I rushed to buy this book after reading about it on Liz Lloyd’s #FridayFiveChallenge post and am so pleased I did. The House At The End Of Hope Street is women’s fiction, the book is set in Cambridge, UK. Oh I so didn’t want this book to end, it was truly delicious! My feelings about the book were a mix; I was a gown-up in Alice-in-Wonderland and I felt like Harry Potter seeing the Weasley house for the first time all rolled into one. The shear delight of Number 11 Hope Street, I want to go there now, I want to spend 99 nights and you will too.
Alba Ashley is 19, intelligent beyond her years she is already at Cambridge University doing a PHD in modern history, she sees spirits, ghosts, auras and more, yet she is alone, lost and currently in deep shock. Her footsteps take her to the doorstep of number 11 Hope Street and Peggy Abbot. Alba is invited in, the walls are filled with photos of old residents; Daphne Du Maurier, Virginia Woolf and Caroline Herschel to name but a few.
Peggy offers Alba a room for 99 nights, no rent, no bills to pay, just take care of the house and the house will take care of you. The house is a refuge for women who lose hope. But it’s much, much more than that, the house is alive, magical, it nurtures, soothes and inspires the residents.
There are two other ladies living in the house at this time, Carmen a Spanish singer with a secret and Greer a broken hearted actress. The storyline evolves around the healing power of the house on all four of the characters as the author slowly peels away the layers of their lives allowing us to be there with all the women. Peggy has her own tower room as caretaker of the house where she has delightful tea cups painted with tarot cards which read the future of whoever drinks from them and crockery with moving characters from fiction.
Alba makes her first friend, a ghost called Stella, who lives in the kitchen and is there for her when she has news that her mother has died. This is a possible set back for Alba in her recovery however where one door closes another opens. The house sends paper messages which often take a little work to understand.
I want to tell you so much more, but it would spoil your own enjoyment of this book, I loved Peggy and her chocolate cake eating habit, I loved Alba for who she discovered she could be and Greer and Carmen and I loved the fact that after the author had finished this book she found out that there really is a Hope Street in Cambridge, but no number 11 – spooky!
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