Friday, 21 June 2013

Recommended Read ~ The Carriage House by Louisa Hall

The Carriage House
Penguin Viking
July 4 2013

'You've disappointed me. You had all the potential in the world. You could have been so much.'

William Adair is a man on the edge of despair, his wife Margaux is slowly disappearing into the unfathomable abyss of early onset Alzheimer's, and his three grown up daughters are a disappointment to him, as none seem to have fulfilled their earlier potential. When William suffers a stroke, the family need to put aside their own indifferences and concentrate on the one thing which will reunite them, which is, namely, the restoration of the historic carriage house built originally by William's grandfather. To aid William's recovery, the family pull together to renovate the house, and in doing so attempt to strengthen the bonds of unity which once held them all together.

There is an acknowledgement that inspiration for the story is taken from Jane Austen's novel, Persuasion and the parallel between these two stories is seen in the manipulation of the central characters, and the way in which the family's dissatisfaction with life encompasses everything.  However, by far the most interesting portrayal comes in the sensitive handling of Margaux's deterioration into the loneliness of Alzheimer's, and her written thoughts in her diaries are poignant pieces of narrative.

Intricate and complex, the author deftly manoeuvres between characters and gradually unpeels all the layers which reveal the flaws and imperfections of family life, and whilst dysfunctional superficiality becomes the central theme, it only serves to strengthen the awareness that together we are stronger than when we are alone.

This is a commendable debut novel.


My thanks to the Lovereading Review Panel for the opportunity to read and review this book.

The Carriage House  is available from Lovereading and other books stores from
July 4th 2013

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