The Household

The highly anticipated, captivating new novel from the author of MRS ENGLAND and THE FAMILIARS

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Pub Date 11 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 21 Apr 2024
Bonnier Books UK | Manilla Press

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Description

Inspired by real historical figures and events . . . NOT ALL WHO ARE FALLEN WANT TO BE SAVED

London, 1847. In a quiet house in the countryside outside London, the finishing touches are being made to welcome a group of young women. The house and its location are top secret, its residents unknown to one another, but the girls have one thing in common: they are fallen. Offering refuge for prostitutes, petty thieves and the destitute, Urania Cottage is a second chance at life - but how badly do they want it?

Meanwhile, a few miles away in a Piccadilly mansion, millionairess Angela Burdett-Coutts, one of the benefactors of Urania Cottage, makes a discovery that leaves her cold. Her stalker of ten years has been released from prison, and she knows it's only a matter of time before their nightmarish game resumes once more.

As the women's worlds collide in ways they could never have expected, they will discover that freedom always comes at a price . . .

Inspired by real historical figures and events . . . NOT ALL WHO ARE FALLEN WANT TO BE SAVED

London, 1847. In a quiet house in the countryside outside London, the finishing touches are being made to...


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ISBN 9781838778491
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PAGES 400

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Featured Reviews

Stacey Halls fails to disappoint in this her latest historical novel. I was gripped from the opening paragraph and could not put the book down. She had me fully immersed in the drama, intrigue, and suspense, especially the lives of the ‘fallen woman’ There are so many twists and turns, that it kept me guessing until the end. This story telling is so interesting, and really fascinating, Stacey Halls has captured the true events of a time in history and turned it into the most beautiful story, that made me want to know more. about it. Another triumph to add to her collection.

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Calling all Dickensian fans!!.... You NEED this book!

✒️She does it again!!! @staceyhallsauthor who brought us The Familiars, The Foundling and Mrs England, strikes Dickensian gold with what I think is her best novel to date.

🏚️A home for the redemption of ‘fallen women’, Urania Cottage was co-founded by Charles Dickens in Shepherd’s Bush on the then western outskirts of London in the late 1840s following an approach by Angela Burdett-Coutts, heiress to the Coutts banking fortune. The Protagonists in the story are not only Angels the Heiress herself but also some of the "fallen women" who are offered the opportunity to stay at Urania Cottage, we learn if this is a beneficial choice for them or not!

✒️This author has the exquisite knack of combining lesser know historical and factual events and adds a lil sprinkling of fiction to form a story.
I'd never heard of Urania house before but since finishing the book I've inevitably fallen down the Google rabbit hole 🕳️ on the topic.

Even though it's denied, I'm convinced a motive for Dickens involvement was to gleen some true to life experiences from the residents of Urania Cottage for fodder for his novels..but regardless it was a wonderful project to give opportunities to those that needed it so badly

I've added a lil photo of my from The Charles Dickens museum in London, if ever you have chance to visit you must!

This dropped onto my Netgalley inbox just a few days ago but I knew I had to read it straight away...it's a winner!

✒️PUB DATE 11th APRIL 2024

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Stacey Halls has always been one of my favourite authors, and The Household may be her best yet. The atmosphere created is amazing, the characters, especially Martha and Josephine, are memorable, and the plot which mixes in fact with fiction, combine to make a first-rate novel.

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As always, Stacey Halls tells a bewitching story which transcends the limits of social classes, and focuses on female characters. I absolutely adored the characters in this book, particularly enjoying how multifaceted they were. Moreover, kindness - whether searching for it or bequeathing it - is quite an important theme, balanced between compulsory acts of service and decisive justice.
I found interesting that the characters question technical legalities on various scales, especially when they compared stealing stockings to colonising a whole country.
Another historical fiction book to treasure on our shelves!

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Set in 1847, a number of young, unfortunate women are given the chance to start a new life at Urania cottage on the condition that they do not disclose their pasts with each other.

Angela Burnett Jones is the extremely rich benefactor of the scheme. She quickly becomes more and more involved with the girls and their lives become intertwined.

Loved this book and couldn’t put it down. A brilliant historical fiction novel combining history, loveable and inspiring characters and atmospheric mystery.

I especially loved the characters and the bonds forged with each other. The fact that the novel is based on real historical events and characters made it even more special for me.

The cover is also beautiful and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy for my collection. Thank you so much NetGalley and Bonnier books for giving me the chance to read and review this title early.

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Gosh this was thrilling. The premise of the book was great, rich heiress feels the need to do something “useful” but the rich heiress, Angela, was a fascinating character and so was absolutely everyone you came across in the book- Mrs Holdsworth, the “fallen” women in Umbria cottage. I absolutely did not see the twist coming with Martha- I thought that was very clever and there were many moments where I felt very on edge whilst reading- such drama and intrigue! I feel like there is plenty of scope for a sequel, I for one would love to know what happens next for all of them!

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This is an author whom I have enjoyed work from before and this was no different. Totally engaging all the way through with well written characters and a dark atmosphere. I read this in two days as it was so good

Thanks to NetGalley for this arc

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Really enjoyable.
The stories of strong women, doing their best with what life has thrown at them.
To some degree, the men seemed a bit of a waste of space in comparison 😁

I was fully won over by Martha, Polly and Josephine.
All their story lines weaving together, with a fixed point of the cottage, worked incredibly well.
My favourite Halls book so far.

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Historical fiction at its best: elements of fact and truth seamlessly interwoven with a strong storyline. I knew nothing about this side of Charles Dickens and it was fascinating to learn about the cottage and his attempts to help fallen women. The characters were all believable and well-written and drew me into the story; I particularly enjoyed how the girls pulled together and formed bonds in difficult circumstances. Recommended to anyone who enjoys quality historical fiction.

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Having thoroughly enjoyed Stacey Halls' previous novels, I eagerly anticipated reading The Household, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. Set in 1847, the narrative unfolds at Urania Cottage, where a group of young women, each burdened with unfortunate pasts, are offered the chance to embark on a fresh start, under the condition that they keep their histories secret from one another.

The novel, like its predecessors, captivated me from start to finish, presenting a compelling blend of historical fiction, endearing characters, and an evocative mystery that held me in its grip.

I extend my gratitude to NetGalley and Bonnier Books for the opportunity to read and review this title in advance. This book has not only enriched my literary experience but also reaffirmed my admiration for Stacey Halls' storytelling prowess. Highly recommended for those who appreciate a perfect blend of history, compelling characters, and a touch of mystery.

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Stacey Halls is a favourite author of mine and "The Household" is an excellent addition to her growing catalogue. I was unaware of Urania Cottage social experiment and the famous names of Charles Dickens and Angela Burdett-Coutts who were behind it. The main stars were the girls that occupied the house and their stories of how they got there and what they did afterwards. A touching story about giving girls a second chance.

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I've read four books already by this author, and this one is the best. Set in Dickensian London it is based on a real story of a house set up to help fallen women develop their lives and teach them to better themselves. The characters in this book feel real from the start. Very good read. Thank you to Net Galley for an advanced copy.

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I have read a number of other books by this author and she never disappoints. I was totally engrossed in this story and couldn’t put it down. Atmospheric, with brilliantly drawn characters. Highly recommended.

