A magical debut about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need
Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.
She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included George Eliot and Beatrix Potter, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life.
Magical realism, do I need to say more? The words themselves are magical and so is this book.
Alba is a young woman, smart, but troubled. We do not know what exactly happened with her supervisor, but something did and now she feels that her beginning academic career is over. So she finds the house, the magical house that invites her in. There Peggy tells her she can stay for 3 months but that’s it. There she will learn to know herself, find out things about her past and hopefully find a future. There are more secrets but those are Alba’s and the readers to find out.
Other characters are the house, the house with talking paintings and notes that it leaves around. Peggy who owns the house are having a love affair with a neighbor and he wants more. Gree who also is staying in the house has a failed acting career behind her and she wants more. Then there is Carmen who has secrets, and has lost that which she loves the most.
The book was magical, I said it before and I can say it again. I loved seeing the women finding new paths in life. For them finding strength, happiness and love. And the magic was great and real, because that is how the book was made to be. That is why magical realism works so well.
Works for the book
Magical realism /Fiction
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 4th 2013 by Pamela Dorman Books