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Catherine House

By Elisabeth Thomas
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

“[A] delicious literary Gothic debut.” –THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, EDITORS' CHOICE

“Moody and evocative as a fever dream, Catherine House is the sort of book that wraps itself around your brain, drawing you closer with each hypnotic step.” – THE WASHINGTON POST

A Most Anticipated Novel by Entertainment Weekly • New York magazine • Cosmopolitan • The Atlantic • Forbes • Good Housekeeping • ParadeBetter Homes and Gardens • HuffPost • Buzzfeed • Newsweek • Harper’s Bazaar • Ms. Magazine • Woman's Day • PopSugar • and more!

A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

Trust us, you belong here.

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine. For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had. But the House’s strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

115 Reviews

Thinking Face“I was never sure where this book was going. Regardless, the eerie liminal imagery and the details kept me sucked in. I, too, was enamoured of Catherine House. Although the end felt a little rushed, I did enjoy the overall experience and storytelling.”
Beautifully writtenComplexMind-bendingCreepyDark settingImmersive settingSurrealSeriousRushed ending
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes
Morally ambiguousBeautifully writtenMind-bendingCreepyDark settingMagical setting
“4.5 stars I don't know what it is about this book but as mad as it sounds, I'd like to go to Catherine House too.”
“I love a good mysterious boarding school story and this one didn’t disappoint. I did feel like the pacing was a bit slow and choppy at times but I really liked the sensual writing style and the gothic undertones. I didn’t love the ending but I think this type of ending will always be either loved or hated and that it’s very much a personal preference.”
“THIS IS THE WORST BOOK I’VE READ IN THE PAST 10 YEARS! MAYBE EVER! Please, I’m begging you, for your own sanity, do NOT read this book. If I could give it zero stars I would. If I could give it negative stars. I would. There isn’t a plot. It’s just you following along to this narrator who has no personality, no traits, no likes or dislikes, attempting to make herself sound normal. She alluded to a backstory that is never explained, her friends have much more of a personality than her. There really just isn’t a plot. Any plot. Nothing. The only information that is sort of a plot is within the last 85% of the book, and even then it’s not worth the time I spent. I had to check multiple times if this was written by a high school boy who was asked “what do you think college will be like?” And proceeded to talk about slutty girls, wine, and mysterious science experiments. What’s plasm? Still, no one knows. I’ll actively never ever read anything this author writes again and I’ll make sure my friends never read this. Oh my god I’m so angry I read this for a book club, but so excited to complain about the awfulness that was Catherine House.”

About Elisabeth Thomas

Elisabeth Thomas grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she still lives and now writes. She graduated from Yale University and currently works as an archivist for a modern art museum. This is her first novel.

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