Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Review: The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

Title: The House at the End of Hope Street
Author: Menna van Praag
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Pamela Dorman
Publish Date: April 4, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're fiction fan.
  • You like a little bit magic.
What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

"The House at the End of Hope Street" centers around Alba, a 19 year old doctoral student, who is trying to find somewhere to escape to after she feels like her life has totally fallen apart. She has nowhere to go as she doesn't fit in with her siblings and her beloved mother has passed away. She is lucky enough to come across a magical house on Hope Street filled with quirky characters and famous ghosts. Alba is hoping that she will be able to begin to put the pieces of her life back together. Oh, and she can see ghosts and auras too, which makes her story especially interesting.

I really enjoyed Alba's character. She's a reader and flies through books like I do, which is always cool. I had to chuckle at the description of her lugging her books in a huge bag on the train (hey, that sounds like how I like to travel). I wish we got to understand more about the inner workings of her character. On one hand, she's absolutely brilliant and seems very mature. On the other hand, she still sometimes acts like a child even though she is 19 years old and already seems to have been taking care of herself for awhile. I wish that the book had focused more on just Alba instead of somewhat splitting the story between Alba, Greer, and Carmen.

I really liked the descriptions of the house. I know that I would love to live in a house with a ghost cat and ghosts of the likes of Beatrix Potter! This book is more just plain magic than magical realism but I thought that it really worked for the story in this case. I liked being able to see Alba's powers and how they affected her life.

Overall, I liked this debut novel and found it fairly enjoyable.



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