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I love Stacey Halls novels so when I saw she had a new book I requested it without even reading the synopsis.

The Household is set in 1847 London and its suburbs. It is centred around Urania Cottage which has been established to help "fallen" women improve their lives.

Angela is a benefactor of the cottage who has many demons of her own.

The relationships between the women, both "fallen" and "respectable", develop quickly and deeply.

I adore the way Stacey Halls writes and draws you into the story and makes the characters feel so real.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

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I have enjoyed all of Stacey Halls previous books, and was thrilled to receive this copy of her latest book to review. One of this author’s strengths is her historical research, with her books based on true events, and yet again we are transported to Victorian England and become engrossed in the period. This is a steady paced book with characters that readers become invested in and I enjoyed it. Thank you NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the advance review copy.

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Never been grateful for getting a bad cold at Christmas before, but it gave me a great excuse to immerse myself in this book! Loved every minute of it and couldn’t wait to grab it and return to each thread of the story. The characters were great, with human depth and contradictions, not at all one-dimensional. I found myself pondering how well-intentioned help is not always received as such, and also how the early Victorian era was not immune to the concept of celebrity stalkers. I’ve read all of Stacey Halls’ books and am just disappointed I’ll have to wait a while for the next one! Sincere thanks to the publishers for the advance copy, in return for this honest review.

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💫Book Review 💫

The Household by @staceyhallsauthor

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publication date: 11 April 2024


Set in 1847, Charles Dickens has set up Urania Cottage, a home for “fallen” women to help them prepare for a better life. They go to school and learn to sew before eventually emigrating to Australia for a better life.

The story follows wealthy Angela Coutts who has funded the house as she becomes entwined with the fallen women and involved in their stories.

I went into this book pretty blind but definitely didn’t expect it to be a mystery/thriller. There was suspense throughout with a stalker, missing women and a plot twist.

I’m really into historical fiction at the moment so this book was made even better knowing it was based on a real house and that Charles Dickens and Angela Coutts are real people. I loved getting to know about the fallen women and the bond they all form from being women in a time where women very rarely get second chances to amend their mistakes.


Thank you to @netgalley, @staceyhallsauthor and @manilla_press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

#thehousehold #staceyhalls #netgalley #book #bookstagram #booklover #bookreview #bookstagrammer #bookish #bookishpost #bookishlove #whatimreading #charlesdickens #historicalfiction

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Contemporary readers, familiar with the stories of Charles Dickens, will know that mid-nineteenth century England did not look upon women as remotely equal to men and woe betide them if they made a mistake or committed a crime, be it ever so minor. What readers might not know is that Dickens was founder of a safe haven for former well-behaved prisoners, named in ‘The Household’ as Urania Cottage, alongside Angela Burdett-Coutts, a philanthropist and one of the richest women in England.
Those living at Urania Cottage were expected to learn how to manage a household, becoming accomplished cooks and seamstresses so that they might emigrate to Australia when the committee decided they were ready, putting their past lives behind them.
Stacey Halls introduces us to the redoubtable Mrs Holdsworth, a sympathetic yet shrewd instructor and her household of women, in particular Martha, Polly and Josephine. As the story unfolds, we learn a great deal about the girls and their families, as well as their wealthy female benefactor. Whilst the latter has all the creature comforts one could wish for, she is just as troubled and tortured as those who have been punished by the law.
This is a wonderfully told and fully involving story. Stacey Halls has clearly researched her subject matter in great detail and the narrative feels authentically nineteenth century without tipping into clumsy pastiche. Highly recommended.
My thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier Books UK, Manilla Press for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

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I'm a big supporter of Stacey - we have successfully launched both the Familiars and the Foundling when they first came out, and I stayed close to her writing since. I was looking forward to the Household with it's excellent premise originating from the history of Urania Cottage. As always, it was educating and interesting to read about this unknown piece of London history and to imagine what that life could have looked like. The book was quite gentle, the pacing was also a little slow, but I enjoyed the setting and following the characters' journey. I'd be very keen to learn more about it and to have a glimpse into the writing process behind it.

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An absolutely brilliant historical novel, set in Urania House, a home for unfortunate women based on a real place set up by Charles Dickens (who features in the book in a supporting role) One of the benefactors of the home is a wealthy young woman, Angela, whose life has been blighted by a stalker who has remained persistent for over 10 years.
Most of the characters are the young women who become resident at this charitable insitution, whoch provides a safe haven and comfortable lodgings for lasses who have recently left prison, been orphaned, mistreated or otherwise fallen by the wayside.
The characters are wonderfully drawn and the story of their lives is satisfying and complex.
There is Mrs Holdsworth the matron/ housekeeper put in charge of the women, and the residents themselves, scarred Josephine, lonely Martha, seeking her missing sisters, to name just two.
The twists and turns are manifold and the story weaves and winds keeping the reader turning the pages. It provided me with great entertainment over some dull winter days and I applaud the author whose previous works I have also greatly enjoyed.

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I found this book very interesting especially as it us loosely based on actual events. I had no idea of Charles Dickens interest in setting up a home for 'fallen' women so this book was a history lesson as well as a great story.

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Urania cottage was set up by Charles Dickens. This is a fictional account of some of the women who lived there, which was extremely interesting. I could not put this book down and have since found out more about Urania cottage which I had never heard of before reading this book.

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A brilliant book for fans of Historical Fiction. Readers are transported back to Dickensian London to a very real home for ‘fallen women’ - Urania Cottage and given numerous perspectives surrounding life there. Routed in social commentary and capturing the essence of the time of expertly, this was a book I couldn’t put down and read in a matter of days. A skilful novel of intrigue, deception and escape, not to be missed!

Having read Stacey Halls’ previous novels, when I saw proofs had been released, I was very hopeful I’d get a copy and was gripped by this. Many thanks to Netgalley and Bonnie Books for the ARC.

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The incredible resilience of the women in this book was the thing I enjoyed the most. Based on real people - such as Angela Counts, Charles Dickens and Richard Dunn, the author weaves an intimate, dark and compelling story imagining the other women's lives and emotions in this vivid story. The pace at the start gave space for me to get to know each character and to understand motives..The writing is beautiful and evocative. The menace palpable. The loyalty and love deeply moving.

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I really enjoyed ‘The Foundling’ by Stacey Halls so was very happy to receive an ARC of ‘The Household’ from Netgalley. The Household revolves around a rehabilitation house for women recently released from prison. Urania House is funded by a rich heiress called Angela and organised by Charles Dickens to teach the women new skills and prepare for new lives in the colonies. The story starts off slowly as we get acquainted with the women in Urania House, their housekeeper Mrs Holdsworth, the chaplain that visits regularly and Angela. It becomes clear that the women are all haunted by their pasts, none can make the clean break they hoped for and this has knock-on effects to all involved in Urania House. The pace picks up in the second half of the novel and I struggled to put it down while I waited to discover what would happen to all the women - the ending is tied up a little too cleanly but is nonetheless satisfying.

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Another first rate, wonderfully historically detailed novel from this very talented author. I always enjoy her work on two levels - a clever, well constructed fictional storyline coupled with highly informative historical facts that I'm compelled to Google further whilst reading. Loved it!

