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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Good House

I listened to the Audible version of this novel by Ann Leary and found the narrator's voice to be a bit grating at first but eventually realized that this was exactly how Hildy Good should sound. Hildy is a middle-aged, divorced real estate agent in Wendover, the small New England town where she was born and raised. One of her ancestors was hung as a witch during the Salem witch trials and she herself has a witchy sort of intuition about people. She is also a recovering alcoholic who was in rehab after her two grown daughters staged an intervention. She is easing back into her addiction with "just a couple of glasses of wine" in the evening but, like many addicts, denies that she has a problem now. She avoids most of her friends because she doesn't want them to know she is drinking again. She becomes the confidante of Rebecca who has recently moved to the town with her young family and is having an affair with her psychiatrist who rents his office from Hildy. There is something a little off about Rebecca and we suspect that the affair will not end well.  Hildy also rekindles her relationship with Frank, her old high school boyfriend, who is now the town's jack of all trades. When she's sober she thinks he's beneath her on the social scale but things change when she's had a few drinks.
Hildy's drinking escalates and things start spinning out of control; she has blackouts and a car accident. When Frank, who genuinely cares for her, advises her to tone it down she becomes furious with him. There are a number of subplots that unfold throughout the novel but we see them through Hildy's eyes and she is hardly a reliable narrator. It's a speedy read, not deep or complex, and Hildy is an interesting and convincing character, warts and all. I wasn't sure where the book was going and I thought it ended a bit abruptly but it was a good read and I recommend it.

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