When first conceiving my characters for The House, I took myself back to the many fairy tales I had read as a child, and channelled some of the creatures and folk prevalent in those classic stories. By thinking of them as archetypes, I created a beastly and dipsomaniacal Lord, an analogy to the predatory wolf, a sensitive Lady powerless to find her true calling, an essence of the damsel in distress, and a troupe of personages that one never reads about in novels written during the (regency) era my book presides in. Such as is the diverse cast that inhabit my book; transvestites, homosexuals, rent boys, courtesans, poets, and of course a time traveller, to name some of this disparate ensemble.
Menacing gargoyles, half man/beast manifestations, another borrowing from the classics, clasp the walls of the house, while in contrast, and most unexpectedly, the interior is adorned by cherubim, goddesses and friendly hard to define souls, whose animated amiable eyes follow in sympathy. Upon the face of it, the beasts ‘guarding’ the ramshackle house symbolise unknown and potentially perilous encounters within. The accidental visitor is left with very little choice for shelter however, for the forest whilst enchanting, has an impending darkness that only wolves and predators revel in.
With a narrative that takes the reader into the Georgian and Regency periods, I purposely created players that I had never met in the books of Jane Austen, nor of those of her contemporaries. While the dramatis personae in ‘The House’ have walked the well trodden path of humanity, social mores of periods past would most certainly not have approved. This was the distinction I enjoyed exploring. Despite the fact that I worked diligently to give them a voice that belonged to that particular era, the aspiration was to write a story that portrayed a familiar humanity. I have been a passionate reader of classic novels for a long while, and the stories that engage me most profoundly are those that present a psychologically complex society. Regardless of the departure from reality that this fantasy novel affords, my aim was to fashion recognisable characters that have travelled throughout time.
The House is an adult fairy tale rich in mystery and intrigue.
Here is a tale of a woman so absorbed with historical novels that her own reality ceases to offer any hope of romance and beauty.
Until one day this dreamy idealist finds herself in a mysterious forest. How she arrived there is unknown. Soon she encounters a dilapidated house, within whose ancient walls magical rooms that transport to parallel worlds lie in wait. There she is transmigrated to 18th century England, where our heroine interacts with an odd mix of characters whose dysfunctional lives become immediately apparent.
Her first tribulation involves a nefarious lord, an archetype of the monstrous characters one encounters in fairy tales. The ramification from this confrontation sets the tone for the narrative.
A magic portal finally enables escape from the austere Georgian dwelling. She is then spirited back to the enigmatic house, and a journey to Regency London follows, where a large cast of eccentric identities present themselves.
Late one night, following a long stay in Florence, a young, heart-broken poet arrives. His introduction to the beautiful time traveller offers promise of restoration and love. But there are several more obstacles ahead before her destiny in this curious adventure is made apparent.
In the end an unexpected twist is revealed. But like all good fairy tales, this surprising conclusion is pleasing, even though the means of getting there are dark, and at times sinister.
Genre - Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Rating - PG-16
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