Summary

Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, 2006. Finland, 1901. Eeva, the young orphaned daughter of a revolutionary, is sent from the orphanage to work as housekeeper for Thomas, a widowed country doctor. Her enigmatic presence disturbs Thomas as much as it fascinates him, shattering all the certainties of his life. Eeva longs to be back in Helsinki with the comrades of her childhood, particularly Lauri. But life there is full of danger. The power of the Russian Empire over its subject peoples is growing more oppressive, but resistance to the Tsar's rule is growing too. Some call such resistance terrorism; others call it a fight for freedom. This spellbinding story of love and loneliness is also about the tensions that arise in a country emerging into independence.
©2006 Helen Dunmore
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Critic reviews

"Helen Dunmore writes old-fashioned stories with old-fashioned plots about characters you immediately warm to or distrust but either way want to know what happens to them."( The Guardian)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By EGS on 18-04-15

My book of the year. Outstanding in every way.

If you could sum up House of Orphans in three words, what would they be?

Riveting, atmospheric, haunting.

What did you like best about this story?

Helen Dunmore perfectly captures the historical circumstances but without losing any of the drama of the narrative. I really felt I was living through the period with the characters.

What about Jilly Bond’s performance did you like?

Much of the book consists of the thoughts and inner dialogues of the characters. Jilly Bond captures all the nuances of their inner turmoil. It is always clear whose head we are inside, and their changing thoughts and emotions are perfectly portrayed.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Very little laughter, many tears.

Any additional comments?

Helen Dunmore is a poet, and this shines through in this novel. Her descriptions of the Finnish countryside are superb. I would give ten stars if I could. I almost never listen to a book more than once, but I will definitely return to this one.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Sue156 on 12-02-16

Unsatisfactory ending but maybe that is the point

The narration was brilliant with the characters really well differentiated. Very pleasant to listen to

I was gripped by the story but felt the ending didn't pull things together and felt rushed compared with the rest of the book which had built the plot gradually and carefully. It had me questioning whether I had downloaded the whole book - I had

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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