The House of the Seven Gables

Read by Mark F. Smith

(4.4 stars; 246 reviews)

"The wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones and... becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief." Hawthorne's moral for "The House of the Seven Gables," taken from the Preface, accurately presages his story. The full weight of the gloomy mansion of the title seems to sit on the fortunes of the Pyncheon family. An ancestor took advantage of the Salem witch trials to wrest away the land whereon the house would be raised... but the land's owner, about to be executed as a wizard, cursed the Pyncheon family until such time as they should make restitution.

Now, almost two centuries later, the family is in real distress. Hepzibah, an old maid and resident of the house, is forced by advanced poverty to open a shop in a part of the house. Her brother Clifford has just been released from prison after serving a thirty-year sentence for murder, and his mind struggles to maintain any kind of hold on reality. Cousin Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon is making himself odious by threatening to have Clifford committed to an institution. And after all these years, the deed to a vast tract of land, that would settle great wealth on the family, is still missing.

One bright ray of sunshine enters the house when cousin Phoebe arrives for an extended stay to allow unhappy matters in her end of the family to sort themselves out. While she lightens the lives of Hepzibah and Clifford, she also attracts the attention of a mysterious lodger named Holgrave, who has placed himself near the Pyncheon family for reasons that only come clear at the end of the story.

The real crisis arrives when the Judge, who strongly resembles the Colonel Pyncheon who built the house so many years ago, steps up his demands on Hepzibah and Clifford and unwittingly triggers the curse. (Summary by Mark F. Smith) (0 hr 20 min)


00 - Introductory Note & Preface 18:23 Read by Mark F. Smith
01 - The Old Pyncheon Family 59:17 Read by Mark F. Smith
02 - The Little Shop Window 28:58 Read by Mark F. Smith
03 - The First Customer 31:33 Read by Mark F. Smith
04 - A Day Behind the Counter 33:10 Read by Mark F. Smith
05 - May and November 35:32 Read by Mark F. Smith
06 - Maule’s Well 24:22 Read by Mark F. Smith
07 - The Guest 38:40 Read by Mark F. Smith
08 - The Pyncheon of Today 39:24 Read by Mark F. Smith
09 - Clifford & Phoebe 28:13 Read by Mark F. Smith
10 - The Pyncheon Garden 30:48 Read by Mark F. Smith
11 - The Arched Window 31:49 Read by Mark F. Smith
12 - The Daguerrotypist 32:55 Read by Mark F. Smith
13 - Alice Pyncheon 54:23 Read by Mark F. Smith
14 - Phoebe’s Good-bye 27:02 Read by Mark F. Smith
15 - The Scowl and Smile 40:36 Read by Mark F. Smith
16 - Clifford’s Chamber 29:46 Read by Mark F. Smith
17 - The Flight of Two Owls 34:36 Read by Mark F. Smith
18 - Governor Pyncheon 39:36 Read by Mark F. Smith
19 - Alice’s Posies 36:04 Read by Mark F. Smith
20 - The Flower of Eden 20:34 Read by Mark F. Smith
21 - The Departure 24:44 Read by Mark F. Smith


Wordy Mcwordface

(4 stars)

However much Hawthorne paid for his thesaurus. he certainly got his money's worth.

Excellent reading of an American Classic

(4 stars)

To a modern ear, Hawthorne spends a lot of time getting to the point, but that's part of the enjoyment of this book. If you're looking for action/adventure, look elsewhere. This is a character study of some rather odd, but sympathetic old New Englanders, brightened by a ray of sunshine that is Phoebe and a bit of mystery that is Holgrave. This is an excellent solo recording by Mark Smith. Mark's use of voices helps to keep the characters straight and adds a bit of flavor without distracting from the story.

Only so so

(3 stars)

I am a life-long fan of Hawthorne, and the structure in Salem, Massachusetts called the House of Seven Gables is my favorite historical house to tour. But, alas, this book is only so so. Extremely wordy and seemingly unending -- honestly, it needed a fearless editor, because the heart of the story is good, it is just surrounded by too many superfluous words.

(3.5 stars)

Great job by the reader. Great job by Hawthorne too of course. Much more descriptive and by the way stories than other of his novels but a very enjoyable or listen.


(5 stars)

There are many a review saying this book was wordy, or slow, or a character study with a plot thrown in, and while those statements are true, that doesn't mean it is bad! The wordiness of the book was and has been the style for writing for many years! It was only recently that people began to like less wordy and more 'to the point' books. I actually really enjoyed this book, and the 'character study' feel to it made it all the more enjoyable. (I love characters!)


(4.5 stars)

I really enjoyed this book, it's slow... so you have to like slow books, I even like it better than the scarlet letter. the reading made it even better. this reader is great, with just enough voice distinctions between characters but not too much.

good reading and voices!

(4 stars)

Great book, but to be honest, it seems like Hawthorne decided to write a book on human character and then added a small plot. It's entertaining, but not my first choice. Has a good ending though.

Great Reader

(4 stars)

Other reviews have called this a character study. I found that to be the case as well. You have to appreciate a slow burn. But, you get a good literary payoff!