Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: "The Good House" by author Ann Leary--will have you rooting for a perfectly imperfect heroine to find her way out of the bottle and sail toward a clear horizon

The Good House

Ann Leary's The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston’s North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She’s also a raging alcoholic. Hildy’s family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place—“if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday,” she advises “run for your life” — and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem.

As if battling her demons wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There’s a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire—and a love story between two craggy sixty-somethings that's as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good.

Now a New York Times and National Bestseller!

Funny, poignant, and terrifying. A classic New England tale that lays bare the secrets of one little town, this spirited novel will stay with you long after the story has ended.

“Fresh, sharp and masterfully told. Hildy’s tale is as intoxicating as it is sobering.” —People Magazine (People Pick)

"Leary...gleefully peels back the pretensions that so often accompany portraits of ye olde Americana." —USA Today

"By the end you'll be flipping pages, trying desperately to piece together what happened as much as the narrator is doing herself." —Jodi Picoult

“One of the best works of Massachusetts fiction in recent memory.” —Boston Magazine

"So alive, I swear the pages of this wickedly funny and moving novel are breathing." —Caroline Leavitt

"I opened The Good House and was instantly sucked in; I read the whole thing in one sitting and was sorry when it ended." —Kate Christensen

"Hildy is an original, irresistibly likable and thoroughly untrustworthy…a genuinely funny novel about alcoholism." —Kirkus, starred review

"Sure to please fans of women’s fiction featuring women of a certain age such as the novels of Jeanne Ray and Elizabeth Berg." —Library Journal


Ann Leary, the author of "The Good House", is spot-on in her description of alcoholism and its effects on the drinker and those around them. If you have ever loved an alcoholic, or ever known one as a friend or coworker, then you will recognize much truth in the author's storytelling. Even more striking for me, I actually have "known" the characters in this book, except that my people live in a small town in the mountains of VA, not a small seaside community on the coast of MA. The narrator of "The Good House" is Hildy Good, a top-notch realtor entering her sixties with a drinking problem intertwined with the requisite personal issues accumulated through decades of denial. After a stint in rehab, Hildy feels she has a grip on her problem--she just needs to control her alcohol consumption, not give it up. When a beautiful young woman, Rebecca, and her family move to Hildy's community, Hildy finds an unexpected friend. Hildy can trace her ancestry back to the Massachusetts of the 1600s, where one of her ancestors was tried and hanged as a witch. Hildy can "read" people due to her astute powers of observation and her many years of dealing with the public and their idiosyncrasies. She lets people think that she can read minds because it amuses her and suits her purposes. She just can't get her own mind to accept the fact that she must give up alcohol, and in true alcoholic tradition, she blurs reality in her thoughts to excuse and erase her own actions. Her marriage ended because her husband was gay, and her relationships with her grown children are anything but smooth. Then there's Frank--her old flame and lifelong friend--who wants more than friendship from Hildy. When local scandals leave no one untouched, Hildy finds out just how connected she is the people in her community, and it's time for her to choose her future path. Will she force herself to face her alcohol addiction? Is there a second chance for happiness for Hildy and Frank? Author Ann Leary will have you rooting for her perfectly imperfect heroine to find her way out of the bottle and sail toward a clear horizon.

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine


Ann Leary

Ann Leary is the author of the memoir An Innocent, A Broad and the novels Outtakes From a Marriage and The Good House. She has written fiction and nonfiction for various magazines and is a co-host of the NPR weekly radio show Hash Hags. Ann tries to compete in equestrian sports and is a volunteer EMT. She and her husband, actor Denis Leary, and their family share their small farm in Connecticut with four dogs, three horses, two cats and a resident ghost.

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