The sequel to the stunning novel The Illusionists, from the best-selling author of The Kashmir Shawl.
Born into a theatrical background, Nancy Wix is not a woman to be held back by family or class. At a young age, she discovers clairvoyant abilities that will change her whole life - from a boating accident that leaves three strangers dead to visions of the Great War to come, Nancy strives to change her fate.
When she meets an enigmatic and handsome young man, an opportunity arises to escape the life she seems destined to lead - but can she rely on a man who leads a double life, or must she look inside herself to break free?
Daughter of the House is a superb slice of early 20th-century life, from prewar suffragette movement through the shell-shocked suffering of post-war Britain through the age of spiritualism, the roaring '20s and beyond.
©2015 Rosie Thomas (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
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"A strange blend of genres"
Daughter of the House continues the tale of Devil and Eliza, stage illusionists and owners of the illustrious Palmyra theatre in turn of the century London (the first part of their story can be found in The Illusionists). Daughter of the House focuses on the life of their daughter Nancy, as she grows up on the outskirts of polite society due to the family profession, sought after by men of means as a partner due to her wit and character, but never as a wife.
Although Nancy's love interests are a main focus of the novel, in a similar way to The Illusionists the book seems to straddle several genres - romance, period piece, supernatural. It is the last aspect which is developed far more in this novel than the first, where Devil dismisses mediums and spirits as trickery. In this novel, Nancy is found to have the gift, and uses this to become a successful stage medium, though sometimes with tragic consequences.
The novel begins with a shocking accident which impacts on events throughout the rest of the novel and threatens to cause great harm to the protagonist as those affected seek to use Nancy to reach out to their lost loved ones. Alongside these sinister events, Nancy's relationships provide the other main story strand.
Although I enjoyed the novel, there was a definite feeling at the end that the story was unfinished, leaving the listener a little dissatisfied. Neither aspect of Nancy's life feels resolved, so I assume a third novel will be forthcoming!
I have read everything written by Rosie Thomas and have not been disappointed by her two latest novels - read The Illusionists before Daughter of the House as they are sequential. The setting of late nineteenth and early twentieth century theatrical London is absolutely authentic and the characters interesting and engaging. I hope there may be a third story to come! (The narrator is superb too!)
"entertaining and well written"
the story drew you in and the characters were generally well drawn. the uncanny was represented well without hyperbole. an unusual novel.
"The reluctant medium"
Set in the early part of the 20th century - starting before WWI and ending prior WW2 this is a book that explores the disappearing world of variety (something that I've always found somewhat sad), emerging women's rights and spiritualism. I found it quite hard to get involved with the story at the very beginning but by the time chapter 2 came I was hooked - and was very sad to have to say goodbye to the characters at the end. Yes a little predictable and a bit 'over the top' on occasions but a good story well read. As a change from my usual crime fiction this was a very decent listen.
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