Notable Book of the Year, New York Times Book Review

House of Women is the story of three unusual women – seventeen-year-old Thea, her mother Nalia, an opera singer and Holocaust survivor, and Maude, their dour and religious housekeeper. It is the story of how the world changes for each of them when a man comes to take Thea away.

“The rule is this: says Thea, I am to pretend that my other life does not exist. And yet pretending, it seems to be true.” Stark, philosophical and surprising, House of Women is a tale of passion, love, secrets, and bonds that cannot be broken, even in death…


“Reading Lynn Freed’s HOUSE OF WOMEN, I was subject to feelings I remember from first reading the classics when I was young: sensations of familiarity and strangeness conjoined. Like certain classics, Freed’s novel is surprising and inevitable, often in the same sentence. It illuminates and, at the same time, deepens the human mystery. I don’t ask for more from a book.”
—Michael Cunningham, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction

“Powerful and strange, Lynn Freed’s HOUSE OF WOMEN dissects human emotions, especially family emotions, almost as myth does, going straight to the essence with hypnotic assurance.”
—Diane Johnson, author of LE DIVORCE and LE MARIAGE

“Lynn Freed is a brilliant, magical writer.”


“Elements of not one but many fairy tales provide an irresistible — ravenous — undertow for Lynn Freed’s new novel, “House of Women,” a story in which a mother and daughter fight to the death… An unusual and unusually satisfying novel.”
—Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

“There is not a word out of place in this novel… Freed delves deep into the morass of sexual and filial love without mitigating complexity, and leads her reader toward insight and understanding with a deft and delicate touch.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“With poetic intensity, the novel weighs the explicit power of actions against the subtler but no less potent one of words.”

“Feeling the chill? Escape into Lynn Freed’s HOUSE OF WOMEN
—Vanity Fair

“Lock yourself up with this literary novel about mother-daughter ties”

“A quietly suspenseful tale of a marriage that is both an escape from a powerfully sexual mother and manipulative father and an unpredictable journey to the heart of her authentic desires.”
—O Magazine

“This other-worldly tale philosophizes smartly on what it is to crave love and to sacrifice clarity for passion.”
—Publishers’ Weekly

Publisher: Back Bay Books (February 6, 2003)
ISBN: 0316095567
Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Flamingo (July 15, 2002)
ISBN: 0007133294
Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown; 1st edition (February 12, 2002)
ISBN: 0316666335
Hardcover: 224 pages