The Little House – Phillipa Gregory

Moving into a new house with your beloved husband and having a baby could be every woman’s dream. What if it becomes her nightmare?
A contemporary psychological thriller in the style of Ruth Rendell, from one of today’s most versatile and compelling storytellers. It was easy for Elizabeth. She married the man she loved, bore him two children and made a home for him which was the envy of their friends. It was harder for Ruth. She married Elizabeth’s son and then found that, somehow, she could never quite measure up! Isolation, deceit and betrayal fill the gaps between the two individual women and between their different worlds. In this complex thriller, Philippa Gregory deploys all her insight into what women want and what women fear, as Ruth confronts the shifting borders of her own sanity. Laying bare the comfortable conventions of rural England, this spine-tingling novel pulses with suspense until the whiplash double-twist of the denouement.

Jules’s Review

5 stars
I must say I never expected that this book would be so good! The cover showed a woman sad and depressed and I thought this would be another story in the style of Jodi Picault in which a major psychological drama will leave you feeling sad for days.
I was prepared when I started reading and without knowing I found myself drawn in into the story.
Ruth is the main character of the story. She’s an accomplished journalist (so a woman with a career) who unfortunately lost her parents in an accident when she was younger.
Looking for her family was a part of her life until she met Phillip (her current husband) who gave her a family (his mother and his father). Polite people, they loved their son over anything and accepted her into their house with open arms.
Ruth could not feel at ease though with them and when they tell them that the house down the road is for sale, Phillip decides to move there against her wish.
Now the funny part with this story is that she does not actually have anything in this life that is hers and hers alone. The apartment where they were living in was owned by his father and he could sell it when he wanted. His father also bought the new house and his mother decorated it for her.
If I had this much involvement from my in-laws into my life, I would go mad. And I think this is where the story got it right.
The “non-interfering”, always there, perfect housewife of a mother-in-law, who always thinks that you are not good enough for her boy, a spoilt husband that could never stand up and do what he needs to do to keep his family happy (let’s say momma’s boy) – the type who does not like to lift a finger around the house and thinks this is his wife’s “job” and a young mother (Ruth) suddenly found herself with a baby she had not planned for, without a job, with a difficult birth and generally alienated from friends in the distant house.
Loved the book. Loved the subtleness of inter-generations conflicts and the pattern into which some women are expected to fall when they become mothers and wifes.
I would not let anyone tell me what to do (and actually do it – I’d let them talk and do it my way either way). I would feel suffocated if anyone chose in my place WHERE I should live, WHAT I should eat and HOW my child would be raised.
Independence is a great asset and individuality should not be forgotten when entering a marriage.
Favourite Scene: When she kills her mother-in-law and gets away with it. Sorry for the spoiler.
Last favourite scene: The alienation and the inability to care for your baby. OK, I understand the C-section and the first milking, but if it were me, I would have tried to breast feed him until I got it right and not given up straight away with “ooh, the baby hates me” thoughts.

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