Search our site
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber Read the opening extract of the brand new Kathleen Barber book before its publication on 27/12/2017

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

May 2010 Book of the Month.

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 22 April 2010.

The structure here is interesting. It begins in London in 1981 with Georgy and his wife Zoya. She is dying. Chapter two takes us to Russia in 1915 and Georgy’s young life. So, in alternating chapters, the contemporary story moves back and the historical one forward until they meet in 1918. The historical episodes centre on the Romanovs to whom Georgy was a bodyguard. After their deaths Georgy and Zoya flee and seem to spend their lives in fear, we know not from what. When it is revealed I certainly didn’t see it coming …. Brilliant. A lovely book, highly recommended.

Comparison: Sebastian Faulks, Tom Rob Smith, Kate Furnivall.

John Boyne introduces THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE...
"My previous two novels were narrated by children – a 9 year old and 14 year old respectively – so when I began THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE I knew that I wanted a break from this and so I began chapter one with the voice of an 82 year old Russian emigre in London, a man for whom English is not his first language and who therefore speaks in a rather formal and elegant style.

The novel takes place over more than sixty years, following the journey of Georgy, a young peasant from his wood-framed hut in the farmlands of Russia to the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II, where he becomes a bodyguard-companion to the Tsarevich Alexei and onwards to Paris and London between 1920 and 1980, as Georgy and his wife Zoya leave behind the dramatic events of the Russian Revolution but are never fully able forget them.

I’d never written a love story before and at its heart, that’s what this novel is. Georgy and Zoya are a couple who have been through many traumas together but their affection and loyalty to each other marks their relationship and maintains the strength at its core."

If you like John Boyne you might also like to read books by Nigel Farndale, Sebastian Faulks and Colm Toibin.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Win a Family Break to Salisbury!

Don’t miss out! Enter to win a family break to Salisbury!

Here at Lovereading.co.uk and Lovereading4kids.co.uk we are delighted to be giving you a chance to win a wonderful family break. You could see yourself indulging in the finest food and slumbering comfortably into one of the grand rooms at The Red Lion Salisbury for two nights. The Red Lion Hotel is located in medieval city of Salisbury, which is home to all your favourite stores as well as independent shops, restaurants, cafes and parks and green spaces. Nearby is Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain and numerous sites of historic and archaeological interest.

There are many seasonal events in Salisbury, and you can find out what’s on here. You will also receive a family ticket to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, the gardens are especially beautiful in the winter, with bold coloured stems, scents, and fabulous foliage, you can be sure to be impressed. For the children there is also a play park, and you can stop off in the Victorian tea room to warm up and treat yourself to a traditional cream tea.

To have a chance of winning this fantastic prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. Entries close 31st January 2018.

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions

Red Lion: Two night stay includes breakfast for two adults and up to two children sharing a family room. Subject to availability and cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash value. Not to be used in combination with any other offer. Valid until 1st Dec 2018 and excludes bank holidays.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens: Valid for day entry, Not to be used for special events or group entry. Voucher is not transferable or refundable, no Cash Value. Ticket must be redeemed on entry. Valid until 31 Dec 2018. Gardens open daily from 10am – closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Prize admits 2 adults and accompanying children Under 17 FREE to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 31/01/2018

Synopsis

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

Russia, 1915: Sixteen year old farmer's son Georgy Jachmenev steps in front of an assassin's bullet intended for a senior member of the Russian Imperial Family and is instantly proclaimed a hero. Rewarded with the position of bodyguard to Alexei Romanov, the only son of Tsar Nicholas II, the course of his life is changed for ever. Privy to the secrets of Nicholas and Alexandra, the machinations of Rasputin and the events which will lead to the final collapse of the autocracy, Georgy is both a witness and participant in a drama that will echo down the century. Sixty-five years later, visiting his wife Zoya as she lies in a London hospital, memories of the life they have lived together flood his mind. And with them, the consequences of the brutal fate of the Romanovs which has hung like a shroud over every aspect of their marriage...


Browse inside this book

Reviews

'Boyne is a skilled storyteller...his novel is an exciting, fast-paced story...absorbing and richly satisfying.' The Times

'John Boyne has a talent for bringing big historical events to life...Boyne has skilfully drawn a living, breathing character who not only witnessed one of the greatest events of the 20th century but also had his own part to play in how the dramatic tale unravels.' Daily Express

'Boyne writes with consumnate ease, and is particularly good at drawing the indecently rich world of the pre-revolutionary Romanovs.' Independent

'A wonderful, many-layered novel, written with thought and tenderness... mesmerising' The Irish Examiner

'Boyne exercises total control over pace and revelation. A work that chimes perfectly with our times The Irish Times Painstakingly researched and the result is ornate and intricate. An engrossing read' Irish Mail on Sunday

About the Author

John Boyne

John Boyne was our Guest Editor in May 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

His early writing consisted mostly of short stories and he published a number of them. His first story, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. In total, he has published about 70 short stories.

He has published seven novels: THE THIEF OF TIME (2000), THE CONGRESS OF ROUGH RIDERS (2001), CRIPPEN (2004), THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS (2006), NEXT OF KIN (2006), MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (2008) and THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE (2009).

His 2006 novel, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won 2 Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at no.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the bestselling book in Spain in both 2007 and 2008. Worldwide, it has sold more than 5 million copies and was the 6th highest selling novel of 2008.

His novels are published in 42 languages.

He lives in Dublin.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

15th April 2010

Author

John Boyne

More books by John Boyne
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

www.johnboyne.com/

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...

Publisher

Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
496 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Books of the Month
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780552775410

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

I read new, exciting writers and established authors before publication and there is a great website full of brilliant books and opinions.

Lynda

If you love reading, then you'll love Lovereading! Full of tips & info for every discerning reader.

Lynne Rapson

They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth

As for why I'd recommend Lovereading, it's simple - it's a great place to get information and reviews about new books!

Margaret Freeman

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools