More tales from the book club… our latest book has the name of a house as its title, at least I thought it did and then it seems I’d misread Hours as House, partly I think because there was a picture of a house on the cover. When I began to read it, I discovered it actually was about a house, in particular the garden of the house. It’s well-thought of book, much praised, well-written, and about an interesting subject, however I’m afraid I’m going to have to apologise to the book club as once again I’m not enjoying it.
I’m not going to write about my opinions of it though, I’m thinking instead of the book I had thought it was going to be from the cover and the unusual name which of course, being me, I had also misread… I’m not dyslexic, I have no problem with reading, except I’m careless and my eyes fly across the words and send the wrong message to my brain. Maybe I could write the book I thought it was, ‘Morveau House’ – there’s no such house and no such book as far as I know, but if there were such a house maybe it was named after the French scientist, Guyton de Morveau. He was born Baron Louis-Bernard Guiton de Morveau in 1737, but dropped the baronetcy after the French Revolution.
If I were to write ‘Morveau House’, or maybe ‘The House of Morveau’, which has a Gothic flavour, I think it would have to be a chilling and sinister mystery but I would not have a plucky or sinister governess/housekeeper/bride, I would not have a morose/dashing/damaged man, and definitely no cabinets full of weird and repellent exhibits. There would be no sounds of ghostly children playing or crying, no elderly relatives with a spiteful side to their nature, no servants who seem to have more authority than thy should have. There might be some fog – I like a good fog, there might be a debilitating heatwave, but after spending so much time inhabiting a cold, snowy and wintery setting in my last novel, ‘Winterdyke, I think ‘The House of Morveau’ will definitely be in a different season. An ironic spring? An enervating summer? A surprisingly jolly autumn? I will have to put these ideas into the ‘To Be Written’ folder.
If you haven’t read Winterdyke, here’s the blurb:
Thomas Radwinter is invited to Athelmond Grange, a huge old place not far from Winterdyke Mere. It’s the home of the very wealthy Robespierre family. Gerald Robespierre, the elderly patriarch wants Thomas to research his family history and invites him to stay while the rest of the Radwinters are away visiting relatives. Right from the start Thomas is baffled because the research, although covering an enormous number of people and wide time span, is actually really quite simple. However, it soon becomes clear that there is a hidden agenda and a particular reason why Thomas was asked to do the genealogical investigation.
He uncovers what might have been a murder committed a hundred years ago, which the family may not want to know about. As if that wasn’t enough, two other members of the family separately approach him, asking him to take on different but equally extraordinary commissions, one to look for a Viking hoard, the other to prove the identity of someone claiming to be a Robespierre heir, someone who is now dead. It is the worst winter for many years and Thomas is stuck at Athelmond. Someone doesn’t want him to succeed but with which commission? He begins to wonder if he is safe, or if his life in danger? Who can he trust? There are no friends, but who are his allies, who are his enemies? Thomas is trapped by a big freeze and wonders if he will be able to get home… And will it ever stop snowing?