Deborah is a writer and champion of books. She is an independent reader/reviewer, uncompensated for major and minor publishers. With degrees in Fine Arts, ArtHistory/MuseumStudies and English Lit., her interests are eclectic, as are her reading preferences. Surrounding herself with books,artworks, assorted papergoods and a collection of pens, she reads constantly, writes reviews...writes and writes!View Full Profile
Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of an historic community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. Hildy is a descendant of one of the witches hung in nearby Salem, and is believed, by some, to have inherited psychic gifts. Not true, of course; she’s just good at reading people. Hildy is good at lots of things. 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, staged an intervention and sent her off to rehab. Now she’s in recovery—more or less.
Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy needs a friend. She finds one in Rebecca McCallister, a beautiful young mother and one of the town’s wealthy newcomers. Rebecca feels out-of-step in her new surroundings and 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 not everyone takes to Rebecca, who is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an eccentric local 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 cover her own tracks and protect her reputation. When a cluster of secrets become dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one 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.
Amazon Exclusive: Lee Woodruff Interviews Ann Leary
A note from Lee Woodruff on Ann Leary: I became an Ann Leary fan with
her memoir An Innocent, A Broad. And like any fan, by the time I
finally met her, I was mewling like a bucktoothed school girl at her first spin
the bottle sleepover. She didn't disappoint. I loved Ann's first two books. I
mean, the woman can write. She can really write, dammit. And in her second
novel, The Good House, she weaves a tale that is engrossing, fresh and
very, very real. These could be the people in your town, warts and all. I was
eager to interview Ann and hear how this book had come together. And I'm happy
to share some of these insights with you here. Lee Woodruff: What was your biggest challenge in writing this
book? Ann Leary: My narrator was a bit of a handful. The Good House
is told from the point of view of Hildy Good, who may or may not be an
alcoholic. Her daughters think she is, but she is quite confident that she is
not. So my biggest challenge was to make Hildy reliable enough to have the
reader on her side and actually rooting for her, yet at the same time, question
whether she's being completely honest. LW: Is it fun or arduous to choose character names? And how do
you? AL: I love choosing names for my characters. This novel is set in the
fictitious town of Wendover, Massachusetts, which is on Boston's North Shore,
near Salem, Essex, and Ipswich. There are still people in that area who have
ancestors who were involved in the famous Salem witch trials, so I chose to make
my main character a descendent of a real witch, whose name was Sarah Good. I
liked the name Hildy because it sounds like a witch's name. Frank Getchell, a
fellow townie with whom Hildy shares a complicated past, was just always Frank,
in my mind. I've never met a Frank I didn't like. Rebecca McAllister is the
beautiful newcomer. I thought her name sounded lyrical with all the syllables,
and there is a sort of flowing grace about Rebecca, at least Hildy believes
there is when she first meets her. Then it was fun coming up with some of the
nicknames "Sleepy Haskell" etc. Names people got when they were kids and that
have stuck with them all their lives. LW: OK--let's get past it–-the dreaded fiction author question--how
much of you is in Hildy? AL: I've written another novel and a memoir and have learned that when
you write non-fiction, people always want to know what you made up. And when you
write fiction, people always want to know how much of it is true. But the great
thing about writing fiction is you can write about things that you wish were
true and that's what I did when I wrote Hildy's character.
There is quite a bit of Hildy in me, as I have had my own personal struggles
with alcoholism. But we are also very different. Hildy is in her sixties, and a
real New England Yankee--wry, opinionated somewhat strident and I've always
admired her type. I'd like to be a tough old bird. I'd like to not always be
trying to please everybody. LW: Whether or not we want to admit it, we all have our individual and
sometimes weird writing rituals. Will you divulge yours? AL: I try to write every day and I always write in the morning. We
have a lot of animals–-dogs, cats, horses–-and I get up between 5 and 6 everyday
to tend to them and then I return to my bed-desk and write. I write on my bed
with my four dogs and there are papers and snacks and cold cups of coffee all
around me. Really, it's disgusting. Think Grey Gardens. But that's how I write
best, in a semi-prone position surrounded by snoring dogs.
text refers to hardcover only
About the Narrator:
Mary Beth Hurt began her Broadway career with "Crimes of the Heart." She then went on to make her film debut in Woody Allen's "Interiors." Other movie credits include "The World According to Garp," "The Age of Innocence," "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," and "Young Adult." Hurt was also a recurring character in the television series "Law & Order" for thirteen years.
This is the "must listen to" audio book of the season! What a fantastic narrator Mary Beth Hurt is for a fabulous book. A modern day "Goodie Good" of Salem, MA, fame couldn't be cast any better than Ann Leary has done, and if ever a book was made for the movies this would be the one. Just a wonderful book to listen to, and I'm sure a great hardcover book, as well.
Ann Leary has taken her character, Hildy Good, and made her into one of the most endearing lushes I've ever known. I'm not a fan of alcoholism, but Hildy makes her trips through the tulips with wine nearly a sacred passage of fun. She's irrepressible! And, although the town seems to know her business about having been off to a famous rehab.; and, of course she knows all their secrets, too...they make exceptions for each other. Hildy pretends not to drink, and everyone including her daughters choose to think she doesn't. It's a perfect conspiracy until things eventually get out of hand.
Hildy is also suspected of being a witch herself since her ancestor is the Goody Good of Salem witch trial fame. She reads people once in a while as a dinner "trick" though she disavows any real validity to her powers. That doesn't stop locals from believing her... She's the epitome of the town's old family maven. So lovable to the reader, and such a New England fixture to the town and its real estate market. I found her irresistible.
This is a book on CD you will absolutely savor. It has atmosphere, humor, a mystery and humanity. What more could you ask for? The North Shore of MA never looked more real or more enticing than when told through the eyes and life of Hildy Good.
Run to the nearest bookstore for this audiobook. You'll love it!