Tuesday, June 19, 2018

11. The Gingerbread House by Maeva Park Dobner

That house is looming!
This was another great pick-up from the hospital used bookstore haul.  Like The Best People which I just read, this also protrays a closed milieu, the families of Orchard Street, a residential neighbourhood in an unnamed east coast city but somehow isolated from it.  At the end of the cul-de-sac is the old Gingerbread House where young Sara, newly out of the hospital for a breakdown after having been raped, arrives to be the new maid to Mr and Mrs Buford.  Things start out very well, almost too well, with the friendly confines of the neighbourhood harbouring some subtle malevolence.
The beginning of the book was really engaging and I was quite psyched.  The portrayal of the various families on the block was rich and intriguing.  Sara exploring the house, making friends with the cook and starting to just notice some curious things really drew me in. Unfortunately, the sense of menace and mystery is popped early on as two children are kidnapped at Halloween, having last been seen going into the Bufords.
I was a bit bummed at this point, but the narrative moved into more straight-up adventure mode with Sara in a serious pickle and it was done well enough that I got back into it.  Some of the plot was a bit flimsy, with people several times finding complex inner reasons why not to call the police when they saw something suspicious.  But the bad guy was really well portrayed and there is a light dusting of the supernatural and spiritual that made it fun.  It was a definite page-turner to the end for me.