The Little House

The Little House

by Philippa Gregory

Paperback(Large Print)

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In a Tantalizing departure for the bestselling author of Wideacre and, A Respectable Trade, Philippa Gregory now turns to a contemporary setting to tell the story of Ruth Cleary, a young woman who finds herself manipulated by an unbearable set of circumstances -- and ultimately -- pushed beyond her limits.

Ruth and her husband, Patrick, live in Bristol, where she works as a correspondent for a mediocre radio station and he is an up-and-coming TV news reporter. Their marriage is not ideal but the warmth offered by Patrick and his parents is a welcome change for Ruth, who was orphaned at the age of seven. Every Sunday Ruth and Patrick visit his parents at their 18th century manor farmhouse -- afternoons loved by Patrick -- and tolerated by Ruth.

Then "the little house" at the end of her in-laws' lane comes up for sale. When Ruth discovers that she is pregnant, she is persuaded by Patrick and his parents to abandon her career and move from their city apartment to the quaint home in the country -- everything Patrick's mother has always wanted. Ruth is lonely, uncomfortable and bitter. Her husband does not understand, and she is living under the watchful eye of a domineering mother-in-law. Even her own pregnancy seems like a burden. As circumstances threaten to overwhelm her, Ruth struggles to set her life straight with a precarious mix of good humor and outrage, composure and desperation. The result is an engrossing, tragicomic tale of dysfunction -- with an utterly surprising, ironic and intriguing conclusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568954226
Publisher: Cengage Gale
Publication date: 02/28/1997
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 367
Product dimensions: 6.56(w) x 9.53(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author


Yorkshire, England

Date of Birth:

January 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa


B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

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The Little House 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
kopsahl More than 1 year ago
Ruth and her husband Patrick’s life change drastically after Ruth loses her job and Patrick is offered an offer he can’t refuse. One of the changes is that Patrick’s overbearing parents have bought them the little house at the end of their road. Patrick thinks it would be great to live so close to his parents and since they have an (unplanned) baby on the way, Patrick finds it to be an ideal situation. Ruth does not feel that way. Ruth and Patrick’s mother Elizabeth do not get along. In Elizabeth’s eyes, Ruth can’t do anything right. As the story progresses, Elizabeth’s emotional abuse takes its toll on Ruth until Ruth can’t figure out what is real and what is not. Of course, Patrick thinks his mother walks on water and believes everything that she says. This is my first book that I have read of Gregory that isn’t historical fiction and I wasn’t disappointed but I wasn’t blown away. Throughout reading The Little House my forehead was in a permanent frown because I was just frustrated at times with Ruth and her lack of backbone, Patrick and his bratty ways, Elizabeth with her holier-than-thou attitude and Frederick and his oh-well approach. Gregory does well to make the reader emotionally involved with the characters. The dysfunction of the family itself is intriguing and you figure out really quick that Patrick had no chance at a normal life being raised the way he was and Ruth was just perfect prey for him. How Ruth handles her “problem” is a bit of a shocker. If you are looking for an acceptable psychological thriller to read I would suggest The Little House. The beginning is a bit slow but it lays the groundwork for the rest of the story and the ending will surprise you.
alabraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book by Philippa Gregory, published by Harper Collins in 1996, is very different from Philippa Gregory's writing style, but tells an interesting story. Based in contemporary Bristol England, it is the story of a woman struggling to find herself. She seems to have made a wonderful marriage to a successful television journalist and she herself is a radio journalist. Her husband is very close to his parents, closer than she would prefer and she is expected to be the dutiful wife. It explores family relationships and depression in great detail and ends with an unexpected twist. I would recommend this book as it is very surprising.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is amazing that the technical and legal information which is the basis of much of the threat to Ruth by her father in law (Frederick) and her mother-in-law (Elizabeth) are inaccurate in British law and has been for many years.