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The Household by Stacey Halls
I have read all of Stacey Halls previous novels and therefore was delighted to receive a copy of her latest novel to review. It is set in Dickensian London and features real characters such as Dickens and Angela Burdett Coutts. I was fascinated to find out about this aspect of history with which I was unfamiliar; Urania Cottage did actually exist and was established as a home for fallen women so that they could be housed, and educated ready to be deported to Australia. The author raises some very interesting issues related to the lives of women who were repressed within society and even those who had money had little power to control their own lives.
I was fascinated by the story related to the heiress Angela Burdetts Coutts, of Coutts Bank, and her stalker who pursued her determinedly for years on end. Her persecution only paused whilst her stalker was imprisoned. It was fascinating to see the way in which Charles Dickens, who supported Urania Cottage, was portrayed. I was impressed by the way in which these fascinating characters were developed the story of their lives was engaging and the twists and turns which the story took were numerous. I particularly liked the characters of Josephine (whose badly scarred face gives her an element of freedom) and poor Martha, searching endlessly for her sisters who she feels she has betrayed.
I will be recommending this book at my various book clubs and would like to thank the author, the publishers and Net Galley for the opportunity to read the book in return for an honest review.

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The Households’ tells the story of the inhabitants, employees and the benefactress of Urania Cottage, a home set up by the wealthy Angela Coutts for unfortunate women. Featuring a host of brilliantly drawn women in 19th Century London, the reader quickly becomes absorbed into the challenges these women face, the friendships that help them through their struggles and the hopes that may or may not be realised.

These characters include Josephine (a young woman newly released from prison), Martha (who is desperately searching for her missing younger sister, Emily) and Mrs Holdsworth (the well-meaning but overworked matron of the cottage). Throw into the mix a cruel and relentless stalker for Angela, as well as sense of unfulfilled love for more than one of the characters … and we have an absorbing and thoroughly entertaining novel. We even have some cameo appearances for Charles Dickens.

Stacey Halls is a brilliant writer and her latest narrative doesn’t disappoint.

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I loved this book-I knew nothing about Urania Cottage,where Dickens ,along with a group of benefactors ,set up a scheme to give ex-prisoners and prostitutes a chance to make a new start in life.It also involved the wealthy heiress,Angela Burdett-Coutts, whose life was fascinating ,and it made me go and find out more about her.
Angela was stalked for years by an Irish lawyer called Richard Dunn ,and this forms quite a large part of the story.I thought this was a 21st century crime,but I checked online,and it really happened .
There are some great characters in the book,and the women are very sympathetically portrayed.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review which reflects my own opinion.

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Set in 1847 in London centering around Urania Cottage, a home for "fallen" women co-founded by Charles Dickens. The story follows wealthy heiress Angela Coutts, who becomes involved with the young women residing in the cottage as she grapples with her own demons.
I loved this as much, if not more than I loved Mrs England and the Familiars!!!
A highly recommended well-crafted novel by this accomplished author.

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I loved this! I wasn’t a huge fan of The Familiars so I wasn’t expecting much from this but I was very pleasantly surprised! The characters were all well-drawn individuals, each with attributes that allows the reader to empathise with them in some way. The plot was strong and intriguing yet still gave room for the characters to take centre stage. This is a triumph of a novel and one that I’m sure will be a great success.

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‘Life is a balance sheet of who you have in your life and who you’ve lost. And very often they aren’t fairly weighted’

"The Household," is a real treat captivating the reader with its rich tapestry woven from real historical figures and events. Set in London, 1847, the narrative unfolds in the secrecy of Urania Cottage, a refuge for fallen women co-founded by Charles Dickens and heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts. The characters, diverse and nuanced, reveal the complexities of second chances and the price of freedom.

Halls masterfully combines lesser-known historical events with a sprinkle of fiction, bringing Urania Cottage and its residents to life. The novel delves into the lives of these women, offering a glimpse into their pasts and the opportunities the charitable institution provides. As the worlds of Angela Burdett-Coutts and the residents collide, a captivating story of redemption and sacrifice emerges.

The historical accuracy, peppered with imaginative storytelling, creates a compelling reading experience. The exploration of Dickens's philanthropy and the challenges faced by the "fallen women" adds layers to the narrative. The book's thematic focus on kindness, justice, and questioning societal norms resonates, making it a valuable addition to historical fiction.

Stacey Halls's meticulous research is evident, providing readers with a glimpse into Charles Dickens's project and Angela Burdett-Coutts's benevolence. The novel seamlessly intertwines fiction and historical facts, making it both educational and entertaining. Halls's ability to transcend social classes and highlight female characters adds to the book's charm.

If you are a fan of well researched historical fiction, Dickens or masterfully written female characters, this will be a real gem for you. You can get your hands on it from April 11th 2024

A heartfelt thank you to @netgalley, @manilla_press, and @staceyhallsauthor for graciously providing me with this captivating e-arc in exchange for my sincere review.

Tags: historical fiction, XIX century, Victorian, based on real events, suspenseful, mystery,

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Wow a fascinating and interesting novel. Loosely based on real events ‘The Household’ tells the story of a group of young women who find themselves at Urania Cottage, a home for fallen women that was set up by Charles Dickens and Angela Coutts amongst others. The characters were well drawn, even Dickensian I’m some instances and the writing carried the plot along at a pace.
Excellent read!

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Urania cottage, a real life venture founded by heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts and Charles Dickens in the late 1840s, serves as the setting for this novel in Victorian England about the rehabilitation, retraining and redemption of ‘fallen women’. Namely, those driven into prostitution by circumstance and poverty.

There is a wide array of characters and the girls are drawn sympathetically. Halls gradually provides lots of hints and little details about these girls’ stories, but they are never salacious, instead they provoke empathy and in some cases rage on their behalf from the reader. However, I found that there were very few strong and moral male characters. They are generally certainly less likeable and have multiple dubious motivations. Even Charles Dickens is portrayed as partly keen to establish the cottage so as to provide first-hand observation and information about the women, following lengthy one to one interviews with them, to use in his writing.

I really liked the characters of Mrs Holdsworth and her son Frank, they and the Browns, who work for Angela, seemed to be the only steady and reliable characters for most of the tumultuous events.

I had some reservation concerning the arc of one of the characters (based upon a real-life person) as I found a strand of their storyline rather unbelievable and cringeworthy. They are said to have been deeply religious and with extremely good intentions towards others in real life, their actions seemed impulsive and implausible, but I will not spoil any of the storyline.

When I finished The Household I found myself wanting more. I wanted to remain at the cottage and meet more new arrivals.

