- Title: Search for the House of Dreams
- Author: Alison Burke
- Publisher: Lily Dale Press on June 14, 2021
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Pages: 271
- Formats Available: Digital
- Rating: 3/5
Trigger Warnings: Child Abuse, Violence, Pedophilia (Mention), Miscarriage, Death from Childbirth, Self Harm by Starvation
Many thanks to Alison Burke and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a paperback ARC copy of Search for the House of Dreams with a request for an honest review.
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Search for the House of Tomorrow Blurb
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?Provided by Rachel’s Random Resources for Blog Tour Use
Alison Burke delivers love, family, and deception in her new novel Search for the House of Dreams. This harrowing tale offers a look into the complexities of a broken family. Even though the events are distressing in the extreme, it was still compelling.
Search for the House of Dreams is the story of a family bent on mingling with the elite in the late 19th century. The problem is that they have no money to keep up the lifestyle at the expense of the children. The Stratton family moves from city to city, leaving in the dead of night with extensive debts owed. The parents are finally gone leaving the eldest daughter to care for her siblings. Tragedy after tragedy encompasses the family until they no longer know each other.
This story begins with a well-known trope. Dodgy parents leave the eldest child, a female, to care for her siblings. While this trope is a good premise to build a story, the novel gave me mixed feelings for several reasons. First, the author writes Genevra as a kind-hearted girl caring only about her siblings. But, the character takes on every challenge in the book with no reward, ever. Second, George is a distinct jerk. Apparently, this man is in love with Genevra, and she with him. However, there was no buildup to that status, so the love aspect didn’t resonate with me. Unfortunately, none of the rest of the characters appealed to me either.
I don’t understand the compulsion to keep moving forward even though the whole story didn’t work for me. I honestly have no idea what kept me so enthralled with this book. I couldn’t put it down. I kept turning pages like there was nothing else in the world to pull my attention away. I can’t explain it, but there was something there that I can’t identify. That something grabbed hold and wouldn’t let me quit.
I award Searching for the House of Dreams 3 out of 5 stars. The storyline didn’t work for me. But, I still think there is entertainment value for those who enjoy historical dramas.
About the Author – Alison Burke
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.