The Good House
By Ann Leary
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250015549, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
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How can you prove you're not an alcoholic?
It's like trying to prove you're not a witch.
Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of an historic community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. Hildy is a descendant of one of the witches hung in nearby Salem, and is believed, by some, to have inherited psychic gifts. Not true, of course; she’s just good at reading people. Hildy is good at lots of things. A successful real-estate broker, mother and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights have become lonely ever since her daughters, convinced their mother was drinking too much, staged an intervention and sent her off to rehab. Now she’s in recovery—more or less.
Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy needs a friend. She finds one in Rebecca McCallister, a beautiful young mother and one of the town’s wealthy newcomers. Rebecca feels out-of-step in her new surroundings and is grateful for the friendship. And Hildy feels like a person of the world again, as she and Rebecca escape their worries with some harmless gossip, and a bottle of wine by the fire—just one of their secrets.
But not everyone takes to Rebecca, who is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an eccentric local who shares a complicated history with Hildy, tries to warn her away from Rebecca, Hildy attempts to protect her friend from a potential scandal. Soon, however, Hildy is busy trying to cover her own tracks and protect her reputation. When a cluster of secrets become dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one threatens to expose the other, and this darkly comic novel takes a chilling turn.
THE GOOD HOUSE, by Ann Leary is funny, poignant, and terrifying. A classic New England tale that lays bare the secrets of one little town, this spirited novel will stay with you long after the story has ended.
Ann Leary is the author of the memoir An Innocent, A Broad and the novel Outtakes From a Marriage. She has written fiction and nonfiction for various magazines and literary publications and is a co-host of the NPR weekly radio show Hash Hags. Ann competes in equestrian sports and is a volunteer EMT. She and her family share their small farm in Connecticut with four dogs, three horses and an angry cat named Sneakers.
- Hildy Good is a complex and layered character—some might say an “unreliable narrator.” Is there a point at which you questions Hildy’s dependability? Is there a point at which she redeemed herself?
“Leary writes with humor and insight, revealing both the pure pleasure of drinking and the lies and justifications of alcoholism, the warmth Hildy feels toward others when she drinks and the desperation that makes her put alcohol before the people she loves. The result is a layered and complex portrait of a woman struggling with addiction, in a town where no secret stays secret for long.” –J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times Book Review
“Superstition, drama, and intrigue unspool at a perfect pace in Ann Leary’s irresistible new novel, The Good House, a tale steeped in New England character and small-town social tumult.” —Redbook
“One of the best works of Massachusetts fiction in recent memory.” —Boston Magazine
“Fresh, sharp and masterfully told. Hildy’s tale is as intoxicating as it is sobering.” —People Magazine (People Pick)
"Leary... gleefully peels back the pretensions that so often accompany portraits of ye olde Americana." —USA Today
"A sophisticated turn on guilty-pleasure reading that is so well-written it won't make you feel guilty after all, except maybe about reaching for that third glass of pinot noir." —The Huffington Post
"Ann Leary's The Good House creates a one-of-a-kind character in Hildy Good, and gives us a raw, first-person glimpse into the mind of a middle-aged, outspoken wry New England realtor so real she might be someone you know...yet who also is hiding her alcoholism from her family, her town, and herself. By the end you'll be flipping pages, trying desperately to piece together what happened as much as the narrator is doing herself." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of House Rules and Sing You Home
"Leary's genius is to give us a true original: Hildy, a not-so-recovering alcoholic/realtor who crashlands among a colorful cast of New England neighbors, but Leary also says a great deal about the houses we choose to live, the people we're compelled to love, and the addictions we don't want to give up. So alive, I swear the pages of this wickedly funny and moving novel are breathing." —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
"I opened The Good House and was instantly sucked in; I read the whole thing in one sitting and was sorry when it ended. The story is atmospheric, funny, poignant, gritty, and romantic, and Hildy Good is refreshingly candid and lovably flawed." —Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man
"Hildy is an original, irresistibly likable and thoroughly untrustworthy … a genuinely funny novel about alcoholism." —Kirkus, starred review
"Leary’s powerfully perceptive and smartly nuanced portrait of the perils of alcoholism is enhanced by her spot-on depiction of staid New England village life and the redemption to be found in traditions and community." —Booklist
"In Leary’s third book ... the perils of addiction come to life. Sure to please fans of women’s fiction featuring women of a certain age such as the novels of Jeanne Ray and Elizabeth Berg." —Library Journal