Book review: Alison Burke, Search for the House of Dreams

Search for the House of Dreams

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?

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In the opening chapters of this novel, my heart absolutely went out to Genevre. She is the ‘responsible one’ amongst her siblings, and is clearly never going to get the ‘coming out’ that all young women of her station should have to look forward to. Instead, she is stuck caring for her younger sisters, and worrying for her brother. Although her father clearly loves her, she has a difficult life ahead of her, until she discovers some shocking truths about her family, and herself, from George Coleman.

As their situation changes, and Genevre’s world falls apart, she and George are forced into each other’s paths time and time again, and what starts as hatred turns into attraction as they become lovers.

Throughout the story, the deep-seated emotions are perfectly captured for all characters, with Genevre especially being strong-willed, but framed well within the limits of the time. I was absolutely drawn into their world, and found myself racing through the pages, keen to keep finding out what happened next. Definitely recommended!

About Alison 

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.

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