Book Review: The Good House by Ann Leary

good house

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Hildy Good is a life-long resident of Wendover, Massachusetts, and as the most successful real estate broker in the sleepy town, she knows everyone and just about everything that is happening. She is a descendent of Sarah Good, an accused witch hung during the notorious Salem witch trials and one of her “talents” is being able to read people. Her life seems to have finally settled down to a predictable pattern, except for her teeny tiny problem with alcohol.  It seems that she understands she has a drinking problem, yet cannot seem to overcome it. Added to that is the fact that the McAllisters have moved into town, and no one seems to be able to befriend Rebecca McAllister, wife of a billionaire hedge fund manager.

I loved Hildy.  I thought she was charming, witty, and while flawed, was interesting and relatable. Sure, she is an alcoholic, but I couldn’t help but root for her to get better.  I enjoyed reading about life in Wendover from Hildy’s point of view, with all the rich history and scandals between residents.  However, as much as I liked Hildy, I found it difficult to figure out exactly where this book was going.  The way Leary wrote, I felt like it was a lot of background information to lead the reader to a climax or a huge event, but nothing like that happened.  Also, I thought Rebecca could have used more character development or background.  She does come off a little mentally unstable, but there is no context of why, or how her life was before moving to Wendover.

Overall I thought The Good House was well written and Hildy was an engaging narrator, but I felt like part of the book was missing. I wished there was more to the Hildy/Rebecca or Rebecca/Peter relationship than what was given, and that there was an arc to the story. It was enjoyable, but ultimately I was hoping for much more.

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