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House of Gentle Men

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  • Posted January 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Touching And Thought Provoking

    The story in this book is beautiful and you'll get on a roller coaster of emotions as you read it. You wont forget this one once you've finished it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2002

    Great book!!

    Read the book in one day--simply could not put it down. The characters were tragically funny. The only bad thing about this book is that it came to an end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2002


    This book is great! I was really hooked to it that I finished it in 5 hours!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2000

    An amazing literary work

    What an amazing book! The brief storyline offered above piqued my interest but in no way prepared me for the depth of feelings and emotions I would experience when I met Charlotte and later, Justin. Having lived through a harrowing experience in her rape, Charlotte makes a very difficult decision to give birth to and abandon her baby. Years later, alone and lonely, she makes her way to the house of Gentle Men to befriend Justin, a man trying to atone for his sins of the past. The theme of the book is atoning for one's sins and forgiveness - Charlotte must not only forgive the soldier who took away her innocence, but she must also forgive herself for abandoning her baby. Through the house of Gentle Men, Charlotte and Justin aren't the only characters who seek and attain forgiveness - you'll have to read the book to learn more! For a first book, this is an excellent start and I hope to find more by Hepinstall very soon! Highly recommended and I will pass it on to everyone I know.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2000

    'House'--a mesmerizing read!

    Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Gravin is summarily raped by three young soldier recruits on training in 1941 in western Louisiana. This outrageous act causes her to become mute. She is also pregnant from this violation. Two weeks earlier, her mother had died in a fire, accidentally caused by her younger brother, and her father has taken to heavy drinking. And when the child is born, she abandons him after two days, leaving him on a tree stump. Charlotte seems to have the tribulations of the world on her shoulders. With ¿The House of Gentle Men,¿ author Kathy Hepinstall creates a novel that at once is disturbing, violent, complex. It is a story that deals with the suffering for the sin and the possible redemption thereafter and she does it in a convincing literary style that draws high praise. The pivotal point of the book is the actual house of the gentle men, a place where men service women in a gentle and genteel fashion, women who have been beaten, battered, abused, violated--in short, unhappy women who feel they cannot go on, their courage and stamina have been eroded almost completely. The men, all who have come to the House because of their own sins and demons work out their own redemptions and part of the bargain is that they work here to help others. They all have their own secrets, and as one characters says, ¿You see, this is as place of redemption. All redemption begins with a secret spilled.¿ This is not a house of sexual prostitution (intercourse is forbidden here). Enter, some eight years later, Justin, whose own guilt (he was one of the three soldiers who raped Charlotte) has grown beyond measure, seeks the House for his own salvation. His is such a distraught state that on the first night there, he attempts suicide. Ironically, that night is the first time that Charlotte has decided to seek help, and she requests Justin, not knowing who he is. Theirs is a relationship that blossoms steadily, until the inevitable revelation. This path of redemption through suffering is a long one and the author has long arms when it comes to her characters--disturbing, desperate, and even lovable as they are. They are memorable, with their scars, their handicaps, their infirmities. Labeled a ¿first novel,¿ ¿The House of Gentle Men¿ is an excellent introduction to a writer that deserves the critical praise. It¿s not an easy book to read, but the rewards are great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2000

    A perfect debut

    Kathy Hepinstall's The House of Gentle Men is a perfect debut. Told in deceptively unassuming language, this novel of loss, guilt and redemption touches the heart and satisfies the discerning reader's hunger for a beautiful story. The House of Gentle Men sits tucked back in the Louisiana woods, safe from prying eyes. The proprietor, a man trying to win back the wife who left him and his lack of attention, employs men damaged by their pasts to give the women who come under cover of night the affection missing in their lives. Charlotte is a local girl who comes to the house looking to assuage her grief and guilt over her mother's death, her own rape, and the loss of her child. Justin is an ex-soldier hoping to atone for his own unpunished sins by attending to this damaged woman. The revelations of their twinned shames will tear them apart, but it is forgiveness and love that will bring them both back to wholeness. The House of Gentle Men resonates with fear and hope. The lesser characters are as compelling and pained in their own ways as Charlotte and Justin. Richly atmospheric for all its simplicity, this book is a gorgeous, absolutely readable first novel that will leave its readers fulfilled, and desperately hoping that Kathy Hepinstall will do something as wonderful as this again soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2000

    very special drama

    1941 is the year that destroyed the teenager named Charlotte. First her mother died in a fire. Then three soldiers raped her. From that brutal day, Charlotte has not spoken one word since the attack. Charlotte abandons the baby born from that day of infamy........ Nine years later, Charlotte still suffers from battle fatigue from the abusive attack. She lives near THE HOUSE OF GENTLE MEN, a place where males can seek solace for the sins they have committed. Damaged women visit the despondent men every evening, but though they cuddle and dance together, intercourse remains unacceptable. The still mute Charlotte finds herself attracted to this house of male penitence. There she meets a remorseful Justin seeking to be forgiven for his participation in the raping of Charlotte nine years ago. As Charlotte and Justin begin to fall in love, he knows he must risk all he cherishes to tell his beloved the truth if they are to have a full and trusting relationship....... THE HOUSE OF GENTLE MEN is an intriguing tale that centers on remorse and redemption. The story line includes other vignettes besides the main one, but these blend back into the prime story line. The characters are interesting and fully developed as they struggle with guilt and pray for deliverance. If readers can accept the rules of the male retreat, they will enjoy a treat of a novel that is fresh and different, and will insist that Kathy Hepinstall provide more tales from this Louisiana house that is not a rising sun....... Harriet Klausner

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