Published by Penguin Group Viking on 4 April 2013
Genres: Chick Lit, Literary Fiction, Magical-Realism
Source: My copy
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository
Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.
She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included George Eliot and Beatrix Potter, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life.
Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom that is sure to appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde and especially Sarah Addison Allen.
“It takes great courage and determination, to keep looking for light in all the darkness of life.”
What an absolutely delightful read! If you enjoy heartfelt and uplifting literature with a generous sprinkling of magic on the side, then The House at the End of Hope Street is for you.
The story revolves around an enchanted house that appears to women who have lost all hope. Using magic and subtle hints, the house nudges these women back on the right path, usually towards greatness. Some of its previous inhabitants include Mother Theresa, Vivien Leigh and Agatha Christie just to name a few.
The main protagonist is Alba; a young, brilliant Cambridge student who stumbles on the house after her life is turned upside down. There are already two other women residing there at the time. Carmen is a voluptuous waitress who recently ran away from Portugal; and Greer, an ageing actress with a passion for fashion.
I really don’t want to give too much of the plot away, because it is completely wonderful to discover all the twists and turns for yourself. There are delicious mysteries to be solved and eccentric characters to fall in love with. The entire novel is peppered with literary references, and for a bookworm this is very exciting.
Even if you are not usually a fan of fantasy fiction (like me), suspend your disbelief for a moment and believe in magic. It is worth it. The book really does leave you feeling hopeful.
Menna van Praag has a wonderful imagination and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
– Absolute magic!