House & Home
Kathleen McCleary
July 1, 2008
272 pages
Women’s Fiction
Ellen Flanagan has two precious girls to raise, a cozy neighborhood coffee shop to run, terrific friends, and a sexy, if irresponsible, husband. And she adores her house, a yellow Cape Cod filled with quirky antiques, beloved nooks, and a million memories. But as her eighteen-year-roller-coaster marriage heads toward divorce, she’s about to lose it all–her house, her husband . . . and her sanity.

Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Portland, Oregon, Kathleen McCleary’s funny, poignant, curl-up-and-read debut strikes a deep emotional chord and explores the very notion of what makes a house a home.

When House & Home came out last year, and a bunch of bloggers reviewed it, I was absolutely intrigued by the story and REALLY wanted to read the book.  Then, unfortunately, I sort of forgot about the novel and never got around to finding a copy for myself.  So when I saw that it was going to tour with TLC Book Tours, I was possibly the first to email Lisa and request to be a part of the tour.  I’m so glad I did that because House and Home turned out to be every bit as great as I anticipated!

I have to admit that although I really enjoyed this novel, I had a tough time relating to the main character, Ellen.  I personally have never been SO attached to a house in the way she was.  I grew up in a two-bedroom condominium with my six-person family, so when I graduated high school and got to move out and into my college dorm, I was happy as can be.  Of course I have a ton of memories of growing up in that tiny house with my awesome family, but I certainly am not attached to the place itself.  And my current home is what most people would call a “starter” home – my husband and I bought a small townhome with the intent to live here for only a few years until we were ready to buy a bigger place where we will (hopefully) start a family.  So although I love our house, I love the fact that we live here together and it’s OURS, I am not at all attached to the actual house itself.  Home, for me, is wherever the people I love are.

But even though I couldn’t really relate to Ellen, I really liked her.  I liked how passionate she was about what mattered to her most:  her home, her family, and her business.  She felt very real to me – just a normal person trying to deal with all the crap thrown at her, making a few mistakes along the way, but always having good intentions for herself and her family.  The story itself was nothing extraordinary, but it was written so seamlessly and with such great characters to make it stand out as better than a lot of the women’s fiction out there.

House & Home did have sort of a sticky-sweet ending, but this is the type of book where I am okay with, and even appreciate, a happy ending.  I liked Ellen and her girls so much that I just wanted things to turn out well for them.  Not everything wrapped itself up perfectly, but this novel is definitely the feel-good type.  Which I always enjoy. 🙂

I reviewed this novel for a TLC Book Tour.  Check out the other stops on the tour:

Tuesday, September 1st:  A Novel Menagerie

Wednesday, September 2nd: cottage

Thursday, September 3rd:  Book Club Classics

Tuesday, September 8th:  Book Addiction

Wednesday, September 9th:  A Lifetime of Books (guest post)

Thursday, September 10th:  A Reader’s Journal

Monday, September 14th: Beach House: Uniquely Modern

Tuesday, September 15th:  Worducopia

Wednesday, September 16th: Mabel’s House

Thursday, September 17th:  Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, September 21st:  Stephanie’s Written Word

Tuesday, September 22nd: Cottage Affairs