Author(s): Helen Dunmore
Finland 1901. Eeva, the young orphaned daughter of a revolutionary, is sent from the orphanage to work as housekeeper for Thomas, a widowed country doctor. Her challenging, independent, enigmatic presence disturbs Thomas as much as it fascinates him. Their relationship will shatter all the certainties of his life. Meanwhile Eeva is drawn back to Helsinki, to the comrades of her childhood, and in particular to Lauri, the son of her father's friend. It is a world full of danger. For this is Finland in political ferment - the power of the Russian Empire over its subject peoples is growing more oppressive, but resistance to the Tsar's rule is growing too, both in Finland and in Russia. Some call such resistance terrorism; others call it a fight for freedom. Just as Helen Dunmore's The Siege is a novel about how huge public events bear down on private lives, so House of Orphans, while a spellbinding story of love and loneliness, is also about the tension between reform and revolution, and a country emerging into independence.