'Novel Houses' visits unforgettable dwellings in twenty legendary works of English and American fiction. Each chapter stars a famous novel in which a dwelling is pivotal to the plot, and reveals how personally significant that place was to the writer who created it. We discover Uncle Tom's Cabin's powerful influence on the American Civil War, how essential 221B Baker Street was to Sherlock Holmes and the importance of Bag End to the adventuring hobbits who called it home.
It looks at why Bleak House is used as the name of a happy home and what was on Jane Austen's mind when she worked out the plot of Mansfield Park. Little-known background on the dwellings at the heart of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast and Stella Gibbon's Cold Comfort Farm emerges, and the real life settings of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and E.M. Forster's Howards End, so fundamental to their stories, are shown to relate closely to their authors' passions and preoccupations.
A winning combination of literary criticism, geography and biography, this is an entertaining and insightful celebration of beloved novels and the extraordinary role that houses grand and small, imagined and real, or unique and ordinary, play in their continuing popularity.