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review 2016-07-23 18:54
Fascinating and Thought Provoking
The Children's Home: A Novel - Charles Lambert

Those who regularly read my reviews won’t be surprised to hear me say I enjoy a book that takes me by surprise and leaves me thinking about what I’ve read long after I’ve finished it. The Children’s Home may well be the most surprising, thought provoking and also baffling book I’ve ever read. In many ways this book reminded me of poetry in that both the story and the way in which it is told leave almost everything open to interpretation by the reader. I can’t help feeling that this book will tell a slightly different story to each individual reader. And judging by the reviews I’ve seen, not everybody enjoys that. Fortunately, I do.


To me this book read as a study in contrasts. The tone of the story is observational, descriptive and distant, as if none of the events described are of any great importance. At the same time those same events are shocking and often gruesome. I have no doubt most of this story would have horrified me if it had been told in a more direct way. As it was the horror of what I’d read only sank in slowly, often after I had already moved on in the story. Since I’m not a huge fan of horror stories, the distance worked very well for me.


Did I fully understand this story, its implications or its message? No, I am sure I did not. For me this read as a dark fairytale set in a world not unlike ours but definitely not as we know it. I picked up on a clear and harsh outcry against the way children all too often get used and/or neglected. I liked the Narnia-like mystery of where the children came from and would be going, and it was impossible to miss the World War II references. On the other hand, there were at least as many instances of things I didn’t understand or couldn’t place, and I have no doubt a lot of metaphors went straight over my head. The resulting sense of mystery didn’t frustrate me however, quite the opposite in fact. It left me with a sense of wonder, with questions and possible answers to ponder. And, as I said at the start of this review, I do like a book that makes me think and keeps on intriguing me even after I’ve finished reading the last sentence.


This is the third book I’ve read by Charles Lambert and I have to say I’m mightily impressed with his versatility. I can’t wait to see what he may come up with next.


If you like your stories straightforward and easily explained, this probably isn’t the book for you. However if you, like me, enjoy a book that is unlike most other novels, a story that keeps you thinking long after you’ve finished it, I highly recommend The Children’s Home.

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review 2016-03-31 12:42
The Children's Home - Charles Lambert
The Children's Home: A Novel - Charles Lambert


'For a moment, in this passing gesture, weary with affection, exasperated at the other man's stubbornness and refusal to understand, Morgan saw David before him, the man David might have become. "Have you learned nothing from all this?"


Answer: ... No, not really...


Morgan is a disfigured man who keeps himself to himself in his mansion on his estate, living with only one other person, his elderly housekeeper, Engel. One ordinary day, a baby is found by the back door and Morgan decides to bring her in and raise her as his own. But the next day, more children appear out of thin air, ‘Morgan was stand by the drawing room window and gazing out into the garden when a square of air above the lawn seemed to ripple as though it were silk and a knife had been drawn across it, and a child appeared on the lawn and began to walk towards the house, perfectly confident, it seemed, that she would be received.’ Every day, more and more children arrive, on their own or in groups. When the ministry of welfare turn up at his door, due to rumours of Morgan having forty-four children running around his estate, they end of taking the first child, Moria. Morgan and a handful of other children go out in search for her, ending up at a factory that his sister runs and turns out to be a family business, but what do they do with children there?


At the beginning of each chapter, Lambert writes a little sentence to sum up what’s going to happen in the following chapter, ‘Chapter Three... In which medical help us required and Morgan is shocked by an image in water.’ I found that this spoiled the book a little bit as it basically tells you what happens before you’ve read it.


Some of the content of the story was described in incredible detail that the horrific images are carved into my brain and won’t go away, no matter how many Disney princess film I watch.


I did find that this story with its 202 pages was too short for all the issues it raised. I’m also not sure what genre The Children’s Home would come under as I heard that it’s classed as a fairytale but I do not see that at all.


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review 2016-03-29 12:01
The Children's Home
The Children's Home: A Novel - Charles Lambert

I've been postponing this review for weeks now because basically I still don't know what to say about it.


It was by far one of the weirdest books I've ever read. But not in the weird way that I usually quite like. No, I was wondering for almost the entire book if I wasn't somehow missing what was going on and what the purpose of the complete story was.


Morgan lives secluded from the world in his big house together with a bunch of children and a doctor, but while you get the feeling something is wrong right from the start, it doesn't really progresses from me.


