Monday, 5 November 2012

Daughters of the House by Michele Roberts

The award winning novel ‘Daughters of the House’ by Michѐle Roberts won the WH Smith Literary award in 1992.

Set in France, Daughters of the House begins with Lѐoni waiting on the arrival of her cousin Thѐrѐse. The stunning narrative sets the scene of the house, as each chapter is devoted to the tiniest detailing including ‘the writing table’ and ‘the buffet’.

After setting the scene of the present, the book skips back to when Lѐoni and Thѐrѐse were children. Living in post-war Normandy, the novel explores the children’s past and how they perceive the world around them. The idea that Lѐoni is half French, half English (like Michѐle Roberts) allows her to discover the past and shape her future as she develops into adolescence.

However, when both children have a vision of a woman in the woods, the children are faced with who is going to be believed and who is telling the truth. The novel invests itself in discovery of the truth and will this break the relationship that Lѐoni and Thѐrѐse have formed?

The children use the house to uncover dark secrets that surround their parent’s past…

Rating 3*- Robert’s novel is beautifully written; however, the plot is slightly unusual in comparison to many other novels. Although there is a ‘revealing’ towards the end, the plot seems to drift off and does not have the impact you would normally expect. Robert’s novel is a little disappointing in this aspect, although it does make up for this in other senses (through its interesting contrast of characters perspective), it does not have the disclosure you normally receive from finishing a book.

Nevertheless Michѐle Roberts presents a thought provoking novel, which introduces you the Lѐoni and Thѐrѐse past. The award winning novel includes an interesting set of events throughout and Robert’s use of language produces a powerful piece of writing. 

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