The Little House

Part of Modern Novels



It was easy for Elizabeth. She married the man she loved, bore him two children and made a home for him which was the envy of their friends. It was harder for Ruth.

She married Elizabeth’s son and then found that, somehow, she could never quite measure up! Isolation, deceit and betrayal fill the gaps between the two individual women and between their different worlds. In this complex thriller, Philippa Gregory deploys all her insight into what women want and what women fear, as Ruth confronts the shifting borders of her own sanity. Laying bare the comfortable conventions of rural England, this spine-tingling novel pulses with suspense until the whiplash double-twist of the denouement.



This book was adapted for television by ITV in 2010 starring Francesca Annis, Lucy Griffiths, Tim Pigott-Smith and Rupert Evans. 

Behind the book

Released in 1997

Still not yet completely committed to nothing but history I wrote The Little House at high speed and with a sense of the intense drama of the subject: the way that women can be rivals to the death over a man or even a child. Interestingly, I never felt that I took sides in this novel of conflict about a mother-in-law and her son's wife, but almost every reader thinks that I am on the side that she favours. Almost every reader favours the woman who is in her own position! It's a very revealing book to read and discuss. I have heard from very anxious mothers-in-law, and very angry daughters.




"Fiendishly plotted….this is Gregory at her most chillingly convincing. Sunday lunch with the in-laws will never be the same again"


"Insidiously gripping"

Daily Mail

"This brilliant psychological chiller….is utterly, nail-nibblingly plausible. You will relish its explosive climax and be gripped through to its final, superb, double-twist finish."

The Irish Times

"delves beneath the outwardly placid seeming surface of a middle class marriage to find stressful desperation like a silent scream beneath....nicely plotted....stays in the mind."

Full Review

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