Saturday 22 December 2018

The House at the End of Hope Street

Finished December 12
The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Alba Ashby has found herself in the situation where she has lost her advisor for her postgraduate degree and has been made to feel a fool. The reader doesn't actually know what has happened to her until much later in the book, but we definitely know that she feels lost and uncertain of her future. As she runs from her life, she finds herself at the door of a house that she has never noticed before. It is a large and unusual looking house on a quiet street. She is welcomed into the house by an older woman named Peggy, and to stay, with certain conditions: she can stay no more than ninety-nine nights, and she must follow advice to turn her life around.
Alma is a young woman, the youngest PhD candidate at the university. Her father left home when she was quite young, and her mother has had mental health issues. She doesn't really get along with her other three siblings, particularly the two eldest, and she has no real friends.
As Alma learns the secrets of the house, and determines her direction for the future, she learns several things about her family, herself, and others. She learns about past residents of the house, whose portraits are hanging there, and she is able to converse with them. She learns about the current residents of the house, Greer and Carmen, and what their stories are. And we also follow Greer and Carmen and Peggy herself as we see how they come to terms with their pasts that led them here, and move forward in new directions.
As one guesses from the title, this is a book of hope, of humour and friendship. It is a feel-good read that will have you smiling. I loved the premise and the stories of the various women.

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