I didn't enjoy reading it. I never really got into the story, and for most of the time I was just waiting for something to happen. Like I said, I felt like I was missing the point of the book and the ending felt weird, even after the rest of the book. I'm sure there are people who will like this book, but I myself can not recommend it.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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text 2016-03-19 18:50
The Children's Home Review
The Children's Home: A Novel - Charles Lambert

In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins.  Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end f his garden.  One day, two children, Moira and David, appear.  Morgan take them in, giving them free rein of the mansion he shared with his housekeeper, Engel.  Then more children begin to show up. 


Originally it was the description of The Children's Home that pulled me toward the book.  I haven't read anything else my its author, Charles Lambert, but from the synopsis on Goodreads, it seemed right up my alley.  Generally speaking I'm a slower reader.  I rarely read a book a in a day.  Mostly because I get distracted, but that wasn't the cause here.  I started after work and finished it before I left for my shift the next day.  Sleep was the only thing that got in my way.


The Children's Home is a great many things packed into one little book, a sort of mixed bag.  There is the journey you go through with Morgan the disfigured heir, and our main character.  He hasn't seen his face since the accident, and neither has anyone else, except for the housekeeper.  Then there is the sort of supernatural air around the mysterious arrival of all these children.  Why have they come? Where have they come from? What do they want with Morgan?


Charles Lambert did a wonderful job keeping the mystery surrounding the purpose behind the children flowing through the entire book.  There was not a moment where I started to feel bored or that the story lacked.  Each chapter brought something else to the mystery, to the wonder of the children.  Just when you thought maybe you knew what was going on, I didn't.  


This was honestly the reason I swept through this book so quickly, because just like Morgan I needed to know where the children came from.  I wanted to know why they had come. 


The farther into the book the more gruesome things became as I started to see that the children might not be as naive as I, or Morgan and Doctor Crane, originally believed.  In fact even the housekeeper has her secrets.  When one of the children finally tells of who they all are, it is without a doubt heartbreaking.  However, once I found out I was even more interested to know why they chosen to Morgan.  What did he have to do with everything?


Despite how much I did enjoy the book I could only give it three stars for a few reasons.  One of the bigger reason was I would get a little lost in the text.  Occasionally, at least for me, I felt like the narration jumped around.  One minute Morgan would be telling us about an occurrence with one of the children, and the next he's talking to Doctor Crane about else entirely.  A couple of times I had to go back and re-read things to make sure I hadn't skipped pages.  


To be honest it only happened a couple of times and was just small thing. The writing is still beautiful and draws into the story.  Morgan is kind of a pathetic creature, but in a way that pulls you in as well.  A product of the environment in which he was raised.  All of this really over powered the occasional jump in the text. 


The second, and last reason, for three stars is because I'm still not entirely certain what happened.  I mean I know what happened in the book, but I don't understand why it all happened.  Was it because of what the children could do?  Were they harvesting it?  A day later and I still don't have the answers.  Maybe we're suppose to make of it what we each make of it.  A mystery that can never be solved.  Maybe I missed something in the text.  


In the end I enjoyed the book and it's very well written.  The characters were wonderful, even though slightly broken, and some of our questions were answered.  Besides there was a bigger message in the book outside of the magic and the mystery.  It was about learning to love the you, no matter if it was the you that you that you once were.  A everything happens for a reason, and sometimes the monsters are the heroes.  So for all of that 3 stars, because it's a really good book.


I recommend it to anyone who wants to read something a little different.  Something that's kind of a mystery, kind of out finding your courage, and a bit about a revenge.  It's a book that will linger with you for a while.  I found myself talking about it at work to a co-worker last night, and I realized that just because I didn't fully understand the whole of the book, I honestly enjoyed it.

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review 2016-02-28 15:24
The Children's Home: A Novel - Charles Lambert

Morgan has become horribly disfigured and lives by himself except for his housekeeper Engel. Morgan doesn't really do much but catalogs books in his library.He is alive but not “ living”. Then children start appearing at his house. The first being a baby named Moira. Then more come until there are seven children with the oldest being David who is a very old five. Morgan just seems to accept the kids in his life now even grows to love them and assumes charge of them. But he seems to keep himself on the edge just watching the kids laugh and play. the children seem to have some oddities but Morgan accepts that also. Then Moira becomes ill and Dr Crane is called. Morgan and Dr Crane become friends and Dr Crane ends up moving in also. organ eventually tells Dr Crane how he was scarred. Morgan also tells Dr Crane his sister runs the family business and he hasn’t seen her since he was nine.

This story was just odd. You weren’t really told a lot . It’s pretty short for a novel also. It also kinda keeps you hanging in the end and I definitely do not like that. This wasn’t a really enjoyable story

for me too many things left unsaid type thing. It just didn’t make sense in parts of the story. At the end I wondered what the ending was suppose to mean. Anyway I didn’t really care for this story hence the two.

I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.

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