Thursday, 19 September 2013

Book ~ "The House With the Wraparound Porch" (2013) Mary Pat Hyland

From Goodreads ~ Along an elm-canopied boulevard rising from a quaint Finger Lakes village stands a magnificent Queen Anne-style house. In the summer of 1920, when Mame McGrath and her family move in across the street, she notices a catatonic young man rocking on its wraparound porch. Mame, a newly hired elementary school teacher, proclaims boldly that she can, and will, restore this man’s psyche - devastated by a drowning in Keuka Lake. What she doesn't anticipate is that he and this house will become the center of her life.

The House With the Wraparound Porch weaves a riveting tale of the four generations to whom this home becomes more than a shelter from life’s storms. It houses their memories of triumphs and failures, of joys and sorrows that ripple across nine decades. Though many will move on, this house will always be a part of them, because it resides always within the deep heart's core.

This is the story of four generations with a focus on:
  1. Jimmy and Mame
  2. Frances and Joe
  3. Clare, Noreen, Maggie, Terrie, Eileen and Molly
  4. Mara

The story begins in 1920 with the meeting of Jimmy and Mame.  Jimmy has just had a tragedy in his life and he becomes Mame's "project" for the summer.  They fall in love and have two children, Frances and Pat.  From there, the kids have kids who have kids.  This book follows the generations through to 2006.  It was interesting to read how much times have changed since the 1920s!  For example, Mame is a schoolteacher but must give up her job if/when she gets married because then she has a husband who will take care of her and she'd be taking a job away from a man who needs it.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well.  The story went off on some odd directions but it kept my attention.  For the most part, the language and activity can be read by everyone (there are just a couple swear words).  It's a long book (over 500 pages) and I thought the author could have made two books out of it ... the first one covering the first two generations and the second one covering the third and fourth generations.  I found that I had enough closure about halfway through (after Mame's death) for the next two generations to start their own book.  There was enough info relating back to the prior generations that book two could be a stand alone.  With the third generation, Clare, Noreen, Maggie, Terrie, Eileen and Molly each had their own chapter to let us know what they were doing and why.

I liked the characters.  Though I questioned/doubted some of their actions/decisions, they were needed to keep the drama in the stories and explain why the characters reacted why they did to things.

The family is really religious (I'm not) but I didn't find that it was over the top.  There is one controversial issue that was focused on a lot but it was integral for one of the storylines.

I look forward to reading more by this author.

I participated in this virtual book tour and received a copy of this ebook at no charge from the author in exchange for my honest review. 

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