The long voyage to Australia was fraught with danger and uncertainty from the perils of the sea, overcrowding and the danger of catching fatal disease, not to mention that the country was still in a rather rough and fledgling state. I would love a further instalment about what happened next should any of the inmates emigrate…

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

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Another great book from Stacey Halls. I first discovered Halls as a random pick on @borrowbox a few years ago, and have read all of her books so far. She writes primarily about women in historical times. The women are usually at the bottom of the social system and I think she brings great insight into what it was like to live at these times. So her books are always worth reading for this insight alone.
In this book, there is a generous benefactor (Angela) looking to help women who have struggled get back on straighter life path. But Angela has her own demons and they start impacting on the women she is trying to help. There is a great housekeeper in the story, a tough nut who really wants to help too. The story kept me engaged. As ever it is the detail in how people lived at these times that makes this book enjoyable for me. If Marian Keyes wrote historical fiction, I think this is how and what she’d write.
I was gifted an ARC from @bonnierbooks_UK via @netgalley
Published on 11th April 2024

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the chance to read an ARC of The Household, in exchange for an honest review. This one’s a stunner., a captivating decadently rich story full of an entire cast of wonderful characters. It’s got it all, mystery, romance, intrigue. I’m a huge fan of historical/ period drama type books, so this was just like settling down on Sunday night for me. It’s definitely got echoes of Upstairs Downstairs and Downtown Abbey at its heart. I hope it gets adapted, because what a read.

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I really enjoyed this historical novel. I have read others by Stacey Halls and equally enjoyed this one.

Urania Cottage is a charitable project involving Charles Dickens and an heiress, Angela Burdett-Coutts. Here young women are offered the chance for a new life away from the temptations of London. We met Martha, Josephine, Polly and Annie - all of whom have suffered and need a new start.

Angela is dealing with her own issues - a long-term stalker and an unrequited love interest - her story becomes embroiled with the cottage and its occupants.

The characters are well drawn and complex - very quickly you are feeling empathy for both the girls and Angela as they seek to escape their ‘demons’. I liked the historical details and found myself immersed in London of Dickens’ time.

A satisfying read. To be recommended.

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A brilliant historical novel. I was hooked from the start.
The story of Angela Coutts and her relationship with the residents of Urania House is fascinating.
Urania House, co -founded by Angela Coutts and her friend Charles Dickens, is a home set up to educate and train wayward young women in household duties so that they can eventually start a new life in Australia.
The author's descriptions of the seedier parts of London and the violence towards young women are particularly vivid.
Angela herself has had a stalker for many years and her fear is so well portrayed.
I was rooting for the characters who come and go from Urania House, especially Martha and Josephine.
I am a big fan of Stacey Halls and I think this novel is her best to date. Highly recommend.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC.

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Charles Dickens famous writer , in tandem with an acquaintance a rich benefactor keen to be involved in charity work begin a social experiment to house fallen women into a safe house and attempt to introduce a life changing set of skills to change their circumstances before offering the opportunity to emigrate to Australia. The waifs and strays and fallen women of London are housed with a responsible housekeeper in a prepared cottage and educated in preparation for a better life. The rich benefactor has serious problems of her own in the form of a besotted stalker with evil intentions. One house,, a mix of frightened girls, vulnerable to outside influences and naivety with each hiding secrets weighing them down and struggling in an alien environment .A storyline based in the sewers and higher echelons of Victorian London leading to corruption, violence and degradation. A well drawn picture drawing on the precarious position of women in a society dependent on marriage, wealth or the largesse of a patron to provide protection from the ever present dangers and corruption.Many thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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This is the first novel of Stacey Halls' that I've read and I must say I very much enjoyed it. I knew nothing about the charitable endeavour of Dickens and the immensely wealthy Angela Burdett Coutts in starting Urania Cottage and providing a future for 'fallen women'. Indeed I read the book not knowing it was based on fact and only looked up the details when I had finished the text. It is a testament to the writing that it all feels very authentic and genuine.
This is the story of a group of girls/young women, who have ended up in jail, yet are chosen by a committee of well minded people as being redeemable. When they have finished their sentences they are taken to Urania Cottage where they are taught how to be a servant and cook, and how to read and write and even how to play. musical instruments. The thought is that they will then leave England and take up a new life in the colonies away from the temptations that put them in jail in the first place.
The stories of these girls are intricately tied up in the novel with the life of the benefactress, Angela Burdett Coutts. There are some good twists in the plot so their stories blend together, with a satisfying ending.
It was good to follow the different characters's journeys through the story and the sense of place and the rather varied Victorian morals come through very well. I did find the pacing a little slow in places and I wasn't entirely blown away by the character of Richard Dunn but I was happy to suspend judgement and read to the end.
With thanks to Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for an early copy in return for an honest review.

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Anyone who knows me will know that queen of historical fiction, Stacey Halls, is one of my favourite authors ever - so I'm very grateful/excited to have been approved for an advanced copy of her newest novel, The Household! (Huge thank you to NetGalley and Manilla Press!)

The Household is set at Urania Cottage, a real-life house for 'fallen women' founded by Charles Dickens and Angela Burdett-Coutts (who feature as characters in the book!) back in the 1800s. We follow a group of young women who are sent to the institution following release from prison - and in true Stacey Halls style, there's some dark twists and turns along the way.

Did I love this one as much as Stacey Halls' other books? Maybe not. My attention started to waver a little bit, hence the 4 stars, but I did still love it nevertheless. If you've got this one on pre-order or are planning to buy it in April, then you're in for a treat!

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I loved this book, absolutely filled with mystery and intrigue that is so decadent. The characters - individuals woven and their stories told so beautifully.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Manilla Press for sending me this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

The Household by Stacey Halls is based on real historical figures and some real life events, although it is historical fiction. The book had me hooked from the start.

The story explores how women were treated during the Victorian era, as well as how easy it was for ordinary women to fall into the seamier side of society. Plus there is a twist in the tale that I did not see coming, one that made the book almost impossible to put down.

Angela Burdett-Coutts, heiress to the Coutts fortune, funded the establishment of a halfway house, Urania Cottage, for a few young women near the end of their jail terms in the mid 1800’s. Following their stay at the cottage, the idea was that the women would emigrate to Australia.

While Urania Cottage was not exactly freedom, there were clean linens, hot food and the promise of an education, a paradise compared to the prisons and the lifestyle the young women had left. The Household explores how powerless women were in the Victorian era, and how many were forced into lives of crimes.

Despite her wealth and position, even Angela Burdett-Coutts had to rely on the help of more powerful men. Angela also had issues of her own, including a stalker and extortionist, Richard Dunn, who plagued her for years.

As the story evolves, Angela’s life becomes terrifyingly entwined with the lives of the young women at Urania Cottage in ways she and they cannot possibly have imagined.

From Martha, the first inhabitant of Urania Cottage to Mrs Holdsworth and Angela Burdett-Coutts herself, Stacey Halls has built on historic events to create rich, complex characters I felt real empathy for. Her portrayal of Richard Dunn shows him as the villain he was, and in the story, he threatens not only Angela, but also the whole future of the household. I was on tenterhooks as the story played out.

The Household is fascinating, a real page turner, and I highly recommend it.

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Thank you for my copy of this book to read and review.

I have read all of Stacey Halls previous books and would class her as one of my favourite authors...therefore I was really happy to see she had a new one coming out.

I was drawn to the setting of this book with the home for fallen women...it sounded very intriguing and in a setting I knew little about. I liked that it was based on fact as I enjoy learning things from the books I read too.

It had me gripped from the first chapter and kept my interest til the end.

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At this point, I will pick up a Stacey Halls book without having to know what it's about. I know it'll be written with compassion for her characters, sensitivity, and outstanding research. This one is no exception.

