The Guardian, 4 November 2006: Household Gods tells the story of how the British became obsessed with their homes and their possessions, tracing the development from the unlikely effect that the evangelical revival had on our domestic interior in the 1830s to the neutral decor of suburban houses a century later. In this riveting and revealing book, Deborah Cohen takes the reader on a journey through interiors cluttered with papier-mâché beds, fire screens set with stuffed birds, soup tureens shaped as boar's heads and baths decorated with shells.
Cohen's starting point is the evangelicals' belief in the omnipresence of sin. Man was born as a "corrupted creature", and only atonement paved the way to God. This notion of sin brought self-scrutiny and the rejection of worldly pleasure; for the home of the early 19th century it meant austerity, as luxuries were seen as frivolous and ungodly.