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Household - Florence Stevenson Horror Book Review

User Score: 60% Like of 5 Total Votes

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I will admit, I initially bought this book thinking it would be a fun bit of pulp for a summer day reading.  Was I wrong - it is far from hokey - it actually was quite a wonderful story!  The timeline covers from approximately the late 1700s through the early 1900s and follows the travails of a family whose head (well, the one we start with, anyway) becomes the Duke of More after the death of his brother.  He leaves the church - with much relief, being an atheist and “rational man” - to do so and after returning home quickly finds that everyone is so ticked off at his deceased brother that they are cursing HIM left and right.  He laughs it off, sets up someone to care for the estate, and heads for London, where he sees an actress in a play (which he cannot understand why the people do not prefer to that “ludicrous work that preceded it - something about a Dane named Hamlet”).  I cannot tell you HOW badly things go awry when he attempts to meet her without ruining a good bit of the story and suspense - suffice it to say that he ends up making a most unfortunate oath to a very strange, small, dark woman.  He gets his actress, but as she ages and loses more children to miscarriage than she manages to deliver, she becomes depressed, superstitious and gradually becomes addicted to food and religion to try to take away her fears.  The beautiful, willowy actress disappears into an enormously fat, neurotic woman who can hardly get out of bed.  Plus, he gets cursed again - and this one is a doozy - this one sends his children and descendents (not to mention his ghost) wandering throughout the world, seeking a place that will receive them and break the curse, for the next two hundred plus years.

It is actually a rather lovely story about the power of family to stay strong together and how that strength can gradually overcome any evil.  It also, as I said, has some wonderful vampire, werewolf and witch characters that you don’t want to miss.

My main complaint throughout the book was the constant association of all witches with evil and Satanism, as though this is the only type of witch there is.  I was also very upset by the use of the Great Mother and Horned God in a dark oath - these are nature deities and would not be used in left-hand magic.  The character in the book, with his sardonic assessment of Satanism as nothing more than people reacting against modern day dogma, is correct - the depictions of attempts to raise demons and so forth is not within the purview of everyday Satanism (which actually is just humanism with a scary name attached to get people to sit up and pay attention), and certainly not within the realms of typical witchcraft.  However, I guess it wouldn’t have been as “scary” to the common reader, who of course doesn’t understand these distinctions and heaven forbid we try to educate them within the pages of a book, right?  This doesn’t really, however, detract from the overall story unless you’re a nitpicker like I am and I still recommend that if you can manage to find a copy of this most excellent book,  you should go ahead and snatch it up.

About Household

Title: Household
Rating: 3/5 stars from 5 users. Reviews: 5.
Author: Florence Stevenson

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