Author: Menna van Praag
For over 61 years, Peggy Abbott has been overseeing the house at 11 Hope Street, Cambridge, England. Peggy is from a long line of Abbotts, including her 200 year old ancestor who founded the House. Most people cannot see the house as it only appears to women in spiritual direction and need. And each visitor can only stay 99 days, to turn their lives around. Of course, the House is there to assist, and Peggy to lead the way – but the women have to listen.
With the help of Peggy and The House, which features photographs of every famous woman who has been to the House in the last 200 years, Alda Ashby comes to the house due to her Aunt Stella’s invitation. There are two other guests, Carmen and Greer, and as the three women, along with Peggy, sort out their lives, this amazingly creative novel lifts and sways along with the flowers in the invisible garden. When Peggy is told that her death is imminent, she has to hope that one of the three visitors will have the secret ability to take charge of the House – the ability to maker herself happy along with making others happy. As Peggy learns about her heart, Alda learns about love, Carmen learns how to face her fears and soar, and Greer finds her wishes come true, we all wish we were the fourth visitor at 11 Hope Street! The House, along with Peggy and her visitors, is its own character, with its own entrancements and foibles.
Like Alice Hoffman, The House at the End of Hope Street springs fresh breath to readers of all kinds. Anne Tyler like characters, odd inventions, optimal advice from the likes of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Taylor from their photographs to the women who visit, along with characterizations that prove strong and true, this is a not to miss novel for women of all ages. There is just something – SPECIAL – about van Praag’s writing. And within her mist of yearning, and non-Muggles who have special features (like Alda, who sees things in colors even before they happen), this lovely little novel reminds me of the early J.K. Rowling, who spins her wonderful characters as deftly as does van Praag. Get it. Read it! And smile all the while.
The House at the End of Hope Street: A Novel is available through our link on Amazon.com
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Overall: The Little Novel That Could – 5
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.