I was lucky enough to get an advance reader copy of this book. And then, because I’m a fair kind of guy, I waited until everyone else had a copy to read it.
I enjoyed Ann Leary’s style, I loved the setting, of course, and it made me slightly homesick, throughout. It’s set in a fictional town on the north shore of Massachusetts, God’s own country. While she did an excellent job giving an idea of the area and habits of inhabitants of areas like these, at times it felt a little heavy-handed. But perhaps that’s me. I know what a regular coffee is at a Dunks. I feel like this should be an ingrained part of every human soul on the planet, something that everyone understands intrinsically. But I could be wrong. She also leans a little hard (or is that ‘hahd’?) on the colloquial spellings for the locals, and I suppose it’s been a general national trend for the last few years to point out that, hee-eeeey, people from the Northeast and in and around Boston talk differently, sometimes. Hell, my own daughter, born down the road in a non-fictional north shore town, is obsessed with how daddy and his parents say things.
But I got past all that stuff and got sucked into this story of Hildy Good, the witch’s descendent with a penchant for reading people and selling houses. And drinking. When I wasn’t enjoying the story and getting sucked along like detritus from a 747 that was ripping apart at the seams an inconvenient distance from the ground, I often had thoughts that the Leary household must either be one gigantic alcoholic mess of a party, 24/7, or it must be 100% totally dry. Between “The Good House” and Ann’s husband’s show Rescue Me, about an alcoholic, recovering alcoholic, no, no, plain alcoholic fireman, I feel as if I could get a contact buzz off the sheer volume of liquor and wine being consumed between the two stories.
And why not? Ann certainly has plenty to celebrate with this pretty well wrought story about a fictional town in the loveliest place on earth.