Book Review: The House at the End of Hope Street

March 27, 2014 Book Review, Giveaway, reviews 14

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review:  The House at the End of Hope StreetThe House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Pragg
Published by Penguin on March, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism
Pages: 320
Source: complimentary review copy
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What a fantastic dream ~ a house in which a woman can escape from the world for 99 days while she figures out what to do next.  A place where when one is at the end of her rope and it seems as though all hope is gone, the house at the end of Hope Street is there to bring you back round again.

Trust yourself and you shall know how to live.

We get a peek into the lives of three women who have lost their hope and the den mother who oversees all the goings on.  Alba has had the Worst Thing Ever happen;  Carmen has escaped a brutish and brutal husband;  while Greer’s career has lost its fizzle.  Peggy Abbot is the overseer and third generation of Abbot women to devote her life to the House.  When the story begins Alba is just finding the house and discovering the hundreds of famous women who have also stayed ~ the likes of which include Florence Nightingale, Sylvia Plath and George Eliot.

“Oh dear,” Stella smiles, “Doris Lessing wouldn’t be too impressed to hear that.  She actually stayed here while she wrote it, a few years before I arrived.  She now resides on the living room wall.  You should visit her, she’s an inspiration to any writer.”

As Alba settles in we learn of the house’s special quirks ~ like waking up to a roomful of books and personal messages to each of the residents floating down from the ceiling.  All of the wondrous things you could imagine in a haven for women {especially women who love to read} are included in this house.  The magical realism is like entering a dreamland in which women are nurtured, loved and inspired for 99 nights ~ if only there truly was a place such as the house at the end of Hope Street!  It would never be empty!

The writing is sweet, understated and pulls you in.  The differences among the women residing in the house were such that many women could relate to at least one of the characters either in age, season of life or circumstances.

There were a couple of aspects I did not particularly find believable/enjoyable ~

  • Peggy’s storyline ~ she gave up so much in order to be den mother to the women she found on her doorstep and yet there were pieces to her mothering that just didn’t sit well with me.  I wanted her to be more involved {not a helicopter mom, mind you} but she seemed to stay not quite as involved as I guess I would have expected.  And her love interest? Man oh man was he a patient man!
  • The house itself seems to evolve with these particular residents ~ why didn’t it evolve say 20, 30, 50 years ago?  Why did it find the need to change now?
  • And Blake?  Ugh! Blake! ~ that storyline aggravated me to no end.  Why? Why? Why Blake did you have to get involved?!?

Overall The House at the End of Hope Street was a book lover’s dream come true.  A house that would care and provide for my every need and desire while nurturing my creativity and soul ~ who could ask for anything more?  If you love novels by Sarah Addison Allen or Alice Hoffman, then you’ll definitely want to read this one!

A very cool addition to the book is a listing of the women whose photographs adorn the walls of the house along with her contribution to history.  The publisher has also included a wonderful resource for book clubs here.

With many thanks to the publisher I have one copy to giveaway to a reader from the United States.  Simply leave a comment with which female literary author OR character you would love to spend time with.  The giveaway will end on March 31st at midnight.  Winner will be notified by email.

I received a copy of The House at the End of Hope Street for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In no way does this affect my opinion or review of the novel.

14 Responses to “Book Review: The House at the End of Hope Street”

  1. Jenna Evans

    This one seems so interesting to me, an added title to the TBR list! I would love to spend time with Virginia Woolf myself.

  2. tanya

    I started this book last night and I’m surprised at how much i am enjoying it with its magic realism and stuff. It’s a little fanciful for my liking, and yet I keep reading.
    tanya recently posted…Bloggiesta Spring 2014My Profile

  3. ellie

    I would have loved to spend time with Lucy Maud Montgomery. Thanks for this lovely giveaway.

  4. stacybuckeye

    Oh, I’d love to win this one. Well, I wouldn’t mind hanging with Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice so she’d dish about Mr. Darcy!

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