“You can stay here,” Peggy says, for ninety-nine nights, until the seventh of August, just before midnight. And then you must go…”
“If you stay I can promise you this,” Peggy says. This house may not give you what you want, but it will give you what you need. And the event that brought you here, the thing you think is the worst thing that’s ever happened? When you leave, you’ll realize it was the very best thing of all.”
This magical book is exactly what I’ve needed after a steady diet of bleak and haunting novels which comprise the IFFP long list for 2014. Not that I don’t grow from, or often enjoy, bleak and haunting. But I felt it was time for a book for Spring. For rejuvenation. For hope.
The house at which Alba mysteriously arrives one night, after being evicted from King’s College, is a house which moves and breathes. It drops mysterious notes meant specifically for its inhabitants, some of which include ghosts. And it allows conversations with the likes of Daphne DuMaurier, Sylvia Plath and Dorothy Parker as well as many other famous women authors.
The women who live at the house, along with Alba, are each on a journey of her own. There is beautiful Peggy, the 82 year old woman who loves cream with almost every dish and decadent chocolate cake for breakfast. But, not as much as she loves Harry. There is Greer, the woman who longs to be an actress, but perhaps longs to be a mother more. And there is Carmen, the woman with an incredible voice whose marriage has made her too afraid to sing. As each story unfolds, interwoven with Alba’s, it is hard to tell which woman is more in need of healing or of hope. Thanks goodness the house has enough for everyone because “it takes great courage and determination, to keep looking for light in all the darkness of life.”
Penguin is offering to send one reader a paperback edition of this book (U.S. only, please). And for everyone there is a lovely reader’s “kit” here, complete with recipes, discussion questions, and a conversation with author Menna Van Praag. Simply leave a comment below to enter the give-away, along with your email if you will.
Update: the winner of The House at The End of Hope Street, selected by random.org, is Andi of Estella’s Revenge. Congratulations, miss Newly Married!