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This subtly written literary horror will creep up on you when you’re not looking. The subdued language and quiet ambiance set you up for a surprisingly vicious ending and oddly resonant symbolism. “Fantastic” in the vein of Kafka this maybe-ghost story is a can’t-put-it-down short read but leaves you wondering long after.
— From Meadow
January 2016 Indie Next List
“Tragically disfigured and reclusive, Morgan lives in a secluded country estate with only his housekeeper, Engel, to keep him company -- until the children start to arrive. The first, an infant named Moira, is left in a basket on the doorstep; others soon follow -- including the oddly precocious David -- the eldest at five years old. But what does the children's enigmatic presence portend for Morgan and the world in which he lives? Through lyrical prose, Lambert creates an absorbing and dream-like narrative that recalls both the pastoral gothic of Shirley Jackson and the dystopic vision of John Wyndham.”
— Dan Doody (W), University Book Store, Seattle, WA
For fans of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, a beguiling and disarming debut novel from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor--and the startling revelations their behavior evokes.
In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper Engel. Then more children begin to show up.
Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgan's lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgan's library. But the children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgan's past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgan's mind. The Children's Home
is a genre-defying, utterly bewitching masterwork, an inversion of modern fairy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia
and The Golden Compass
, in which children visit faraway lands to accomplish elusive tasks. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, Jamesian stream of consciousness, and neo-gothic horror, to reveal the inescapable effects of abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque--as well as the glimmers of goodness--buried deep within the soul.