Carriage House by Louisa Hall
Nostalgia – a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. (from Dictionary.com) Each character in this story can be described as nostalgic, they find sometimes this is good, but mostly it holds them back from being who they need to become.
The Adair family lives in an affluent suburb that William’s father helped design and develop. William followed in his footsteps by becoming an architect. He had a great love for the carriage house he thought was on his property, but due to a zoning issue realized was actually on the neighbor’s property.
Just as the beauty, talent, and pride in his three daughters fades, these same things fade in the carriage house after William suffers a stroke. William’s wife is suffering from early dementia and rarely mingles with the family and is unable to help him recover. He asks his former girlfriend/family friend (who BTW still loves William) to move into their guest room to help. They all take on the effort of saving the carriage house in their own way, which helps each of them relocate the parts of themselves they’ve lost.
As a debut novel I found it to be okay; however I did not feel the content about the mother, and father’s former girlfriend to be realistic. I appreciated the love they have for their family history and the respect they gave to their grandfather for his architectural talent.
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