House and Home – Kathleen McCleary

Title: House and Home
Author: Kathleen McCleary
ISBN: 1401340733
Pages: 272
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.


  1. I’d never actually read any info on this book until your review because that cover looks like something straight out of a department store catalog, not something that belongs on a book!

  2. I’ve had to move around a lot – the longest I’ve ever been in one house is 8 years and the shortest is 6 months – so I’ve learned not to get attached to a building. I’d still like to read the book, though.

  3. Anonymous says:

    She burned down the house! That is drastic.

  4. That was me. I don’t know what’s up with my PDA.

  5. LOL @ Anonymous. This book could be interesting… it’s reminding me of some of the stories I read this weekend in Arsenic Soup For Lovers.

  6. Thanks for the thoughtful review, and for taking the time to post it on Amazon. Ellen’s feelings—and some of her actions—are drastic. It was fun (and painful) for me to explore that as I wrote, and I hope it makes good fodder for some heated (pardon the pun) book club discussions. I’d love to hear what other readers think.
    Thanks again!

  7. I’ve seen many reviews of this book and I’d sure love to read it. Great review!

  8. I just got House and Home in the mail this week – looking forward to getting to it.

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