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Angela Burdett-Coutts was a philanthropist in the Victorian era with a passion for education for all. This fictional story involves her, alongside the more well-known Charles Dickens. Stacey Halls weaves a compelling narrative which entwines real places and people with fictional characters and situations, to create a book which both enthralls and encourages compassion for those in different circumstances.

I admit I wasn't a fan of The Familiars but Stacey Hall's narrative in The Household is captivating and I had difficulty putting it down. I'm also now further intrigued by Angela Burdett-Coutts and will be seeking out more about her.

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In 19th century London, Urania House, a home for reformed female prisoners, is founded by Charles Dickens and other supporters.

These “fallen women” are impoverished women driven to theft and prostitution, fleeing from abuse or carrying the guilty secret of a past illegitimate child.

The hidden cottage is a strict and restricted life, too quiet for some despite the warm beds and regular food.

Meanwhile, rich benefactor Angela Burdett-Coutts discovers that her stalker of ten years has escaped, forcing her to look around every corner again.

Initially neglectful of her pet project, Angela begins to find she has more in common with these women than any of them could ever have suspected.

Told through the eyes of a wonderfully varied range of characters – Martha, Angela, and Josephine – Stacey Halls treats us to another heart-wrenching and compelling historical novel with the hard reality of women’s lives at its very core.

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This book was fabulous. I really enjoy the timeline and how the book centred on a few different characters who ultimately had a link somehow. Stacey Halls is at her best when she’s writing about strong female characters.

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When I hear Stacey Halls is publishing something new, I do a wee jump for joy. She is one of those authors whose latest releases I eagerly anticipate, and I’m so thrilled to have this chance to review an early copy of her most recent work.

True to her niche, and living up to my expectations, Halls delivers another plush Historical novel of the Victorian era, and with ‘The Household’, Halls masters what A. K. Blakemore, in a comparable ilk, achieved beautifully last year with ‘The Glutton’ (comparable mostly in that I’m an avid advocate of both!). That is, specifically, blending actual historical figures with fictional narratives, as Halls did with the Pendle Hill witch trials in ‘The Familiars’ in 2019. But the difference here is that with the inclusion of Dickens, Halls calls upon a readymade backdrop of Dickensian London and announces ‘The Household’ as a palimpsest of that vast ouevre, fashioning this latest novel as expansive in a way that her previous novels haven’t been – employing a subtle metafictional self-consciousness.

Even though ‘The Household’ did evoke scenes from ‘The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep’ (H. G. Parry) for me now and again, Dickens, in fact, plays a purely figurative role in this novel.

Other reviewers, no doubt, will give succinct synopses of Halls’s plot, so what I’d like to spotlight is the author’s superlative writing style. There is such self-possession in her craft: ‘[now] it is November, the infirmary is full, and the morgue waits below like a baby bird with its beak open.’

Numerous times in a chapter, I’d catch my breath at Stacey Halls’s poised similes and imagery, the way she conjures life in such fine detail, her writing so overfull with vitality:
‘The day after Josephine left, Martha and two others did the laundry. She washed Josephine’s raspberry dress, plunging it again and again into the hot water, watching its sleeves struggle to the surface like a woman drowning.’

The characterisation in ‘The Household’ is magnificent; though all of the characters engender emotion. I cared deeply for Josephine, Martha, and the sympathetic main characters:
‘Her mother she misses dearly, but there was something about being the youngest and a girl that made her feel like a Christmas present to her father.’

Pacing is different than I remember from any of the author's previous novels: when things speed up, they really do speed up, and it feels like we are truly hurtling toward the end, when the story reaches its last few movements. I can see, though, how it might dishearten some readers. Nevertheless, I felt myself enormously invested in the tension between protagonist and antagonist. In fact, 'The Household' reminded me, to a slight extent, of Laura Purcell’s ‘The Silent Companions’. If you love Purcell, you’ll love this!

Many thanks to Stacey Halls, Bonnier Books UK, and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my review. Hopefully, publisher and author will pardon me for citing from a pre-publication copy:

‘[Urania Cottage] reminds Martha of a doll’s house, of a staged domestic life where, upon closer inspection, the fire is a pile of ribbons and the windows are pasted shut.’

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I enjoyed this. It took me a little while to get all the characters sorted out in my head at the beginning - there are a lot, and some aren’t evoked in detail. Before reading, I didn’t know anything about the historical basis for it, or about Angela Burdett-Coutts (who is a great character), and doing some quick googling enhanced my enjoyment, but it definitely wasn’t necessary to follow the story. Really glad that Stacey Halls kept Charles Dickens on the edges and chose to focus on the lives of the women. I think if she’d brought him more central, he would have overpowered the whole thing.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC.

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This is the first book that I have read by Stacey Halls.
This story is based on fact which I believe makes it even more interesting.
It follows the journey of a group of young women on leaving prison to a house (Urania Cottage) in the countryside which is at a secret location. This house offers refuge for the fallen women,giving them a second chance at life.
It also follows millionairess Angela Burnett-Coutts ( a benefactor of Urania Cottage) who has been stalked for 10yrs and he is now being released from prison. Angela is very worried as she knows that this man is extremely dangerous and will be out for revenge.
I would thoroughly recommend this book especially if you enjoy reading books in the dickensian era.
An exceptionally well written book and it shows that Stacey has done a thorough research of the subject.

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Historical fiction at its very best! In the 1840s a group of women who have done what they must to survive are offered the opportunity to transform their lives at Urania Cottage, a home set up by philanthropists including Charles Dickens. The aim of the home is to train the young women in the niceties of society and to send them to Australia to begin new lives where their pasts will not follow them. The girls have committed various crimes, but must not tell each other about their pasts. They are confined to their new home, but inevitably they begin to drift away, often back to the streets of London, where their unsavoury pasts catch up with them in various ways. This is a very fine story indeed, with convincing characters and settings and plenty of twists and turns as the young women find the places where they belong, and those who support them have their own views challenged beyond endurance.

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The Household by Stacey Halls. I have a very love hate relationship with Stacey, I love the concept of her books but they have been a bit wishy washy, this is the best she’s written though. A little house is set up to reform women who need reforming, Charles Dickens is a patron, he doesn’t turn up though. The girls who end up in there are lost souls and you can’t help but feel for them and want them to do well. Angela is a very rich woman who turns up to help them and she has a stalker and it’s said stalker where I feel like Stacey did her wishy wash thing. Give me a bit more background on this please. It was a good book, I really enjoyed it but I just needed a smidge more back story. My take away from this is men are weird.

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The first novel I ever reviewed on NetGalley was Mrs England by Stacey Halls and I loved it. And this is no different I've read all her previous novels and consider myself a fan. Halls writes historical fiction that centres in the lives of women in all their messy, complicated glory. Character and plot drive her novels but the writing is also superb.

Reading this over three days was a joy, I looked forward to being able to get back to it at the end of a busy day. And now I can't wait for the next!

Just a superb novel, highly recommend

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I enjoyed this right from the start and read it very quickly. The author captures the London of the times so well it's like being there, the characters are well-drawn and believable. I found it a little confusing towards the end, with who did what and found the ending a little abrupt - not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the book, it was a great read.

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Stacey Hall does it again and this time I didn’t even read the blurb on the back before getting stuck in. This time she tells the story of Urania house, a house for “fallen women” set up by Charles Dickens. I became invested in the lives of Martha and Josephine. I do feel that the story ended rather abruptly though with some unanswered questions. A really good read that I will definitely be recommending to others .

