The Children's Home

A Novel

The Children's Home

A “disquieting” (The New York Times) and mesmerizing tale from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor—a tale that “[stirs] the imagination in the manner of Roald Dahl or C.S. Lewis” (Winnepeg Free Press).

In a sprawling estate lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign. Then more children begin to show up.

Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgan’s lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgan’s library. But the children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgan’s past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgan’s mind.

“A one-of-a-kind literary horror story” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), The Children’s Home is “an absorbing and dream-like narrative that recalls both the pastoral gothic of Shirley Jackson and the dystopic vision of John Wyndham” (Columbus Dispatch). “Written with charm and restraint,” (The Missourian), Lambert’s American debut weaves elements of psychological suspense and neo-gothic horror to reveal the grotesque—as well as the glimmers of goodness—buried deep within the soul. “This genre-bending horror story is sure to haunt you in all the best ways” (Bustle).
  • Scribner | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501117404 | 
  • January 2017
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Children’s Home includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

In a sprawling, secluded estate lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a mysterious fortune. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper Engel. Then more children arrive.

The children behave strangely. They have an uncanny understanding of Morgan’s past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion are disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into hidden rooms, if not into thin air.

As time goes by, Morgan suspects that the children are there with a purpose, which they refuse to share, though it involves the fates of more than just those in the mansion. Ultimately, Morgan must confront his past, his family, and the source of his fortune.

 
Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Why does Engel call the first child, Moira, a living daylight? Why do you think the “living daylights” are the part of the soul most susc see more

About the Author

Charles Lambert
Photograph by Patrizia Casamirra

Charles Lambert

Charles Lambert is the author of many novels, short stories, and the memoir, With a Zero at its Heart, which was named one of The Guardian’s Ten Best Books of the Year in 2014. In 2007, he won an O. Henry Award for his short story, “The Scent of Cinnamon.” He has been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Lichfield Prize, and the Willesden Short Story Prize. He was born in Lichfield, England, and currently lives near Rome, Italy.

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