The Good House

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Published by: Picador
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Pages: 320
ISBN13: 978-1250043030



How can you prove you’re not an alcoholic?  It’s like trying to prove you’re not a witch. You can’t.

Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of an historic community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. Hildy is a descendant of one of the witches hung in nearby Salem, and is believed, by some, to have inherited psychic gifts. Not true, of course; she’s just good at reading people. Hildy is good at lots of things.  A successful real-estate broker, mother and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights have become lonely ever since her daughters, convinced their mother was drinking too much, staged an intervention and sent her off to rehab.  Now she’s in recovery—more or less.

Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy needs a friend. She finds one in Rebecca McCallister, a beautiful young mother and one of the town’s wealthy newcomers. Rebecca feels out-of-step in her new surroundings and is grateful for the friendship. And Hildy feels like a person of the world again, as she and Rebecca escape their worries with some harmless gossip, and a bottle of wine by the fire—just one of their secrets.

But not everyone takes to Rebecca, who is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an eccentric local who shares a complicated history with Hildy, tries to warn her away from Rebecca, Hildy attempts to protect her friend from a potential scandal. Soon, however, Hildy is busy trying to cover her own tracks and protect her reputation.  When a cluster of secrets become dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one threatens to expose the other, and this darkly comic novel takes a chilling turn.

THE GOOD HOUSE is by turns funny, poignant, and terrifying. A classic New England tale that lays bare the secrets of one little town, this spirited novel will stay with you long after the story has ended.


“Fresh, sharp and masterfully told, Hildy’s tale is as intoxicating as it is sobering.”People Magazine (4 star review)

“Superstition, drama, and intrigue unspool at a perfect pace in Ann Leary’s irresistible new novel, The Good House, a tale steeped in New England character and small-town social tumult.” –Redbook Magazine  (Read more: Review – The Good House by Ann Leary – Redbook)

“One of the best works of Massachusetts fiction in recent memory…Hildy, the novel’s most ingenious creation, is an unsentimental and complicated wiseass, and the force of her character makes The Good House more than a Cheeveresque take on New England society” —Boston Magazine

“When we think of literature arising from small New England towns, we might imagine the spare simplicity of Thornton Wilder’s Grover’s Corners or Richard Russo’s economically destitute mill town of Empire Falls. In Ann Leary’s able hands, the modern New England town of today can be found just north of Boston. It’s the voice of Hildy, though, that makes Leary’s new novel work so well. Her irreverent observations and sharp chatterbox tongue are balanced by a vulnerability that makes her the perfect ironic but all too human commentator on a world too much like it really is. — Shelf Awareness.

“Ann Leary’s THE GOOD HOUSE creates a one-of-a-kind character in Hildy Good, and gives us a raw, first-person glimpse into the mind of a middle-aged, outspoken wry New England realtor so real she might be someone you know…yet who also is hiding her alcoholism from her family, her town, and herself. By the end you’ll be flipping pages, trying desperately to piece together what happened as much as the narrator is doing herself.”   – Jodi Picoult, NYT bestselling author of HOUSE RULES and SING YOU HOME

“Leary’s genius is to give us  a true original: Hildy, a not-so-recovering alcoholic/realtor who crashlands among a colorful cast of New England neighbors, but Leary also says a great deal about the houses we choose to live, the people we’re compelled to love,  and the addictions we don’t want to give up. So alive, I swear the pages of this wickedly funny and moving novel are breathing.” –Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

“I opened THE GOOD HOUSE and was instantly sucked in; I read the whole thing in one sitting and was sorry when it ended. The story is atmospheric, funny, poignant, gritty, and romantic, and Hildy Good is refreshingly candid and lovably flawed.” —Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man

“Hildy is an original, irresistibly likable and thoroughly untrustworthy … a genuinely funny novel about alcoholism.” –Kirkus (starred review)

“Leary’s powerfully perceptive and smartly nuanced portrait of the perils of alcoholism is enhanced by her spot-on depiction of staid New England village life and the redemption to be found in traditions and community.”  Booklist