More than just a backdrop, sometimes houses in fiction take on lives of their own. Here is a list of some of my favorite picks in which the house is a character in the story.

The Dutch House, Ann Patchett
The Dutch House is to be the feather in Cyril Conroy’s cap-the final expression of his wealth and standing. Instead it becomes the talisman of a broken childhood for his children.

The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allen Poe
In this deeply layered short story, the House of Usher is slowly disintegrating, as are its inhabitants.

The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Can a house’s curse destroy a family? In the beginning of the this early Gothic novel, it appears to be that way. But the entrance of a new character may yet change the family’s fate.

Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
Manderley is full of reminders of Rebecca. Can the new Mrs. Winters ever be free of her memory?

The Shining, Stephen King
Jack’s new job at the Overlook Hotel seems too good to be true. Time to write, connect with his family, and get paid while doing it–except when things start to go wrong. One of Stephen King’s best novels!

The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley
It is 1950 and Buckshaw Estate is crumbling, England is recovering from the War, and her sister’s are awful; but that is all fine with the precocious 11 year old chemist Flavia DeLuce. The man she discovers a man dying in the cucumber patch, may not be though.

The Turner House, Angela Flournoy
The Turner House has raised 13 children, welcomed home grandchildren, survived the loss of the family patriarch, and withstood the ravages of Detroit. Can the Turner children bring themselves to finally say goodbye?

The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
When they arrive at the grand summer house where she is to spend her summer vacation, our narrator is full of hope. But as the summer continues and the walls of her room begin to close in, the situation changes.

Did I miss your favorite? Email us at or comment on social media to let us know!

Written 6/26/20 by Ellen