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Usually, historical fiction doesn’t tickle my fancy. I love history and I love books but the characters in this genre of novels fall flat for me and, despite being historically accurate, I find the language puts me off as I struggle to connect with the story when the language is used like that.
Stacey Halls, however, manages to write accurate historical fiction all while using contemporary language that fit’s within the natural dialect of the characters. This is a big plus for me.
Usually, Halls novels focus on one central character and their story, but the mix of different perspectives, backgrounds, and class is an engaging way to see how the world treats these women and how different their situations are. Especially since she shows the juxtaposition of the women in the cottage and the high society heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts. It’s really refreshing to see especially since Angela genuinely cares about these women like they are all her little sisters.
If I had to give any criticism it would be having more of a backstory on one of the young women Martha. She is one of the only women who is well educated and not come from prison but from a Magdalen laundry. I know it’s implied what the story behind that was, but I would have liked a bit more. I also didn’t really understand why Richard Dunn stalked Angela for over a decade (this isn’t a spoiler by the way they tell you at the start!).

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I loved Stacey Hall’s “The Familiars”, not such a fan of her other books (I read all of them hoping for the familiar vibes of “The Familiars, excuse the pun, none of them lived up to my expectations). I was prepared to be disappointed but “The Household” was better than I expected. There is no doubt Stacey has a way with language and a talent of a great storyteller. Finally she once again finds an interesting story to tell – a story of a home for unfortunate (read “fallen”) women based on a real place set up by Charles Dickens (who also features in the book). I only wish the book was longer so all the multiple story lines were examined in depth. All in all – a very good book. Enjoyed!

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When I heard about this book being released, I was beyond excited! I'd waited (quite impatiently) and it had a great deal to live up to after I had enjoyed the previous books by Stacey halls so much.
I was delighted to find I absolutely adored this just as much as the previous books.
Being launched into dickensian London was atmospheric and enlightening. I love how this author really makes the past come alive.
Urania House was inspired, a pet project by the rich, to rehabilitate young women in trouble. It made the divides of the time centre stage, but also threw you into a confronting and heart string pulling story, of women supporting women. I loved how friendships and relationships were formed, regardless of class, past and circumstances.
I finished this book reluctantly, knowing that books this spellbinding, are a rare treat. I am waiting (impatiently) for the magic this author conjures up next!

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I do like a historic drama and was intrigued by the Dickens being part of the characters within the book. It is hard to imagine how women were disregarded as members of society and the concept of a woman having her own means and being able to live as she wishes and spend the money as she wished must have been unusual and unseemly.

The difference between the have and have nots in the book are a theme along with how being 'given' an opportunity might not always be welcomed. A harsh existence and an enjoyable read.

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This was a brilliant book and I really enjoyed it.

The premise is good and, in a way, timeless - rich people thinking they understand the lives of poorer people & that they can ‘save’ them if they throw money at it & try to make them conform to their own ideals. The main characters are all distinct, interesting & have their own story arc. This helps build the plot well. The prose is well written, as always.

If I had one comment it would be around the character of Dickens, yes Charles Dickens makes an appearance (though he’s only really referenced in passing). He makes a lot of visits and notes on the girls in the cottage. I can’t help but feel this sets up a sequel with him as the main character. His appearance didn’t take anything away but I felt a bit more could be done.

Anyway, this was yet another great book from Stacey Halls. Read it. :)

Thanks to the author, publishers & NetGalley for access to this arc in return for an honest review.

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I love Stacey Halls' books and The Household was fabulous. I was gripped by the characters' struggles as they tried to live their lives in Victorian England. Rich or poor, these women were so constrained by their circumstances yet the strong relationships they developed between them were often the only thing keeping them going. Strong friendships help them triumph over despondency. I want to find out more about some of the real people in this story, and more about Urania House. A truly wonderful read.

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Stacey Halls is a favourite author of mine and "The Household" is an excellent addition to her growing catalogue. I was unaware of Urania Cottage social experiment and the famous names of Charles Dickens and Angela Burdett-Coutts who were behind it. The main stars were the girls that occupied the house and their stories of how they got there and what they did afterwards. A touching story about giving girls a second chance.

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Another winner from Stacey Halls !
Urania Cottage is a project helping "fallen" women get back into society and giving them a chance at a new life abroad .
Loved it !

Thankyou NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest review

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I found this so interesting that I was compelled to go and look up how much of this story was true after reading it and to learn the historical basis for the book. The Household centres around Urania Cottage, a home for fallen women (criminals and prostitutes) set up by Charles Dickens to educate them, provide them a real home and prepare them to emigrate where they could start a new life.

The book has many characters but we primarily focus on two of the residents Martha and Josephine, the woman in charge of the house and the wealthy woman funding the endeavour. Charles Dickens is frequently mentioned but he’s not a character we follow. Martha is looking for her sister who has disappeared but is restricted in what she can do. Josephine wishes to pursue a romance and is stifled by the house. We also have a fascinating plot line with our wealthy benefactor miss Coutts and her terrifying, delusional and dangerous stalker.

I found this book fascinating. The writing is excellent, it’s engrossing. There’s multiple characters but we still have distinct voices and desires for all of them. The setting of Urania Cottage is described so vividly. The social themes one may associate with Charles Dickens gently interwoven through the girls’ stories. His intense interviews and capturing of their tales suggesting an inspiration for his work.

A wonderful historical novel. I would recommend and read this again.

I read an eARC of this book so thank you to the author, publisher and Net Galley.

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Rating- 4.5 stars
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Bonnier Books UK and the author for letting me have an E-ARC of this book and allowing me to give my honest review of this book.

I honestly love the author’s work and when I saw this advertised on NetGalley I knew I needed to request this book. I honestly feel so honoured that I was able to get an ARC of this book. As with any of the books that the author has written, the author did not disappoint with this book. I think this book is honestly her best book yet.

The Household is a novel that follows Urania Cottage, a cottage that has been set up for women who have fallen on hard times. The cottage is set up to give these women a second chance at life- a chance to be able to become part of society. But how badly do women want a second chance? The cottage is based on a real place that was set up by Charles Dickens that was benefacted by Angela-Burdett-Coutts. This novel is historically accurate and has real historical figures and events.

In this book, you get to see many different points of views throughout. You get to see a lot of views and thoughts from the girls who live there who all have different problems and issues. You also get to see Angela’s point of view throughout the story, who is dealing with a male who has been stalking her for ten years.

I especially felt like this book highlighted the way women were treated back in 1846 and how many women resorted to stealing and other crimes to be able to suivre in a world where they had nothing or were viewed as nothing. The cottage gave the girls a second chance at life- whereas if these girls were not offered this opportunity they would not be known to society. Charles Dickens believed that these girls could be saved and redeem themselves by learning skills before emigrating to a new country for a fresh start. For these girls, they had given up on themselves and did not feel that they were worth saving.

It also highlighted the way in which women’s opinions were not valued in Angela’s point of view. Often she was left out of important decisions and not told about things ahead of time. She often found out after the decision had been made despite being the class she was in. Even with the money and class she was, she still was not viewed as equal to men.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great historical fiction book. Yet another amazing book by Stacey Halls which I recommended for anyone who is a fan of Charles Dickens or historical fiction books.

