This novel reads like those family dramas you’ve surely seen at least once on the TV and it has everything from a lovely house where everyone gets together to celebrate holidays to sibling rivalry and the arrival of an outsider which shakes it all up – oh and of course, inheritance.
Our narrator is Charlotte Maynard a late-twenty-something year old who happens to be agoraphobic. She lives in the Lake house previously owned by her late step-father Whit Whitman with her mother Joan and her sister Sally who occasionally comes there to stay for a while. Being agoraphobic she rarely leaves her house or goes anywhere but she fills her social exclusion by having a ‘mommie’ blog and posting about her fictional family as well as writing Listicles for some websites. She lives a peaceful and secluded life but when the arrival of her brother Spin and the news about his engagement to the beautiful Laurel come up – everything takes a different turn. This is where all the drama begins and you can see why I wrote the beginning of this review the way I wrote it. From Charlotte’s on-and-off relationship with Everett (he was taken in as a caretaker of sorts by Whit and lives in a house near theirs) to Laurel’s mysterious interest in the family home and their property the drama is set and ready to begin.
I liked the setting of the book because it’s a nice escape – we go to the Lakeside Cottage and look at a family and observe their life filled with different happenings. The character of Charlotte is very likable and she felt somewhat real because of her agoraphobia and other issues. I loved the stories of Whit and how we got to see who he was when he was alive – how he taught the girls to play banjo, as well as some survival skills. Charlotte’s sister Sally was a very interesting character but I hate how the author wrote her bipolar tendencies and how her family treated her. I don’t feel like this book represented mental illness very well which is an important thing to do. You could guess by getting deeper into the book that the author slowly reveals Sally’s bipolar tendencies and you come to a conclusion that she’s bipolar but what I don’t get is that close to the end of the novel there’s talk of her being bipolar as if it was something we already didn’t know. Sadly, I felt that the ending was pretty much rushed and predictable because of the happenings in the book. This book could’ve been more polished and the story could’ve been better developed particularly the confusing and rushed ending.
This was a fun escape into a story filled with family drama and secrets which I’m sure everyone enjoys and loves to read.
I would like to thank the publisher (Corvus Books) for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.
Ann Leary is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Good House , as well as the novel, Outtakes From a Marriage , and the memoir, An Innocent, A Broad. Her work has been translated into 18 languages and she has written for the New York Times, Ploughshares, National Public Radio, Redbook, Real Simple among other publications.
The Good House is currently in development for a feature film produced by Tribeca Productions and FilmNation.
Her new novel, The Children, will be published in May of 2016.