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Book review: Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Catherine House

Elisabeth Thomas


RRP: $37.99

The cover boasts “Deliciously sinister. It’s almost impossible not to be seduced” and for the first quarter of the book I’d agree; but sadly, three quarters of the book remains and my love affair with Catherine House soon went from seduction to boredom.

Ines, our protagonist, is a troubled girl with a past she is escaping from. She is accepted into Catherine House, a university with a legendary alumnus and more than a few quirks. One of which is that you give up your life for the three years and live onsite. Thomas’ novel is broken into sections that cover each of these years.

The opening of the novel is captivating, with the reader thrown headfirst into the story, but sadly I found it all went downhill from there. To be honest, this would have made an excellent short story; there’s just not enough going on to force a novel out of it.

There’s also a bit of a sci-fi attempt at a twist, which I found clunky and unbelievable. However, there were some lovely passages of writing, especially when describing some of the architecture and artworks, that did keep me engaged enough to finish the book. Sadly, finishing it felt a little like doing my homework, which is never a good sign.

As I often do when I have a less than glowing opinion of a book I go and read what other reviewers have had to say. In this case it seems you either love the book or loathe it. So for those considering giving this book at try, you really could like it, a lot. I just didn’t.


About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is a Director of Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 15 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.

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