Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS by Clare B. Dunkle

THE HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS

By Clare B. Dunkle (Author) , Patrick Arrasmith (Illustrator)

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9116-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

Pagan magic, Heathcliff’s back story and a lot of scary dead maids: Dunkle’s knack for the creepy (By These Ten Bones, 2005) sets spines tingling. Woodcut-style chapter-head illustrations ratchet up the spook factor, especially those depicting corpses and ghosts. When Tabby becomes the “Young Maid” at Seldom House, she finds herself in a strange world, where she is expected to do little other than look after a bloodthirsty, nameless little boy, the “Young Master.” Seldom House and the neighboring village have no church, and dead maids haunt Tabby. Gradually she realizes she and the Young Master are marked for sacrifice (“It’s an honor to be given to the land,” one of the villagers tells her). While it seems clear from the start that Tabby will survive (she narrates the story from a later vantage point), it is not until the end that the connection to Wuthering Heights becomes clear. For readers familiar with Brontë’s novel, the final connection is a masterstroke; even those who don’t get it will find this a keeper. (Horror. 12 & up)