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The Wish Houseby Celia Rees
Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of WITCH CHILD and SORCERESS comes another engrossing, atmospheric novel — following a teenage boy as he uncovers the secrets of the mysterious and provocative Wish House.
It's the start of summer vacation, and fifteen-year-old Richard has discovered that a family has taken up residence in the usually deserted Wish House. Richard is intrigued by both the house and the bohemian family now living there. The father, Jethro Dalton, is an internationally renowned painter; his seemingly licentious wife is fascinated by herbs and cures. But it's their beautiful and vibrant daughter, Clio, the muse for Jethros paintings, who draws Richard utterly into the Daltons' world. Soon Richard finds himself so captivated by Clio that he steals off to the woods to spend days and nights with her, meanwhile struggling to understand and fit in with her eccentric clan. How could he know that some mysteries are best left alone — and that some betrayals can never be forgiven?
"Although Rees's (Witch Child) story of the life-changing summer when Richard was 15 begins with an air of mystery ('first real kiss, first true love, first sex. First death'), the true thrust of the novel is an exploration of the nature of creativity and life on the fringes of society. The author begins in 1982, as Richard, now 21, enters a gallery where his image plays a starring role in the erotic exhibition on display. The paintings touch off flashbacks to the summer of 1976 in Wales, six years earlier, when he first meets the artist, Jethro Arnold ('Jay') Dalton, and his family. Rees fluidly incorporates the image of each painting and the events surrounding it; the Daltons' home, the Wish House of the title, is simultaneously grand and decaying, seductive and forbidding. The backdrop, too, evokes an era when joints, open marriages, and running naked on the beach were common. Clio, the artist's teenage daughter, fascinates and enthralls Richard, and the two soon begin spending days exploring the woods and meadows, and the nights exploring each other. Eventually, Richard realizes there has been a terrible betrayal that changes his view of everything. Rees is at the top of her form. The 'gallery notes' describing the works by Clio and her father anchor the story, told in third-person from Richard's point of view, while the solid characterizations carry along the flashback scenes. A top-notch look at first love, heartbreak, and the driving force of passion. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the author of "Witch Child" and "Sorceress" comes another engrossing, atmospheric novel that follows a teenage boy's summer as he learns the secrets of the mysterious and provocative Wish House.
About the Author
Celia Rees has written many acclaimed novels for young adults, including WITCH CHILD and its sequel, SORCERESS. Of THE WISH HOUSE, she says, "Everyone has special places, special summers, special people, combined into times they will never forget. The people who live in the Wish House are fictional, but the events that happen are archetypal: first love, first sex, first experience with death." Celia Rees lives in Warwickshire, England.
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