Published by Pamela Dorman Books Genres/Lists: Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from NetGalley.
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
There were a few reasons why I chose to request this book. One was that it had a great cover, which isn’t usually enough for me to click on a book description, but the title was catchy so I gave it a shot (that was reason number 2). The third is that the description sounded pretty interesting and literary fiction’ish, so I was excited when I was approved for the request. I became hesitant, however, when I started reading the book and realized that it is classified as a fantasy/magical novel, which is waaay outside of my comfort zone. But, the first couple chapters were intriguing so I decided to stick with it.
I am so glad I did! Despite being completely different from anything that I normally read, this book was enchanting. The lyrical writing style is very literary fictionesque and the story line is Harry Potter meets Smart House, the 1999 Disney movie starring Katey Sagal – there is a video below in case you missed this little gem.
In the book, women facing a crossroads in their life are drawn to the house at the end of Hope Street. The house is not visible to everyone – only those who need it – and the young women have 99 nights to turn their lives around and are guided by the ghosts of patrons past that live in the paintings (like house Number 12 in Harry Potter).
The primary focus is on Alba Ashby, who at 19 drops out of her PhD program and finds herself at Hope Street. An avid historical fiction fan who can see smells and colors, Alba is an outcast that is guided along by the ghosts of famed literary figures such as Sylvia Plath and Agatha Christie, as well as important women throughout history. With their help, Alba strives to face her fears, understand her past, and work through a blow that strikes down her entire sense of being.
This touching tale is sure to weave its way into the hearts of fantasy/magical and literary fiction fans alike. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book and am so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone to read it. I also like that the male figures in this book don’t conform to the stereotypical knight in shining armor role, but that’s for another post altogether! My only gripe is the references to April 31…. Anyway, I hope you take a chance on this book because it’s surprisingly fantastic.