Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; Search for the House of Dreams by Alison Burke, I can’t wait to share my review of this wonderful book with you all.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite.
About the Book
Search for the House of Dreams by Alison Burke
Genre: Historical Fiction
It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears. Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there. Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover.
To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris.
Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?
Firstly, I must pay special attention to the cover, which is the first thing that caught my attention about this book. It’s utterly beautiful, I loved the contrast of the dark and dreary background and the vivid lady in red who commands the attention of everyone. Which I thought fit in beautifully with the story, the story of an ordinary girl from the back streets who lived in this grey and colourless world who suddenly becomes the bright star we all know her to be, even though she has a slight 1960’s look about her.
This is my first book by Alison Burke, I thoroughly enjoyed her fluid and classy writing style, the story flows from one scene to the next with ease and light narration pulls you into the story, I will definitely be reading more from her.
Bath, 1847 which sees 18-year-old Genevre Stratton on the outside she has a good life, but open the front door and you will soon realise that the idyllic life is nothing but a mask to hide the truth inside. She is treated appalling, she is no more than a servant, she is practically raising and caring for her siblings, dealing with all the household tasks and now bills that they can’t pay are coming through the door thick and fast.
She soon finds herself destitute, but she has one thought on her mind and that is to keep her siblings safe. She doesn’t particularly care what she must face and what she must do to make that happen, but they are her only concern. She is scared that they will be taken away from her, she has to keep them all together. This is where her very wealthy, charming and charismatic half brother walks in, he takes her siblings and she hates him, she hates him for breathing, every fibre in her body bristles with hate for this handsome man. That is until they are forced together her hate slowly changes and she is soon overrun with complicated emotions for a man who isn’t just her half brother but one who could take everything she loves away.
It’s quite a position n to be in, to love thy enemy!
Genevre spoke to me, there were aspects of her character and what she must live through that in small ways I could relate to. I connected with her, she is a wonderful character, a strong determined and resilient woman who has had to be tough to see her through some real hardships. She is a woman who has been downtrodden by the very people who should treat her with a little kindness and that hostility, that abandonment has created a woman who doesn’t suffer fools easily, but one who is compassionate and she cares (even if those around her don’t) she loves and supports. Her awful family may see her as more of a servant than a daughter, they may look on her as though she was something nasty they have trodden on, but that just makes her all the more resilient to life and its ups and downs.
I not only liked Genevre but I respected her and admired her for the difficult choices she must make, her sibling’s welfare depends on her and she cares deeply for them, she is all they have and she refuses to let them down no matter how hard it will be for her.
The only thing I didn’t particularly like is the romance between Genevre and her half brother; George. I know that they aren’t technically related but it all felt wrong to me, they may only be half brother and sister but it’s a bit too close for comfort. I would have felt better about their relationship if they weren’t related in such a way, I felt the feelings they had for each other was a little uncomfortable, at times I did inwardly cringe but hey that’s just me this is just my opinion and other readers may not have the same issue regarding the relationship.
Search for the House of Dreams is an emotional, authentic, atmospheric and highly enjoyable read, with romance and emotional and familial conflict which will keep you reading. I like the quick-paced writing and the attention to historical detail, Allison Burke has created a richly atmospheric and relatable world and centred it around the lives of wonderful character’s.
About the Author
I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love.
This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.
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