Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blog Tour Review: The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

Tags: middle grade, YA, historical paranormal, horror, ghosts, Victorian


Tammy Aykroyd is only a young girl when she is brought to Seldom House to be maid to the young boy who grows up to be the famous Heathcliff. Seldom House has some chilling secrets, however, Tammy realizes, when she is haunted by the ghost of the maid before her. As Tammy and her young charge explore the house, they uncover some truly gruesome discoveries and realize that they may be in mortal danger.


Gothic and gruesome, THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS is not exactly my usual type of book, but is an excellent example of what “creepy Gothic literature” should be like.

Dunkle certainly knows her Victorian—or more particularly, Brontean—language. THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS reads like it was written by someone who lived during that time and wanted to tell children a scary bedtime story. The historical fiction aspect is authentic and believable.

Accordingly, there is little character development—Victorian lit was never that big on character growth—but in keeping with the tone of the book, that’s okay. The ghost element is creepy enough if you like the gothic. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are indispensable to the creep factor.

THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS ends on a slightly far-fetched note that segues interestingly into the book that it is a mini-prequel for, Wuthering Heights. That being said, one does not need to know Emily Bronte’s romance in order to enjoy this book. THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS stands on its own as a creepy, albeit a bit slow, portrayal of the Victorian gothic. Don’t read this on a dark night with the wind rattling tree branches right outside your window.

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 2.5 out of 5 - I am that total chicken who needs to cover this cover before I can read the book. Soooo creepy! Not my thing, but hey, if it works for you...

Henry Holt & Co. / Sept. 14, 2010 / Hardcover / 160pp. / $15.99

Sent by Blue Slip Media for blog tour review.

Author interview and giveaway opportunity coming soon!


  1. This is not a book I would want staring back at me from the nightstand! Creepy! I would have to put that dead maid face down!

  2. Great review! I totally agree, it had a great creep factor.

  3. Wow, that cover is creepy...yet captivating. It's like looking at a scary movie, and you can't stop yourself from peeking.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I just ordered this from Amazon a couple of days ago and it is now sitting in my office waiting to be read. Upside down. Because it is super creepy. But in a good way.

  6. Ack -- I would totally have to cover that cover, too! Very unsettling. Sounds like an interesting book, but not my cup of tea; I'm a total scaredy cat.

  7. Ooh, interesting! I really enjoyed Wuthering Heights, and since this looks and sounds creepy, I definitely want to check it out!

    Great review. =)

  8. I agree - the cover sure as hell creeps me out!


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