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Interesting,
Insightful,
Dramatic

14 reviews

The Good House: A Novel
by Ann Leary

Published: 2013-10-01
Paperback : 320 pages
50 members reading this now
50 clubs reading this now
16 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 14 of 14 members

Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of a small community on the rocky coast of Boston's North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. And she's good at lots of things, too. A successful real-estate broker, mother, and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights ...

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Introduction

Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of a small community on the rocky coast of Boston's North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. And she's good at lots of things, too. 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, sent her off to rehab. Now she's in recovery?more or less.

Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy finds a friend in Rebecca McAllister, one of the town's wealthy newcomers. Rebecca 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 Rebecca is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an old friend 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 protect her own reputation. When a cluster of secrets becomes dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one person 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.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

one


I can walk through a house once and know more about its occupants than a psychiatrist could after a year of sessions. I remember joking about this one evening with Peter Newbold, the shrink who rents the office upstairs from mine. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. 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?
2. Hildy likes to entertain others with her “psychic powers” and yet she also informs people that she really doesn’t have any special intuition, that she “just knows a few tricks.” Does this duality show up in other parts of her personality?
3. The New England setting is very much part of The Good House. And yet the author doesn’t spend a lot of time on the description of the area. What makes this book so quintessentially New England?
4. What do you think of Hildy’s assertion that she can tell everything about a person just by walking through his or her house?
5. Wendover, Massachusetts, is being taken over by hedge-fund managers who “want it old, but want it new.” Do you think there will ever be a point at which they are accepted by the “townies?”
6. Why do you think Hildy and newcomer Rebecca McAllister become such fast friends?
7. What do you think of the author’s portrayal of alcoholism and its effects on the drinker and those around them?
8. What happens to Hildy’s attitudes about others when she drinks?
9. Frank Getchell seems an unlikely romantic figure. Why do you think he has carried a torch for Hildy all these years?
10. Hildy claims to be unsentimental about relationships and things. Do you believe this is true about her personality?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Good book for discussion
by debi123c (see profile) 10/17/16
The book made for good discussions but the questions provided were really bad so we just ha a general discussion.
The Good House Audiobook
by Edwards8 (see profile) 07/29/14
I would suggest getting the audiobook for this one. The narrator is delightful and entertaining! We had everyone bring a bottle of wine to the meeting.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by LaurieKreitzer (see profile) 04/08/17

 
by Hindsnorth (see profile) 09/27/19

 
  "Very realistic "by debi123c (see profile) 10/17/16

Very accurate picture of an active alcoholic and the torture the put themselves and other thru. Very much a savory page turner with lots to discuss.

 
by brenstuhr (see profile) 10/15/15

 
by cooljewell (see profile) 08/13/15

 
by couchde (see profile) 08/11/15

 
  "Funny and an easy read"by Edwards8 (see profile) 07/29/14

Our book club really enjoyed this book. One of the members even stated that she now understand how an alcoholic feels about drinking, it's how she feeling about chocolate! We laughed about this book all... (read more)

 
by DaniCaraveo (see profile) 06/11/14

 
  "The Good House"by llorton (see profile) 05/21/14

Our book club was mixed in its review of this book. Some didn't relate to the characters. We all liked the setting for the novel. Most of our 11 just liked it okay.

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