Title: House and Home
Author: Kathleen McCleary
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)
From the dust jacket:
Ellen Flanagan has two precious girls to raise, a cozy neighborhood coffee shop to run, terrific friends, and a sexy husband. She adores her house, a yellow Cape Cod filled with quirky antiques, beloved nooks, and a million memories. But now, at forty-four, she’s about to lose it all.
After eighteen roller-coaster years of marriage, Ellen’s husband, Sam – who’s charismatic, spontaneous, and utterly irresponsible – has disappointed her in more ways than she can live with, and they’re getting divorced. Her daughters are miserable about losing their daddy. Worst of all, the house that Ellen loves with all her heart must now be sold.
Ellen’s life is further complicated by an unexpected releationship with the husband of the shrewish, social-climbing woman who has purchased the house. Add to that the confusion over how she really feels about her almost-ex-husband, and you have the makings of a delicious novel about what matters most in the end…
House and Home by Kathleen McCleary is a warm and inviting read. It’s one of those books you want when it’s snowing outside and you have nothing to do but curl up in front of the fireplace and read a book – at least, that’s how it makes you feel on the inside. The book is comfortable, easy to read, and very enjoyable.
Ellen’s antics to try and keep her house are amusing, but her desperation at the idea of losing her house is more difficult to deal with. Ellen feels as though her world is collapsing, but it is the loss of her home, rather than the breakup of her marriage, that she finds devastating. It is clear that she is using her home as an avenue through which to express all her grief, but she continues to desperately cling onto her home even after this realization. This is the one part of the book I had some trouble with. While a house is incredibly important to me, the people in it, rather than the things that make it up, are what makes it a home. I could definitely imagine myself joking around with friends about doing something drastic to make sure no one else but me could be in my home, but I couldn’t imagine actually taking the steps to burn down my own house just so someone else wouldn’t live there!
That being said, House and Home is still a very enjoyable book. The characters are endearing and it really does feel like home. The descriptions of Ellen’s decorating is warm and inviting, and I’d love to visit her coffee shop, Coffee@Home! McCleary has depicted a wonderful story that has a lot of heart. Anyone who has had to move away from a beloved home in the past will find something to enjoy in House and Home.