The Irresistible Henry House

By Lisa Grunwald
(Thorndike Press, Hardcover, Large Print, 9781410425829, 611pp.)

Publication Date: May 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2010 Indie Notables
“Can too many mothers spoil the child? They do in the case of Henry House, an orphan raised in a college home economics 'practice house' in the 1950s. Henry becomes adept at pleasing all of his 'practice mothers,' but at a price. He'll spend his young adulthood figuring out not only how to attract love, but also how to give it. An insightful and bittersweet read.”
-- Molly Young, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA


In the middle of the twentieth century, in a home economics program at a prominent university, orphaned babies are used to teach mothering skills to young women. These "practice babies," are handed off from one mother-in-training to the next, usually staying in a "practice house" for a few years before being sent to adoptive families. For Henry House, the first practice baby to stay on at the university, finding love and learning to trust prove to be the work of a lifetime.

Thursday, Jan 6, 2011

From 1919 to 1969, college home economics programs had "practice apartments" where young women learned the domestic arts, including how to mother by caring for infants lent by local orphanages to live at the school. Author Lisa Grunwald shares the history she discovered in researching her novel The Irresistible Henry House. More at

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