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House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore

House of Orphans

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Set in dangerous, unfamiliar times at the beginning of the 20th century, which strangely echo our own, the story reveals how terrorism lies hidden within ordinary life, as the rulers of Finland struggle to hold on to power as the Russian Empire exerts its muscle. House of Orphans is the story of a girl, Eeva who has a hint of mysteriousness about her. She’s the daughter of a failed revolutionary, who is sent to a country orphanage before being sent off to work as a servant where she finds love, but is unable to accept it for she feels committed to a boy from a childhood long ago, to whom she must now return. Dunmore has woven an immensely rich, brilliant story of love, history and change.

If you like Helen Dunmore you might also like to read books by David Benioff, Emma Tennant and Paullina Simons.


House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore

Finland, 1902, and the Russian Empire enforces a brutal policy to destroy Finland’s freedom and force its people into submission.

Eeva, orphaned daughter of a failed revolutionary, also battles to find her independence and identity. Destitute when her father dies, she is sent away to a country orphanage, and then employed as servant to a widowed doctor, Thomas Eklund. Slowly, Thomas falls in love with Eeva ... but she has committed herself long ago to a boy from her childhood, Lauri, who is now caught up in Helsinki’s turmoil of resistance to Russian rule.

Set in dangerous, unfamiliar times which strangely echo our own, the story reveals how terrorism lies hidden within ordinary life, as rulers struggle to hold on to power. House of Orphans is a rich, brilliant story of love, history and change.


'Outstanding, a sheer pleasure to read. Dunmore is a remarkable storyteller' - Daily Mail

'Every character is richly drawn and makes for compelling fiction' - Daily Express

'Extraordinary...combines a luminous delicacy of observation with raw emotional power to haunting effect' - Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore was the author of fourteen novels. Her first, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led to D H Lawrence’s expulsion from Cornwall (on suspicion of spying) during the First World War. It won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize, now the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Siege, set during the Siege of Leningrad, was described by Antony Beevor as ‘a world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize.

Helen Dunmore’s work has been translated into more than thirty languages and she was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She died in June 2017.

Author photo © Caroline Forbes

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Book Info

Publication date

1st February 2007


Helen Dunmore

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Penguin Books Ltd


Paperback (b Format)
336 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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