Well I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in this one. I suppose because I started the book expecting to read a horror book, and I had high hopes because of the author, maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment from the beginning.
What we have is a tame ghost story that is really more of a love story than anything. It is about the pain of loss, and trying to do the right thing.
The book is well written, although there were some things that just seemed to be extra padding and unnecessary for the story. Kind of like a movie that still needs to be edited.
But the plot was good and the characters were interesting. Don Lark is a man who has lost everything. When his baby girl dies due to the negligence of her mother, his ex-wife, he is devastated. He deals with his loss by isolating himself. The way that he goes about isolating himself is by purchasing old run down houses and restoring them into beautiful homes, which he then sells. When he purchased the Bellamy house and moves in to begin renovations, he encounters a couple of odd old ladies who live next door and warn him that the house is no good and needs to be destroyed. He also comes across a homeless girl who seems to have taken up residence in the old house and has no where else to go. So he let's her stay as he lives in and works on the old house. These characters all come together as the history of the old house unfolds and Don learns that some houses have their own power.
The first 2/3 of the book is really getting to know Don, while the action happens in the last 1/3 of the the book. There are times when the story drags, but overall it is well written and a solid story.
This book did not live up to my expectations. It started out great, and I loved the fact that all the construction tidbits were interesting to me! I was also very intrigued by not knowing the exact genre of the book-whether it would turn out to be psychological fiction, horror, or fantasy.
I thought the book took an odd turn toward the beginning when we got to know Cindy's character, then when she had her mental breakdown it was told from Don's point of view and we never heard about her again. I thought it was a little strange of OSC to throw that sub-plot into the story.
I had originally thought the tunnel was an Underground Railroad and that it would possibly be haunted or have some magical, mysterious story behind it. I was very disappointed when we came to find out it had no exciting history.
I also expected Don to have the Sixth Sense syndrome (in reference to the movie with Bruce Willis) and was kept on the edge of my seat wondering if he was a ghost. I also thought the old women in the carriage house would play a more important role in the book.
All in all I was disappointed in the book because in the end I felt it had no substance. There was nothing really original or memorable about it when it had so much potential, especially coming from Orson Scott Card! Everything was a total let-down for me and the ending was extremely blah.
First off, I agree with Wendy: Homebody
is not a horror novel. In my 1998 review, I called it a "romantic ghost story." That's accurate, so far as it goes; but as with the best of Orson Scott Card, it defies genre classification. Homebody
is simply (simply!) a well-written and engaging story.
What follows is the review I wrote, when this novel was first published, in 1998:
This romantic ghost story relies on a familiar horror backbone: a stranger with a tragic past moves into an old house that also has a tragic past, and is forced to reckon with the supernatural forces that dwell there. In Homebody
, the stranger is an itinerant architect-builder who makes a lonely living by purchasing fixer-uppers, renovating them, and selling them. The house he buys in Greensboro, North Carolina, (where Orson Scott Card lives, in real life) has three mysteries attached to it: a tunnel in the basement, an attractive female squatter who refuses to leave, and a trio of weird doomsayers who live next door.
Card has a clear, well-honed writing style, full of human warmth--a style that is especially effective in the development of the central character, and in details of tools and techniques for renovating an old house. His approach to murder, danger, and threatening forces is so free of closeness or oppression, one might call it "anti-gothic." In a recent interview, he said, "I am completely uninterested in exploring 'evil.' Evil (and weak and wicked) people are all evil (or weak, or wicked) in the same boring ways. But good people are infinitely interesting in the ways they manage to be good despite all the awful circumstances of their lives."
is a pleasant tale about the triumph of love over evil, with a couple of bizarre twists to give it spice.
(TIP: If you go looking for more opinions, beware of the Kirkus Review
: it has bad spoilers. For this one, you want the plot to be a surprise.)
(which has a lot of yummy
stuff, but not this book)
I greatly enjoyed this book. It is definitely not Card's normal genre, maybe more of an experiment. It started out more like a typical plain old novel, but as it got going you saw Card coming through. Very different, and definitely worth a read.
This was not one of Card's best efforts, but was still enjoyable. There were plot twists and a few surprises, but I don't think this genre is his forte. It was a good book to bring on vacation.
I absolutely loved this book. It is one that I have recommended to others. A real page turner. Especially if you love old houses. You'll see them in a different light after this.
Another excellent story by a master storyteller... This time about a master craftsman who could fix everything except what mattered, his own soul. After tragedy claimed the one thing he loved, he began looking for dilapidated houses to buy, renovate, and resell at a profit - giving these empty shells the second chance at life he denied himself. Then he finds his biggest challenge, a squalid mansion that has suffered decades of abuse. Will finishing the house offer Lark redemption, or unleash the darkest forces of damnation upon him? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out!
This house is the ultimate fixer upper - but it knows what it wants. No one gets out alive.
Raves for Orson Scott Card New York Times bestselling author of "Lost Boys". In this book his, "prose is a model of narrivitive clarity; the author never says more than is needed or arbitrarily withhold information, yet even a simple declarative sentence carries hints of further revelation.' says New York Times. The Chicago Sun -Times states that, "Card is skilled at pacing & good with an action scene, but he has raised to a fine art the creation of suspense by ethical delima, and in doing so has raised his work to a high plane." Locus says, " Card has the strength for forgo glamour in favor of truth."
Orson Scott Card always comes up with fascinating stories. This book is about the soul of a house and how it goes about getting what it wants. Great plot and characters. It's a very good book with an unpredictable ending.
To tell the truth I picked this up because the cover was neat with that doorknob on it LOL
This was a very good book, I guess you oould call it a ghost story, not a scarey book. It kept me turning the pages didnt get bogged down. A good fast read about a guy that buys houses, fixes them up and resales them. However he meets his match with this house and when he finds a homeless girl living there strange things happen.
The concept of Homebody seemed cliche to me at the beginning. Also, it was a slow starter for me. It is definitely well written as with all of Orson Scott Card novels. However, it didn't hold my attention like previous works of his I have read. I didn't get really interested in the plot of the book until I had read 70 or 80 pages. Normally I only give a book till page 50 to grab me but since he is one of my favorite writers I felt obligated to give it more of a chance. The relationship Don developed with the inhabitant of the house definitely seemed odd and maybe a little unwarranted but I grew to like the idea after awhile. I agree with previous reviewers, it was a bit hard to decide the genre of this one but I almost feel like it is a romance. Don seems like the sterotypical "builder" that is found in many romance novels. In fact, this book even reminded me of Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts. Homebody is not his best by any stretch but overall a solid read and a quick one.+
Excellent book. A surprise at every turn.
interesting, kept my attention thruout
Good book; great summer read.
Good read for fans of Orson Scott Card's thriller, chiller type tales.
The book was entertaining, but not one I was tempted to keep and read again. Not one of his best.