CrimeReads Best Gothic Fiction of 2022
A BuzzFeed, Good Housekeeping, and Departures Magazine Best Book of Fall
A startling gothic tale of corrupted innocence that asks—when we look closely—what it really means to know the truth.
When a World War II widow inherits a dilapidated English estate, she uncovers a diary written by an adolescent girl named Maude Gower. Looking for answers, she begins reading, only to unravel more questions about the mysterious past and many secrets hidden deep within the walls of Orchard House.
In 1876, orphaned Maude is forced to leave London, and her adored brother, Frank, to live with a stranger. Everyone—especially Frank—tells her not to trust Miss Greenaway, the enigmatic owner of Orchard House, but Maude can’t help warming to her new guardian. Encouraged by Miss Greenaway, Maude finds herself discovering who she is for the first time, and learning to love her new home. But when Frank comes for an unexpected visit, the delicate balance of Maude’s life is thrown into disarray. Complicating matters more, Maude witnesses an adult world full of interactions she cannot quite understand. Her efforts to regain control result in a violent tragedy, the repercussions of which will haunt Orchard House for the rest of Maude’s life—and beyond.
With each psychologically gripping turn, Elizabeth Brooks masterfully explores the blurred lines between truth and manipulation, asking us who we can trust, how to tell guilt from forgiveness, and whether we can ever really separate true love from destruction.
About the Author
Elizabeth Brooks is the author of The Orphan of Salt Winds and The Whispering House. She grew up in Chester, England, graduated from Cambridge University, and resides on the Isle of Man with her husband and two children.
Exceptional. . . . Readers will scramble to decide whom to trust, as misplaced faith leads to deadly outcomes.
— Kirkus Reviews
Haunting. . . . a richly-layered gothic novel with all the psychological penetrations that form is so celebrated for.
A twisty read full of complex characters and mystery.
Reading this one feels like wandering darkened hallways with a candle flickering in a ghostly breeze. . . . A gorgeous historical novel.
— Good Housekeeping
Issues of class, grief, and longing rise up through the floorboards of every page.
— Departures Magazine
A psychological study reminiscent of the Henry James classic, What Maisie Knew.
— New York Journal of Books
A haunting historic gothic novel.
— Historical Novel Society
A gothic novel with the same clever and unseen yet unescapable hand as Austen in Northanger Abbey or Brontë in Jane Eyre. . . . a thing of immense beauty and suspense.
— Porter House Reviews
Like McEwan’s Atonement, Elizabeth Brooks delivers a twisty tale which proves deadly when innocence collides with an antiquated world of manners and class.
— Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening
At turns lush and tangled, with moments of clarity that burst forth from the darkness like shafts of moonlight penetrating a forest canopy, The House in the Orchard represents the finest in gothic fiction. Brooks is a master, enticing the reader forward, one step at a time, but only revealing the path by the light of a candle. Bewitching.
— Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Sisters of Night and Fog
Elizabeth Brooks has penned an inspired take on the Gothic novel that would impress Daphne du Maurier and Emily Brontë. Alluring, atmospheric, and deliciously creepy, The House in the Orchard is a wickedly entertaining read.
— Tasha Alexander, bestselling author of Secrets of the Nile