked it. But I am not a huge fan of Wuthering Heights in general. So I didn’t mind the few variations to the novel. There is another book based on Wuthering Heights that is coming out this fall by April Lindner…I can’t wait to read that one!

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