BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.

Reading guide for The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell

The House on Vesper Sands

by Paraic O'Donnell
  • BookBrowse Review:
  • Critics' Consensus:
  • Readers' Rating:
  • First Published:
  • Jan 12, 2021
  • Paperback:
  • Jan 2022
  • Rate this book

  • Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Why do you think the author chose to open with the scene of the seamstress leaping from the window?
  2. What surprised you most in reading this book? Were there any plot twists you didn't see coming?
  3. In what ways does this book feel like a classic Victorian mystery novel, and in what ways does it subvert genre expectations?
  4. How does the time period—1890s London—influence the events of the story? How might this story look different if it had taken place several decades later, or even today?
  5. In what ways do the book's settings—the church, the House on Vesper Sands itself, and more—help to develop the story? 
  6. Helen Macdonald calls this book, "haunting and unsettling, smokily atmospheric." How would you characterize the mood of the novel, and what tools did you notice the author using to achieve it?
  7. Though they live in a society where men often hold more power, how do the women in this story demonstrate power and agency?
  8. How would you describe the relationship between Inspector Cutter and Gideon Bliss? Are there any other famous duos that the pair reminds you of?
  9. In this story, ghosts exist among the living characters. Why do you think the author made this choice?
  10. How is the language used by the characters in this book different from the way those same characters might speak today? Are there particular words or phrases that struck you?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Tin House Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start
discovering exceptional books!
Find Out More

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Bury Your Gays
    Bury Your Gays
    by Chuck Tingle
    Chuck Tingle, for those who don't know, is the pseudonym of an eccentric writer best known for his ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Ruin
    Blue Ruin
    by Hari Kunzru
    Like Red Pill and White Tears, the first two novels in Hari Kunzru's loosely connected Three-...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman and a Thief
    A Gentleman and a Thief
    by Dean Jobb
    In the Roaring Twenties—an era known for its flash and glamour as well as its gangsters and ...
  • Book Jacket: Early Sobrieties
    Early Sobrieties
    by Michael Deagler
    Dennis Monk is sober now, and he expects some applause. Or at least some recognition that he's ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Lady Tan's Circle of Women
by Lisa See
Lisa See's latest historical novel, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China.
Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl
    by Bart Yates

    A saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Win This Book
Win Smothermoss

Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

A haunting, imaginative, and twisting tale of two sisters and the menacing, unexplained forces that threaten them and their rural mountain community.

Enter

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.