Author: Menna van Praag
Publication Year: 2013Publisher: Viking (Pamela Dorman Books)/ Recorded Books
Edition: eGalley and audio
Source: Edelweiss and Library-audio
Date Completed: Aug - 2013
Was there ever a time in your life that you wished that you could just run away? Perhaps there was a time when you needed some time to figure out what you should be doing with your life, and whether starting fresh might be the answer? Just maybe, The House at the End of Hope Street is the kind of place we all could have benefited from at one time or another. You see The House at the End of Hope Street, in Cambridge, England is magical. It's a place that can only be seen by women in need -- desperate women who have "lost hope". Whoever stays at the house, has an opportunity to change their life and fix the problems that they are facing, but they must do so within ninety-nine nights.
Alba Ashley is such a woman. She's a young PHD student who has been humiliated at the university; she is also estranged from her family. Feeling hopeless, one day while walking in her hometown of Cambridge, England, she finds herself in front of a house (11 Hope Street) that she doesn't recognize -- it's a rather unusual house as she learns from Peggy the elderly woman who invites her to stay. With no idea what is in store for her and feeling that she has nothing to lose, Alba decides to give it a try and moves in. Some of the current residents include an actress named Greer, a singer by the name of Carmen who is running from her past, and there were many more have come and gone. From the portraits on the walls, some of the woman who came there before Alba included: Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Beatrix Potter, Dorothy Potter and more.
All sorts of magical things happen at this house, and it isn't long before Alba realizes that this house has the power to heal. Like her, those who have stayed there were suffering from loss, heartbreak and were at a new lows in their lives when they enter, but by the time each leaves 11 Hope Street, they find just what they need to begin again.
The story is told from the third person point of view, which changes rather quickly from one character to another. It's one of those stories where you are pretty sure that everything will turn out well for the characters, and it does. The House at the End of Hope Street is a feel good story that was fun to read and also to listen to. This would be a good book to choose if you need a lift or a story to get you out of a reading slump, but don't get your hopes up - reality will still face you when your finished. Menna van Praag is an author to watch for - a very imaginative debut novel that will make you smile.