The great Guillermo del Toro has blessed us with his offering of Crimson Peak, and with it demonstrated what all good stories need: a larger than life house, memorable enough to be the beating heart of the story. Allerdale House, the great, emaciated, maw of Allerdale House with its sinister secrets is undoubtedly one of the film’s biggest stars. The choice of a setting has the power to make or break a story. And it got me thinking about all the stories I’ve read where the fictional residences almost seem more real than mine. So without further ado, here’s Home and Garden: The Literary Edition.
1) Thornfield Hall, Jane Eyre
Victorian enthusiasts, still your beating hearts. You will find the perfect home in this expansive, and sprawling estate with its dramatic battlements, darkened hallways, and lavish sitting rooms (perfect for games of charade!).
You will find ample opportunity for long, solitary walks in the moonlight with Thornfield Hall’s impressive grounds, and the winding lanes that surround it (who knows, you might even find your dark knight there). Sure, the hallways might carry a scream or two, and the Gothic doors might cover up some maniacal laughter, but what is a house without character?
(A word of warning: do not accept proposals from any lurking bachelors who are prone to idealizing you.)
2) The House of Usher, The Fall of the House of Usher
The perfect residence for those who prefer to spend their days in atmospheric, moody contemplation, reading ghost stories to each other. It is the best setting for entertaining friends, as long as they are those with strong constitutions, and don’t mind a brush here and there with the dead (or undead).
Please take note that the residence may take on the habit of reflecting the underlying cracks of your inner psyche.
3) Misselthwaite Manor, The Secret Garden
A wonderful match for those who with curious minds and young hearts. It’s dauntingly large with austere but spacious rooms, but it’s certainly no riddle for those with a taste for adventure.
Other residents might leave little to be desired, and everyone might do their darndest to hide the house’s secrets from you, but that’s not going to stop you. You’ll give Nancy Drew a run for her money, and you’ll do it with only a little robin as your assistant.
4) 221B, Sherlock Holmes stories
Even after you’ve paid off the mortgage on this one, this place will be taking rent from you. You will never have a moment’s peace – all manner of folk will be dropping in on you, and not all of them with good intentions. Least bearable of all will be your flat mate, possibly the worst in all of history, but he’ll make it up to you by saving you from near-death situations. You will be expected to return the favour, too, of course.
On the other hand, it is one of the few residences to have inspired beautiful poetry with its address alone.
5) Pemberley, Pride & Prejudice
You, too, could be mistress of all this:
Best suited for residents with a quick wit, and fine eyes. If you have not previously inhabited such a fine establishment, never fear – your fiery spirit and sharp tongue will do just as well in bringing down your co-habitants a notch or two.
Note: your significant other may exhibit desire for spontaneous dips in the surrounding pools.
6) Howl’s Moving Castle
Only for individuals with impressive perseverance skills and strong constitutions. If it’s stability you want in your life, then this house is not for you. A taste for adventure and the unexpected will come in handy, as will any tendency towards the magical. Ever felt like you have the power to curse people with just your words? Then you’re the perfect inhabitant for this house.
7) Hill House, The Haunting of Hill House
You may think you own this house, but it is, in fact, the house that owns you. You have escaped your previous life of drudgery and service, and you have come to find your independence. In fact, it is the house that has found you. It has been waiting for you, and it will continue to wait for you. It will wait for you however long you take, wait until you realize that there’s nowhere else for you except here, and it won’t matter if you’re dead or alive.
So, tell us, reader, how would your favourite setting fare on the literary market?