Sunday, July 27, 2008

Review: House & Home

It's interesting that this week's Booking Through Thursday question (post here) asked about your favorite first line of a book, considering that the book I just finished, House & Home by Kathleen McCleary, had the best first page I've read in a long time:

"She had conceived children in that house, suffered a miscarriage in that house, brought her babies home there, argued with her husband there, made love, rejoiced, despaired, sipped tea, and gossiped and sobbed and counseled and blessed her friends there, walked the halls with sick children there, and scrubbed the worn brick of the kitchen floor there at least a thousand times on her hands and knees. And it was because of all this history with the house, all the parts of her life unfolding there day after day for so many years, that Ellen decided to burn it down."


After an early married life of moving around frequently, Ellen Flanagan is quite comfortable in her Portland home of 12 years. And, for her two girls, it's the only home they've ever known. The house has been the scene for the pivotal moments in her life, but when her entrepreneur husband puts them in financial straights for yet another invention, Ellen believes she has no other option but to sell the house...and divorce her husband. However, is she really prepared to leave? It doesn't help that Ellen has strong feelings about the new owners and their plans to change her home completely once she's gone.

Her emotional ties to the house run very strong, stronger than I personally can imagine. But, I'm not very sentimental about houses. In fact, anyone who knows me knows that I would move tomorrow. Don't get me wrong...I like my house, but I'm always up for a change of scenery. I'm very comfortable being "at home," wherever that may be. It's just that the particular space is largely interchangeable to me.

That said, this was an enjoyable debut novel, and Kathleen McCleary is certainly an author to keep your eye on. This was a quick and easy read, ideal for a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Lisa said...

Excellent Review! It seems we felt the same way about Ellen at times. I also LOVED the first page. It really grabs you. I'm going to edit my post to include a link to your review. :)

Lisa said...

You're right, that is an excellent opening line!

I just found your blog through a comment on She is too fond of books. I had to come check it out since you mentioned being from Alabama. I grew up in AL and only moved away 6 years ago and sometimes still miss it. I'm adding you to my reader and will be back later to explore more.

Linda Jacobs said...

Oh, yeah, that's an attention-grabber! I'll be on the lookout for it.

Little Lotte said...

That is quite grabbing and I think raises some interesting thoughts and questions. Definitely going on my TBR list.

Les said...

I'll come back and read your review once I've finished the book. I love the cover! Unfortunately, the ARC isn't quite as lovely.

ed said...


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beastmomma said...

I found your review through books and cooks. I linked to your review in my post and wanted to share my review with you: