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A review of Ann Leary’s new novel: A Good House

by Frank on April 20th, 2013

This is a ravishingly enjoyable novel, told in the first person by Hildy Goode, a sixty-year-old alcoholic real estate agent and fictional 8th granddaughter of the real Sarah Good who was hanged for witchcraft at Salem in 1692, The story revolves around a growing friendship between Hildy and a newcomer to the small coastal Massachusetts town of Wendover, a wealthy, vulnerable young woman who stumbles into an affair with the local psychiatrist. But the story’s magic truly lies in Hildy’s voice–her intelligence, her worldly wisdom, her deep roots in the town and her efforts to deny her alcoholism. The book could have benefitted from a bit more editing in some early sections where a few passages fall flat and some repetition creeps in, but this is a remarkable book. The lyrically described setting and the character of Hildy are fully realized and a delight to encounter.

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