The House at the End of Hope Street

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Are There Lesbians? Yes

What Happens?
Alba Ashby finds her way to the titular House at the End of Hope St by what seems to be chance. There she meets the caretaker, Peggy, who tells her she can stay for 99 days – enough time to fix her problems but not so much that she becomes complacent. Staying in this magical house filled with pictures of famous women (all residents at one time or another), Alba meets two other women with stories of their own. With them she learns to find her place in the world, and how to keep going, even when all seems lost.

The Verdict:
Some books are so wonderful and amazing that you want to tell the whole world about them.  Others, no less amazing or wonderful, you want to keep to yourself like a secret in your chest because when you finish them you are no longer the person you were when you started reading. For me, The House at the End of Hope Street is one of the latter. Luckily for you however, it has lesbians so I feel duty-bound to do a review, no matter how reticent it may prove as I attempt to avoid getting too personal (I don’t know if we’re quite there yet). If you want to know more than I can tell of course, Autostraddle has a review and interview with the author, Menna van Praag.

Stylistically I suppose, there is nothing extraordinarily special about Hope Street so if I was to tell you why I like it so much I would be at a loss. It is well written with a large host of delightfully developed female characters young, old and in-between. Even the least likeable of characters are hard to hate outright (except perhaps for Alba’’s sister and Dr Skinner… ok there are some pretty dislikable characters I take it back).

It’s a very touching story and I spent many of the chapters feeling like I was about to cry, though I never did. It was very easy to empathise with the characters although my life is not even remotely similar to that of any of the characters, except perhaps,  for the fact that I too, go to university and spend a great deal of time in the library.

I loved this book, even if it is difficult to describe why or how, there is just something so magical about it and I hope that if any of you lovely followers decide to read it, you feel that magic too.

 

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