House of Dreams Mass Market Paperback – Jan 5 2004
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An English estate and a haunted castle in Spain provide scenic backdrops for best-selling Joyce's tale of two sisters, Tracy and Cass de Warenne, in love with a professor of medieval studies, Antonio de la Barca. When the affair between drop-dead gorgeous jet-setter Tracy and Antonio sours, the dashing Spaniard concentrates on Cass, a self-effacing romance novelist with a penchant for history. Strangely enough, their family trees are intertwined, spanning centuries of intrigue, revenge, and mysterious deaths. Once Joyce delivers her characters to Antonio's remote ancestral home, the stage is set for a beautiful ghost to take possession of her unsuspecting victims. Intent on making up for the suffering she endured long ago, Isabel wreaks havoc on the descendants of all whom she counts as enemies. With myriad twists and turns, much bloodshed, and plenty of passionate embraces, Cass and Antonio triumph over the unearthly obstacles threatening their happiness. And Isabel's spirit finds peace at last. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
An unquiet ghost stalks her living descendants, seeking vengeance for a long-ago betrayal.Cassandra de Warenne, who writes historical novels, had never heard of her ancestral relative Isabel de la Barca until the fateful night of her sister's swanky party for her rich and famous friends. Tracey de Warenne just wanted to give her pals first peek at a priceless antique ruby necklace which is to be auctioned off by Sotheby's, where she more or less works. (All these characters inhabit the moneyed dreamland where those mythical beings known as jet-setters and playboys still flourish.) But Tracey's latest flame, an "internationally-renowned" professor of medieval studies named Antonio de la Barca, points out that the necklace is identical to one adorning the snowy bosom of Isabel de la Barca in a portrait dated 1554. And Antonio adds that Isabel's maiden name, before she married into his illustrious family, was de Warenne. Cass is intrigued . . . and instantly smitten with the darkly handsome Antonio. Strange things begin to happen that very night, causing one and all to pack their bags to head for Antonio's spooky family castle in Spain. Yes, intones Joyce (The Third Heiress, 1999), the place is crumbling and sinister; and yes, the eyes in the portraits seem to follow everyone around. Ere long, Isabel's malevolent spirit raises all kinds of ghostly hell, and eventually possesses Tracey, who is so blond, chic, and thin that she represents an irresistible target. Cass must fight her very own sister practically to the death-but not before enjoying several emollient bouts of sex with the ever-smoldering Antonio. Guess who wins the good sister/bad sister shriekfest.Wide-eyed genre clichés alternate with steamy boudoir scenes, in a romance sure to delight readers who can't find paperbacks featuring white-clad damsels fleeing moonlit Gothic towers anywhere in their local supermarkets. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The tale itself is a mixture of mystery, historical novel, and romance. The base of the story is that a woman who died 400 years ago is linked to two families. She feels that these two families betrayed her and she's still out to get them. The story mixes modern world with the story of this woman from 400 years in the past. Meanwhile, in modern times, you've got a pretty scary ghost story going on. The story itself is highly entertaining, as long as you don't pay attention to the details. Think of it as that highly entertaining, but critically unaclaimed movie that you watch just for fun. If you get caught up in the details that just aren't right, then make a game of it, because otherwise, it will make you crazy.
When I say it needs proofing, I'm not kidding. There are places where a man is described as wearing a black coat and then two pages latter it's blue. She describes a young boy as having polio. Now this takes place in modern times and this child is less than ten years old. To my knowledge, a case of polio hasn't been reported in Western Europe in the last 10 or 20 years, so that's just totally bogus!! And then there was my favorite proofing error, "She hid her hands behind her face." I'm not sure this is anatomically possible.
Ms. Joyce needs to get a thesaurus to try and cure her overuse of the word gaze. She loves this word, both as a noun and a verb and in one nights reading, I kept track. The longest Ms. Joyce could go without using some variation of this beloved word was two pages.
If you want a fun read, go for it. But don't be looking for literary excellence.
I am glad that this book isn't the first book that I read by this author because I am sure I would not have picked up the "Deadly..." series and would have missed out on a good thing.
I didn't like this book in the least. First of all, it made no sense. Isabel, the ghost, had such power that she was able to manipulate events for over 400 years so that she managed to keep these two families entwined so that she could use them against each other to wreak her vengeance. But if she had that much power what was taking her so long to destroy these people? And then there was Cass, Antonio, Gregory and Catherine Why the heck were they so stupid? These people all knew a ghost was manipulating them, and yet they continued to hang out in the house. And whenever anybody went missing they always split up to go searching and they'd leave the kids behind. I'm sorry but if I am stuck in the middle of nowhere and I know that a malevolent ghost is running around, I am not gonna go exploring a house alone and I am not gonna leave my 8 year old niece and 10 year old son by themselves either. At least poor Tracey had no idea what was going on, so that part at least made sense. I think the book would have been much more suspenseful if everyone else had been like Tracey, truly at a loss as to what was happening and why.
And then there was the writing. It was repetitive and I felt as if the story were going in circles.Read more ›
The book started off well enough and the plot seemed interesting but halfway through I couldn't help but think I had heard this story before. A ghost taking over people's actions and thoughts making them do terrible things, the Blair Witch 2 had the same premise and it wasn't pulled off there too well either. Mainly Isabel's ghost was so malicious and Isabel's life or supposed tragic life didn't justify the seeming intent of the ghost to bring death and destruction to the families involved. It became hard to swallow and I kept waiting for something really horrible to happen to her to make sense of it all, the moment never came and it left you with a sense of huh?
In addition most ghost stories have people staying too long in someplace they should have left long ago and naturally that is what makes the story but this went on for far too long and it bordered on absurd at some points. I am trying not to put in any spoilers so I won't go into it in further detail.
All in all the book was enjoyable and I read it quickly, which is usually a good sign but I couldn't help thinking that it just didn't make sense for the ghost to be so evil in regards to her life. Had it been more tragic and had she been completely innocent of wrong doing maybe I could swallow it, but it wasn't she came across as just a stupid woman. Certainly not capable of the hatred descibed by the author. The romance part of the story seemed thrown together almost and if you suposedly loved your sister so much why would you sleep with her ex a day after the relationship ended? The characters were hard to connect with and it all just felt over done on the whole of the story.
Not terrible but far from great.
Most recent customer reviews
I don't know why I keep giving Ms. Joyce another chance. This one goes in the discard pile. I agree with the reviewer who described the book as "disjointed. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2002
When Cass de Warenne (the historian) and her sister Trace (the jetsetter) go to Spain as the uninvted guests of the (noted historian) Antonio de le Barca, everything starts to... Read morePublished on July 12 2002 by Pat Dubiel
This book was terrific. Unlike most of Brenda Joyce's novel's I have read, and I love all I have read this one was very different. I was ready for different. Read morePublished on May 1 2002
I loved this book! This is the second book by Ms. Joyce I have read, the first being The Third Heiress. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2002
I promised myself to read another BJ book after the Third Heiress. Like that read, if you love a love story that combines the past with the present to bring two people together,... Read morePublished on Dec 29 2001
I really love Breda Joyce's previous works. She is an excellent author. This one though, I feel she has lost her way just a wee bit. It is disjointed, and does not flow. Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2001
This is the first book I've read from this author and I must say I'll think twice about ever reading another. Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2001
This was the first book I read by her and I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read more.Published on Oct. 2 2001 by LAURA ANN BLANDO
Cassandra de Warenne is inexorably intrigued by her sister's new attraction - Antonio de Barca and soon their fateful meeting spells doom for both families. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2001 by Desmond Chan