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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A magical debut about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in. She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life. Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of…

Overall Book Review:

Have you ever driven down a street full of houses, all of them blending together…when all of a sudden one house jumps out as beautiful and majestic? It is the epitome of the word “home”, a place to retreat to at the end of a long day, a roof above your head, blankets and books on a cold winter evening. This is how I imagine the house in The House at the End of Hope Street to appear. This house has seen joy and sorrow, triumph and defeat. And though it is weary and old, it still has a role to play in the lives of the characters in this book. I enjoyed the historical aspect this story had to offer; the book mentions many women who had a significant impact on the way the world views women today.

Menna van Praag did a wonderful job of writing a book that is enchanting and magical, yet believable at the same time. As I was reading this book, I imagined if I were to stumble upon a house and be invited in. What if I was feeling lost, and was offered a place of refuge? Would I take a chance and accept it, or would I be frightened and run away? The characters in this book taught me a lot about myself in a surreptitious way and made me think about why I don’t take more chances, because you never know when an opportunity may have a pleasantly surprising outcome. I think one of the main reasons why I enjoyed this book so much is the fact that it is reminiscent of the works of Sarah Addison Allen, who is one of my favorite authors. This is a wonderful, serious, yet lighthearted book, and I would recommend it as a book to be put on your “to-read” list.

Review of Advance Reader Copy

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 4 F-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A character is mentioned to have committed suicide; a man is briefly described to abuse his wife, threatening her verbally and physically; a woman kills her husband.

Sex/Nudity:  Adults exchange kisses multiple times; a man is observed to have had an affair, no details are given; one brief sex scene with no explicit detail, but a little nudity involved; a man is accused of being unfaithful to his wife.

Mature Subject Matter:

Ghosts, adult relationships, murder, spouse abuse.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults smoke; adults are mentioned to drink.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.