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BOOK REVIEW: THE STRANGER HOUSE BY
The two strangers separately arrive at remote Illthwaite, England seeking information about their respective families. Math graduate student Australian Samantha “Sam” wants to learn more about her grandmother especially why she was exiled from here over forty years ago. Historian Miguel “Mig” Madero wants to obtain more information about an ancestor who sailed with the Spanish Armada in 1588 and may have landed here.
They both stay at THE STRANGER HOUSE where they meet and initially detest one another. However, though they seem like total opposites with her being a mathematical creature of logic while he is more of the spiritual compassionate historian, they soon find a common cause. Each wants to know the truth, which both feels will turn upside down what has been the explanation of what occurred to their respective relatives. Of course the villagers have much to hide and prefer the truth remain buried in the past.
Reginald Hill, taking a sabbatical from Dalziel and Pascoe, provides a deep thought-provoking thriller that grips the audience from the moment we enter THE STRANGER HOUSE and never let’s go even after the tale is finished. Readers will ponder how much of what is recorded as truth really happened the way it is described in the history books as facades often hide what the victors want concealed. Interestingly as “intelligent design” theory (can that mean Buddhism or Hinduism?) is pushed; Mr. Hill provides a similar debate but on a personal level as the mathematician and the historian argue over what reality is. This great novel makes the case that history requires open-mindedness unlike math because new myths form and debunk acceptable facts rather quickly.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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