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The novel Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas is lying on a wooden desk. Clear reading glasses are set beside it on the left.
The novel Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas is set at an angle on purple crinkle paper inside a cardboard box.
Headshot of Elisabeth Thomas from the chest up in front of a grey backdrop. She is looking to her left behind the camera and is not smiling. She is wearing gold hoop earrings and a black sleeveless top.

Make-Believe Market

Catherine House

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Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas is a modern gothic thriller. Cut off from the world for three years, students at Catherine House, including first-year Ines Murillo, join a prestigious university that turns out to be more cult than college. “When tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.”

paperback | published by Custom House May 18, 2021 | 336 pages

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world's best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. Students are required to give the House three years--summers included--completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year's incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline--only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. But the House's strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school--in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence--might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.”


Meet the Author:

Elisabeth Thomas grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she still lives and now writes. She graduated from Yale University and currently works as an archivist for a modern art museum. This is her first novel.

Credit for Elisabeth’s image to Nina Subin.