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Halls gets better and better: this is a lovely novel. It's particularly interesting in the way that a good way - possibly more than two-thirds - through the narrative, different strand twist together in a quite unexpected way. It's a risk, and with a less assured and talented writer might have gone badly wrong, but here it *works*. I hugely enjoyed it.

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Stacey does it again but somehow even better than before! The writing from Halls in this novel seems to have come on leaps and bounds from her already great previous work, and if you were a fan of any of her back catalogue you will surely not be disappointed with The Household. Gripping, heartfelt and warm, you will fall in love with the characters and be thrilled with every twist and turn they’re taken on.

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After The Familiars' I did wonder if Stacey Halls could do it again!
The good news is, yes she has and maybe this is even better. There is suspense aplenty, twists and turns and lots of interesting historical little asides where you find yourself thinking - wow, really? But yes, really!
I enjoyed it very much - the wind blew hard against the windows while I read this and somehow, it seemed to be the perfect read when the lights flickered and we might be left in the dark!

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Stacey Halls' books are always such a treat, and this is no exception. Her biggest yet in terms of scale - encompassing the lives of multiple women as they battle through stifling expectations of life in London in 1847. Such immersive storyline, with all the varies plots and woes so wonderfully interwoven. Such a treat to read!

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I really enjoyed this one! It took me a bit to get into it due to the amount of characters and then I was super invested. A bunch of strong women doing their best despite their circumstances in Dickens times. I didn't know a thing about that side of Dickens, helping women to reform themselves to find a better life by placing them at The Household. It is very atmospheric and mysterious, really good historical fiction. I have to say, I enjoyed this book more than The Familiars and The Foundling!

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Stacey Halls is one of my all time favourite, go to authors, and this is not a disappointment! As always she paints a thoroughly intriguing and hard to put down story. I was engrossed with it all, not knowing how it was going to turn out, but I loved every second.
I was ecstatic to receive an e-arc.

Thank you to the author, publishers and netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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When young ladies are not doing as they are told, they might well need rescuing and sending to “The Household”. Here they will learn how to run a house and their behaviour will be improved. Sadly, the household itself is not exactly as it seems and the very people supposed to be the role models are not what they seem.

I did wonder at the start of this book how the story would come together but, once again, Stacey Halls does not disappoint. The strong female characters in this novel make it a pleasing read and the fact that any rescuing is done only by other women adds to the positivity of the story. I definitely enjoyed this novel and I would recommend it. If you haven’t read anything by Stacey Halls, go and read them all now!

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Great 'spinoff ' tale around one of Charles Dickens' social experiments - a home for the redemption of fallen women founded by Angela Burdett-Coutts in the 1840s. (Google her, she sounds amazing!) Wonderful characters, background stories, friendships, relationships along with poverty, hunger, overcrowding and desperation. Kindness is a theme that features a lot.
It's not just the 'fallen women' who have the problems either. Known as the 'richest heiress in England' at the time, Angela Coutts, in this story has a long-standing and dangerous stalker - very believable from the amount of coverage she got in the press then.
I loved this book, I felt some of the characters thought in a bit of a 'modern' way (e.g. comparing stealing stockings to stealing the colonies - I don't think people felt that way in those days, particularly those of minimal education - but I could be wrong - perhaps they got this view from the education they were recieving at the house!)
The 'girls', the housekeeper and Angela herself all need callouts for being super characters - a wonderful story!

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I love Stacey Halls so much; her attention to detail and her ability to transport the reader back in time is unparalleled. I perhaps didn't enjoy this as much as I did her previous work, especially Mrs England, but I think that's because I'm a sucker for books set in and near my home town while The Household is based in London. This is obviously just personal preference though and not something that effects every reader.

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I love Stacey Halls’ books and this was no exception! It did take a little while for me to get into but then every clicked and it was a great story. I love historical fiction for what you learn about different time periods and I felt I learnt a lot from this well researched novel. A good read I would recommend.

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Set in 1847, Stacey Halls has adapted the real life event of Charles Dickens and the wealthy benefactress, Angela Burdett-Coutts, establishing Urania Cottage, a home for so-called ‘fallen’ Victorian women. This is clearly a meticulously researched and fascinating insight into social reform of the time, combined with Stacey Halls riveting writing style. I was gripped from start to finish and it reminded me in parts of Sarah Waters ‘Fingersmith’, which is one of my all time favourite reads. I’m now inspired to find out more about Urania Cottage (while I wait for Stacey Halls next fabulous slice of historical fiction to be published)..

Thank you to Netgalley and Manilla Press for my advance review copy.

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A thoroughly good read, beautifully written and with a cast of interesting and endearing characters - an absolute joy, even the villain of the piece has redeeming qualities! Based on the philanthropic attempts of a high born, rich lady and her friend Charles Dickens, to rescue and reeducate fallen women, they establish a house just outside London for this purpose. There will inevitably be dramas, friendships won and lost, unrequited love and unwanted romantic attentions. The journey is bumpy, but not without humour and very clever, beautiful storytelling. I want to read it again.

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Firstly, thank you Netgalley for the advance copy. Secondly, thank you Stacey Hall for your exquisite, engrossing prose once again.

I really enjoyed this, as I've enjoyed all Stacey Hall novels, although I didn't find it quite as tense or atmospheric as its predecessors.
I did love the characters, their friendships, and loyalty to one another, and was glad of the  (**SPOILER ALERT**) happy ending.

Definitely worth a pre-order!

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Manilla Press, for the opportunity to read The Household by Stacey Halls before published. Stacey Halls is one of my favourite authors, having read all of her books and having the pleasure to say this is now the third book I have had the opportunity to read in advance. I cannot express my love for this book enough. It started off slow at first but I now understand that Stacey Halls had to really delve into each characters story to make it unique and personal. I felt really moved by the characters and I wish we could find out more from Josephine, Martha & Emily now they are in Australia. The book ended off in a nice resolved manner but I still want more from the characters as I felt so moved by their story. Stacey has a brilliant way of connecting factual information to fiction which I absolutely love, you can really tell she does her research and puts her all into her books and it shows. Thank you again for this opportunity, I can't wait for the book to be published so I can have my copy and also so others can read this spectacular book!

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This book has everything you’ll ever need from a classic Victorian novel. Mistaken identity, opium dens, thievery, debauchery and a group of women trying their best to forge their way in life. The streets of London are so vivid in this novel you’ll feel like you’re striding the pavements too. All of the characters have something different to offer and it kept me hooked from chapter one. Urania House was a place of wonder, as were its inhabitants. I’ve been a Stacey Has fan right from The Familiars and this hasn’t let the side down at all.

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Stacey Halls has done it again! Her classic style of combining real events with fiction never disappoints, and The Households presents a host of beautifully fleshed out characters living against the backdrop of late 1800s London. A must read for any lovers of period dramas. It is a beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and new beginnings.
With many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, who provided an ARC in exchange for this honest review.

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A Victorian philanthropic initiative sees young ‘fallen’ women who are considered worth saving, shipped out to the rural Urania Cottage away from temptation, to be retrained and hopefully given a fresh start in Australia, Canada or South Africa. But these women have pasts, families and complications.

