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The Stranger House
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The Stranger House (2005)

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5302034,244 (3.72)24
Sam Flood is a young Australian post-grad en route to Cambridge. Miguel Madero is a Spanish historian in flight from a priests' seminary. They have nothing in common and no connection, except that they both want to dig up bits of the past that some people would rather keep buried. Once their paths cross, they become increasingly entangled as they pursue what at first seems to be separate quests, finding out the hard way who to trust and who to fear in this ancient village whose lines of power run from Illthwaite Hall.… (mais)
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Título:The Stranger House
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The Stranger House de Reginald Hill (2005)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Reginald Hill has written dozens of books, but I think I love this one the best. Having nothing to do with Hill's usual Daziel and Pascoe series, this almost Gothic novel is set in Cumbria, a dark place literally caught in season-long shadow, during part of the year. With a near-seamless interweaving of two pasts and the present, the author no only presents us with four murders, but throws in a few details about the Child Migrant Scheme as well. I do wish there was more about this horrible part of England's past in the novel, and that's about my only issue with the story-line.

Two strangers meet in a tiny town called Illthwaite, to search out the history of their respective family's. Stranger House is filled with a lot of coincidences, a touch of ghosts, a large bunch of memorable characters, and quite a few twists and turns. I will still trying to figure out which person did the most wrong, buy the end of the novel! Ghosts, dark secrets, both past and present, villagers obviously hiding things from our protagonists, who are brought together supernaturally, a rather large serving of coincidence plus identically brutal identical twins, misty moors and bogs. WOW! It could have been rather preposterous in the way that Sam and Miguel arrive a the same moment with interlocking stories. But Hill is perfectly able to weave them together in a way that's not only believable, but in a very satisfactory way. Not only is Miguel's ability to see ghosts, and have them guide them through his life to this moment, but Sam's character as a female lead is strong, vibrant, and quite likable.

The atmosphere in the novel feels authentic, despite a lead theme of a village with inhabitants that seem still in the 19th century at best. Hill makes it all somehow seem absolutely realistic, proves a meticulous knowledge and background research in as widely separated fields as mathematics and theology and throws many pieces of interesting facts in the story, many of which later proves to be important for the continuing plot. With all of this, it does not feel artificial or far-fetched at all. The clash between the two main characters is both very entertaining and funny and their relationship transforms in a loving way. The story, finally, is both convincingly told and most logical, and above all, extremely thrilling.

Some of the lines from the book I will be quoting:
"When murk began to coalesce into form, she found herself standing by a font consisting of a granite block out of which a basin had been scooped deep enough for an infant to drown in. Around its rough-hewn sides a not incompetent artist had carved a frieze of spasmodic dancers doing a conga behind a hooded figure carrying a scythe."

"He raised his eyebrows comically as he spoke. His eyes had a distinctly flirtatious twinkle. How did he get it there? she asked herself. With an eyedropper?"

"'So what you're saying is you've been getting like e-mails from God dot com?" she mocked. "How do you know it's not just spam from the devil like your confessor tried to tell you?'"

( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Wasn't sure at the beginning if I was going to enjoy this, but it got very good after about 80 pages and then just kept getting better - all the way to the last page even. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
The Stranger House, by Reginald Hill, brings together unlikely allies in an unexpected place: Sam Flood is a brilliant mathematician from Australia who is searching for her family roots in Northern England, while Mig Madero is a half-English, half-Spanish man who has only just recently dropped out of the seminary and is now pursuing a historical mystery concerning an ancestor and the persecution of Catholics in England under Elizabeth I. When these two young people meet up in the village of Illthwaite, they soon discover that the villagers know more about their respective searches than they are telling, and that the reasons for their disinclination to help the strangers are more sinister than Sam and Mig can fathom.... This is a stand-alone novel by the creator of the Dalziel and Pascoe police procedural series, and a humdinger of a tale it is at that! There are some very scary bits, some history lessons, some very funny bits and overall, the creation of several very vibrant characters whom the reader feels have just stepped out for a minute and will soon be back talking to us in a cozy room somewhere. I really loved Hill's writing style and found the story gripping; highly recommended, and I'll be looking for more of his stand-alone work! ( )
1 vote thefirstalicat | Sep 15, 2014 |
A supernatural/crytographical/archaelogical/historical mystery broadly in the mode that was quite popular post Da Vinci Code. This one enriched by the setting (a Cumberland village) and the more than usually competent execution. Not that there aren't problems: the two lead characters are not good enough to carry the weight of the narrative, but they are saved by some interesting and better-done peripheral characters. There's an arbitrariness to the plot which really demands a more prominent role for some notion of providence, but Hill seems ambivalent about this and even appears to rehash some of the religious arguments surrounding the works of Richard Dawkins. In the end it's all a tad hokey, so not great by any stretch, but an engaging read. ( )
1 vote ehines | Apr 28, 2014 |
Meh. Didn't really come through with those ghosts and passions and whatnot it promised. And I found the heroine rather unlikable. ( )
1 vote LisaFoxRomance | Apr 6, 2014 |
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On July 8th, 1992, a small girl woke up in her bed in her family home in the Australian state of Victoria and knew exactly who she was.
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Sam Flood is a young Australian post-grad en route to Cambridge. Miguel Madero is a Spanish historian in flight from a priests' seminary. They have nothing in common and no connection, except that they both want to dig up bits of the past that some people would rather keep buried. Once their paths cross, they become increasingly entangled as they pursue what at first seems to be separate quests, finding out the hard way who to trust and who to fear in this ancient village whose lines of power run from Illthwaite Hall.

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