Title: The Good House
Author: Ann Leary
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Edition: review copy Source: publisher
Date Completed: January - 2013
Hildy Good, the story's protagonist, is a woman with her fair share of baggage. She's 60, divorced, one of her descendants was hung during the famous Salem Witch Trials, and she is just out of rehab - pressured by her daughters to spend some time there to help her with her alcohol related issues. She is also well known in her in her tight-knit coastal community on Boston's North Shore as a top-notch realtor in the area. Hildy claims that her instincts about people come from her years of experience visiting their homes as part of her profession.....
"I can walk through a house once and know more about its occupants than a psychiatrist could after a year of sessions. I remember joking about this one evening with Peter Newbold, the shrink who rents the office upstairs from mine."
" ' The next time you get a new patient,' I offered, 'I'll sneak to their house for a walk-through. While you jot down notes about their history, dreams, obsessions, whatever, I'll shine a flashlight into the attic, open a few cupboards, and have a peek at the bedrooms. Later, when we compare notes, I'll have the clearer picture of the person's mental health, guaranteed.' I was teasing the doctor, of course, but I've been selling houses since he was in primary school, and I stand by my theory."
When Rebecca McCallister a wealthy newcomer to the town, has moved into one of the mansions, she has trouble being accepted by the other women in the town. She thinks that moving there with her husband and two young sons may have been a mistake. Hildy befriends her and soon finds herself privy to a sensitive issue that she wishes she hadn't found out about. Between some financial pressures, this newly discovered secret, and getting herself reacquainted with her first love, who is now the the town's garbage man/Mr. Fix-it, Hildy not only feels the pressure mounting, but also her old friend "the bottle" calling her name. One thing is for sure, life for Hildy is anything but dull in this small New England town.
This book was just the type of lighter read I needed this past weekend. It's a book that made me smile all the while I read it. Hildy and the townspeople are characters you'll fall in love with (well maybe not all of them). Treat yourself and spend a few hours with The Good House; I think you'll be glad that you did.