I have loved and enthused over all of Stacey Halls’ books, and this one is every bit as good as the rest. Her characters are so alive and so wonderful. I think one of the things I really appreciate is that there are no unimportant or filler characters, even the slightest of them has a backstory and a reason for being there. This might be why they feel so realistic. I particularly loved Martha, desperate to find her younger sister who has disappeared, and Frank, a young policeman with morals and a determination to do his job.

The Household is based on fact, and I looked it up because I had no idea about this particular initiative involving no less a person than Charles Dickens. To the modern eye it perhaps feels a little condescending, but in Victorian times the idea of giving these women a new beginning must have been groundbreaking. The extras that Dickens insisted on – reading, playing the piano and colourful clothes, must have seemed very unusual at the time, and that is reflected in the novel. The matron definitely feels that it is a waste of money!

I would not say that there was a happy ending, but perhaps a hopeful one, which is all you can ask for sometimes.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Household, I will buy it when it’s released and add it to my shelf of Stacey Halls books to reread in the future.

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The Household by Stacey Halls

It feels like we've waited a long time for her next novel to be published , but 10 times over , it's been worth it .
The Household has everything you wish for in a good read , a great plot to keep you turning the pages , strong characters and left feeling bereft when it comes to the last page.

Brilliant , brilliant , brilliant .

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Stacey Halls has written an epic and very readable novel about the fate of women in Victorian London. "The Household" is set in around 1850, when Shepherd's Bush was in the countryside. There are a smattering of real historical figures, including Charles Dickens, who was known for reporting on the less well off and campaigning for better conditions for them. The household of the title is what would now be known as a half-way house for women (mostly ex-prisoners), which provides a safe environment for the learning of new skills. The aim is ultimately for these women to emigrate to the colonies, and become the wives of settlers.

The women of the household had become criminals out of necessity and are not used to being treated as individual human beings with wills of their own. As they settle in new friendships are made and mutual support is provided. At the other end of the spectrum we find Miss Coutts, who is very rich but single, and therefore able to be more of a free agent. However, this does not mean that she is free of stress and she is troubled by a persistent stalker.

The tales of the various female characters are complex and interwoven to provide a wonderful glimpse of life at this time. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.

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I absolutely loved The Household, the fourth novel from Stacey Halls. Her books - while set in differing historical eras and places - share some key themes in common: poverty and working class life before the existence of any social safety net (and how support systems based purely on the beneficence of the rich are inherently unstable); female friendship; the restrictions and risks faced by wealthy women who push the boundaries of 'polite' society.

The Household is based on a true story in mid-19th Century London, and about a woman I knew nothing before picking up the book. Angela Burdett-Coutts was one of the richest women in England and a keen campaigner for social justice who, in the late 1840s established Urania Cottage - a home for fallen women - with her close friend Charles Dickens. While Dickens appears only as a background character in The Household (and not a blameless one: the detail about him regularly visiting the girls at the cottage to probe them about their lives, taking copious notes - the implication being that he will mine their lived experience for his books - is troubling), Angela is one of a four main characters who we follow through the novel, alongside two of the girls, Martha and Josephine, and the matron, Mrs Holdsworth.

The problems of a paternalistic philanthropy which assumes that wealthy and educated men can presume to know what is 'best' for the fallen women, is deftly handled and the thriller aspect to the story - as Angela attempts to escape the attentions of a man who has stalked her for years - is well done. I devoured the book in a day: highly recommended

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Before reading this I believed Stacey Halls could write no wrong and after reading this, my opinion is confirmed. I wish I hadn’t read it so quickly…This story has a fascinating ensemble of characters, flawed and developed. It even has Charles Dickens flitting about in the background! Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.

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This is yet another stunning and well-researched historical novel by Stacey Halls, and a great read. The novel is set in Victorian London, and features numerous strong, well-drawn fictional characters, and historical characters including Charles Dickens and millionaire Angela Burdett-Coutts who together set up Urania Cottage, a home for fallen women, in Shepherd’s Bush in the mid-nineteenth century. The plot follows the lives of several women before and during their time in Urania House, and involves several mysteries, a lot of crime, and a hint of what their future will hold. In common with other books by the author, the prose is excellent and the book reads very well.

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.

I've read and enjoyed a couple of books by this author now. I thought this one was a little slow going at first and wasn't sure which direction it was going to take. It picked up though, and I definitely didn't see the twist coming. It was interesting to read about the house as I had no idea until reading this that Charles Dickens had even helped set this place up.

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Many people’s worlds collide at Urania Cottage, a home for fallen women in The Household by Stacey Hall.

The cottage is remote and its residents are initially unknown to one another. However, they have one thing in common, each is desperate to change their life.

Angela Burdett-Coutts, a wealthy heiress is a benefactor of this unique venture. She is no stranger to feeling a lack of freedom in life, having been stalked for the last decade.

Among others, Josephine and Martha take refuge and work in the countryside home. They soon become friends in their quest for rehabilitation. However, they’re both looking for someone and the temptation to escape the confinements of the cottage appeals to many.

Mrs Holdsworth manages the home, trying to keep the women content and safe.

As their lives become entwined, the cost of freedom is high and each woman must navigate her circumstances.

The Household by Stacey Halls is a wonderful novel focusing on female characters in Victorian England.

Told from multiple perspectives, the novel slowly explores these main characters and their differing personalities and troubles.

It illustrates contrasts between the social classes and the female experience and is inspired by Dickens’ House for Fallen Women. It features the famed novelist in a cameo alongside the reimagined Angela Burdett-Coutts. It’s fascinating how Halls brings these inspired and complex characters to life.

Among other things, it explores poverty, prison and prostitution and ultimately, the desperation for freedom.

This novel draws you in with interesting female leads and well-researched historical fiction. You cannot help but empathise with these characters’ tumultuous lives and personal woes.

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I have enjoyed Stacey Halls previous novels and this one was no exception. Taking its inspiration from real historical events and figures, andded another level to my enjoyment.

This novel set in London 1847, lets the reader glimpse how life was in those times Centred around Urania House, a home set up by Charles Dickens for a group of fallen women .. It was a place of second chances, where its residents learnt skills which would enrich their lives in preparation for a new life overseas.

Angela is one of the wealthy benefactors who on the surface has a charmed life but in reality is struggling with unwanted attention from a stalker. Her relationship with the woman in the home shows her compassion and I was hoping for not only a happy ending for all the wonderful woman in the novel but for her as well.

I loved getting to know the fallen woman each with their own unique backstory. The resilience they demonstrated in a time when our modern day liberates were unheard of was astounding.

This novel kept me page turning, entertained and educated. I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

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I thought this was a fascinating take on the lives of very different women in 19th century England. One woman - the most privileged in the story - has to deal with a persistent (unhinged) stalker while managing her fortune, maintaining her position as an unmarried society woman and negotiating her love for an older man who won't marry her. The other characters are all engaging in their own way, although some are more finely drawn than others. The ending feels a little rushed, as if there were too many strands to tie off all at once, but I greatly enjoyed the book as a whole and, in particular, its loving portrayal of women's experiences at a time when many of them had very few opportunities in life..