House & Home by Kathleen McCleary was like a comforting hot cup of tea for me. I felt very drawn to the main character Ellen because of her honest way of sharing her emotions. When this book came in the mail I fell immediately in love with the cover and picked it up with the intention of reading a few pages. Well let’s just say that I finished the book the next day which is saying a lot considering my reading mojo hasn’t been the best this month. It’s really a wonderful novel that I enjoyed a great deal.
The story opens and we find out that Ellen is going to lose her house and she is completely devastated by this. Her husband Sam is an inventor who is mostly irresponsible -a man who basically takes things as they come. He does hold down a regular job but he invents something new and wants to go forward with it which means he wants to do it full time. They end up mortgaging their house and using the savings and unfortunately end up losing it as well. Ellen has had enough. She wants security and most of all she wants her house! Her anger is focused solely on her husband and they separate.
To Ellen her house is everything. It’s where they began their lives together, conceived their children and brought them home among other things. She has put her heart and soul into this house. It’s not only the house she doesn’t want to let go of. She has wonderful neighbors that she’s built relationships with and a coffee shop that she has made very successful. She just can’t picture herself walking away from any of it.
To top it off the woman buying her house is the most obnoxious and irritating woman she has ever met and she can’t stand her. Her husband however is another story. He has been coming into her coffee shop anonymously, wanting to talk to her. Finally she finds out who he is and they strike up a friendship. They find that they have a lot in common especially having to do with giving up their homes – neither of them wants to. Ellen is confused – she is still wildly attracted to her husband but…
Ellen goes to some pretty extreme lengths in her thoughts on ways to keep her home. Even her daughter Sara has some of her own ideas about ways to keep her childhood home. Ultimately though the lesson is that ‘home’ is more than just a house. It’s really what makes up the home – the people and the memories they make there. In many ways I could really relate to Ellen’s love of her home. We moved from my childhood home when I was 17 years old and to be honest I was heartbroken for a long time. I still miss that house and I’m now 43. So many important memories took place there – holiday celebrations, my first boyfriend, you know all that good stuff.
This really was a great story. The author, Kathleen McCleary, is very good at pulling us into this drama and keeping us there turning the pages to see what’s going to happen. I had many ideas of what would probably happen but the twist at the end took me by surprise. She also has a knack for writing in such a way that made me feel that this story was very real. I felt like I might be reading about my own neighbor and I really enjoyed that. I was surprised to discover that this was Kathleen’s first novel. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for her next novel for sure!
I read House & Home by Kathleen McCleary for her TLC Book Tour so many thanks to Lisa for the opportunity to participate. You can buy House & Home here in the US and here in Canada. Also be sure to check out Kathleen’s website here.