I stumbled across an online review of this book fairly recently. It was a glowing review and the book itself sounded really interesting. Then when I was in Dublin last week I did some browsing in Hodges Figgis, which has a massive Irish Writers section, and this book was on one of their shelves. I was really keen to get a book by an Irish writer in Ireland so I bought this book and John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things.
I can't really say that I enjoyed The House in Paris. It's not that I think it's a bad book. It's just that the book did nothing for me. I happen to think that I'm an intelligent person - sorry but I do - and yet I found Bowen's writing to be quite challenging. The book has a very vivid and melancholic atmosphere - which I appreciated - but Bowen keeps going off on philosophical tangents that I simply couldn't relate to or understand. At times this book made me feel a little bit stupid. I had a hard time with the characters in the book as well. I couldn't understand the motivations of the adult characters at all which is why I found the present day sections of the book much more engaging than the past section. Although Henrietta and Leopold are both extremely precocious, and not all that likeable, they still act like typical children in many ways. They're curious, sulky and tactless. I didn't hate this book but I know I won't read it again.