Written By: Ann Leary
Narrated by: Mary Beth Hurt
Published by: Macmillan Audio/St Martin’s Press January 15, 2013
Length: 10 hours and 12 minutes
Hildy Good knows everyone, she’s lived in Wendover her entire life and now she sells real estate. The lovely North Shore of Boston continues to gain favor with those wanting to live in an upscale area just outside the city. She enjoys knowing the ins and outs, the juicy gossip of the people in her town. She’s developed quite the reputation for knowing what people want in a home, and just where to place them. Hildy has a tenuous relationship with her grown daughters, who formerly held an intervention to rescue her from her drinking problems. Hildy’s been keeping up a good front of being totally sober.
When a new family moves in Hildy becomes friends with Rebecca, mother of two, husband too absorbed in his work. As a newcomer, Rebecca doesn’t know Hildy’s history, so when she has her over for dinner and offers her some wine, it opens a gate for Hildy to have a drinking buddy. Now Hildy can escape her ritualistic drinking alone in her house. Her drinking has rules, hiding it, wine only, no driving, no phone calls. When Hildy does find out a new secret she sees so many problems going on, but none of her own.
Ann Leary has written such honest and broken characters in The Good House I could just go on and on about this one. Hildy is in her 60’s and she gives you that I am who I am persona. She’s proud to share she’s a descendant of witches and likes to impress with some magical mind reading tricks at parties. She’s observant, very much so, she never misses anything that happens in Wendover. The reader learns of her youth, and her young love interest, who is still in town, and owns the local garbage company. Not exactly the kind of person you would think Hildy would socialize with, or admit to.
Taking on the issue of alcoholism is a tough topic, but Leary does so with a perspective that is rarely seen. As Hildy spins deeper into her wine drinking she begins to black out, and yet she can’t see how serious the problem is. Hildy is so busy trying to manage the disasters she anticipates in others lives, she’s oblivious to the train wreck that is her own life.
The narration by Mary Beth Hurt is excellent, an actress with credits I’ve enjoyed for many years, her inflection and pace makes this book come to life in the audio book format.
I’ve given this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you haven’t picked this one up, I highly recommend it.