The House of Dead Maids

Last night I finished the fourth book in my goal to read 10 this month. So far I’m still ahead of schedule on my reading!

I picked up The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle this past Friday after I turned to my husband and said, “I’m judging this book by its cover!”

Then I actually read the line of text under the title, “A chilling prelude to Wuthering Heights“, and I knew I had to buy it. Contrary to the eye rolls my husband gives me every time I mention it, Wuthering Heights  by Emily Bronte has been one of my favorite books ever since my amazing AP English 4 teacher in high school plopped it down on our desks for that weeks reading.

Here is the description of the book as listed on

Tabby Aykroyd thought she was coming to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be a maid, but she’s not being asked to clean or cook. Then one day a man, presumably the owner of the house, shows up with a small boy. The boy insists he’s the master of the house, and curiously no one disputes him. Tabby is to be his playmate. The young master is a savage little creature, but the house itself contains far worse: Scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House. Tabby is terrified for her life and the life of her young charge. But why isn’t the young master afraid?
The House of Dead Maids by Claire B. Dunkle
It was actually a really interesting read. The tale itself was full of frightening ghosts, and if you have read Wuthering Heights you learn about what made Heathcliff the way he is. If you haven’t read Wuthering Heights, then what’s wrong with you? It’s a classic – go read it! I’m only teasing…I do urge you to read it if you find classics interesting, but if you haven’t read Wuthering Heights, reading The House of Dead Maids would still be a great read on its own, and hopefully leave you wanting to go read Wuthering Heights and learn more about Heathcliff and how his life turns out — which trust me is extremely interesting. I can feel my inner Wuthering Heights fan-girl starting to foam at the mouth, so I will stop myself short of writing for hours about the novel and just say that I think its a really great novel full of revenge and ghosts – and you just can’t go wrong with that! Ahem, back to the novel at hand, The House of Dead Maids actually has a book trailer!

The novel ties in Bronte family history, which makes it really interesting. On the author’s website she calls it a historical fiction. The protagonist of this novel, Tabby, was based on the real life maid of the Bronte sisters. Being the fan of Wuthering Heights that I am, I love how this book ties in original fiction with the story of Wuthering Heights, and the actual lives of the Bronte sisters.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a fun YA ghost story regardless if you’ve read Wuthering Heights or not.


9 thoughts on “The House of Dead Maids

  1. You’re welcome! It’s a much lighter read (well, in terms of page length and stuff) than Wuthering Heights was. There aren’t any characters that talk like Joseph or anything LOL. It seems she really did her research on Wuthering Heights and the Brontes , and addressed any criticism she’s received – — I’ve read some pretty negative reviews on this book and I’m not sure why – the reading I think its easier than Wuthering Heights, the ghostly images are scarier but the language is easier to read I think. It’s more aimed at a YA audience so that might be why. It all doesn’t really seem to tie Wuthering Heights in until the end, then you go “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… neat!!”, at least that was my experience.

    • I know what you mean, it’s really creepy looking! That character actually appears in the book too, and she’s described as having hollow holes where her eyes would be!!

  2. Four out of five stars … hm. Not that four out of five isn’t a good review but I thought you’d give it at least five (oh, I’m kidding; I know five’s the max.) after your praises. I also read ‘Wuthering Heights’ — and I know I risk being pummelled by literary fists — but it didn’t have any ‘wow!’ factor for me. It didn’t resonate with me, unfortunately. And being the classic it is, that surprised me.

    Does that mean this novel wouldn’t be my ‘type’ either, considering?

    • I dunno, for me no matter how much I like a book the 5 out of 5 would be reserved for the epic best of the best, for me that would be the Harry Potter books, Hunger Games books, Stephen King’s The Stand, Wuthering Heights, stuff like that.

      This novel reads a lot differently than Wuthering Heights does. I think it’s also targeted at a younger young adult audience, maybe 13 year old or so. It’s really just a creepy ghost story that at the end reveals some “secrets” to where the events of Wuthering Heights start. So I’d say it would be safe to read if you enjoy YA ghost stories.

  3. Pingback: Lives of the Planets « Cheesecake Summer

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