FICTION//The House of Birds- Morgan McCarthy*



Hello! Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Not that I haven’t been reading- I have, but I’m not allowed to post much about that last book I read because it’s not out for another five months (but, oh, when I tell you about it, you’ll be glad)- but reading has been slow, what with the end of term fatigue meaning that I fall asleep at the drop of a hat and the mad amount of Christmas knitting I set myself meant that I couldn’t read as fast as I usually do. But no worries. I’m back and I have an interesting book to tell you about.

I am not going to lie to you about this- the cover sold the book to me. I mean, look at it: it’s beautiful, isn’t it? I love birds and I love the idea of having a room covered in bird wallpaper (but unfortunately I live in a house with man whose decorating nickname could be ‘Mr Beige’.) The story inside that cover is an intriguing one about a family feud, a discovered diary from the 1920s and the house at the centre of the whole thing.

Families, eh? The family in The House of Birds is being torn apart by the question of inheritance- in this case of a house. Oliver, the out-of-work and depressed boyfriend of the woman who has inherited the house, offers to oversee work to the house. Whilst there, he becomes obsessed with a diary found hidden in a series of books, detailing the life of Sophia Louis. The diary details Sophia’s life in the 1920s, a life in which she is trapped physically in an abusive marriage and mentally in a society that does not allow women much intellectual freedom. As he reads on, Oliver finds himself more and more drawn into a world that explains the bitter feud he’s found himself entangled in.

I found myself especially drawn to the diary sections of the novel, although I understood Oliver’s role as cipher (although he was quite a frustrating character at times, but I was happy with the way this played out eventually.) I would have quite happily just read Sophia’s diary; somehow she was so vibrant and compelling that she sometimes made the modern characters seem flat, as she was such an interesting character. However, I accepted that this was an interesting part of the novel- I was clearly being put in the same position as Oliver, which is really quite clever if you think about it. Anyway, I don’t want to give the game away with this, but if you like mysteries with a 1920s twist, you may enjoy this one.


  1. I love books with diary entry chapters, they speed up the story line like nothing else. I’m about to finish the Ballroom and the story line is split into 3 different characters and it’s going SO QUICK. Maybe too quick because that books is bloody amazing. I might pick up the House of Birds next, sounds like my cup of tea! x


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