Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: The House on Malcolm Street

I've always loved old houses. I think living in one would be fun, especially if it had lots of cubbyholes and neat storage spaces and maybe a dumbwaiter. When I see one on TV, I want to go and explore it. So, when I saw the cover of The House on Malcolm Street, I fell in love with the beautiful house on the front cover. The wraparound porch really caught my eye. I could easily envision myself on that porch, sitting in a rocking chair with a lemonade in one hand and a book in the other.

House on Malcolm Street, The: A NovelThe house in The House on Malcolm Street is a boardinghouse in a small Illinois town. Owned by Marigold McSweeney, it becomes a place of refuge for Leah Breckenridge and her daughter, Eliza, after Leah's husband and infant son die. Leah is angry at God for taking her loved ones away from her, and she is terrified about what the future holds. Nevertheless, after she moves in with her husband's Aunt Marigold, her heart slowly begins to heal. One person seems to stand in the way of her peace, however. That person is Josiah Walsh, a boarder at the house on Malcolm Street. Who is this man, and why does he keep calling Marigold "aunt"? And what is it about him that pulls at Leah's heart, her broken and fragile heart?

I liked the story at first, as I met the characters and empathized with their pain. Marigold is a likeable old lady, the kind you would want for a grandmother. And her neighbor, Abraham, is also a character you would want to meet. I liked the way that Mrs. Kelly developed these characters and placed them together in the story.

But, as I read more, I found myself losing interest in what was going on. The story dragged a little and too much time was devoted to Leah and how she couldn't get rid of her anger against God. What was good was how the author showed how Leah softened and had more faith as soon as she stopped focusing on herself and began helping others in need. Isn't that what we all should be doing? Getting our eyes off of ourselves and all our "problems", and looking outward to see who we can encourage and how we can "bear one another's burdens"?

I want faith like Eliza, who could see God's goodness in every situation, and who could be thankful in every circumstance. The faith of a child is oftentimes so much more strong than that of people who think they have it all together and who, when the tough times come, get angry at the one Hope that can see them through.

The book probably could have been better if it was a little shorter. But all in all, a pretty good book. I give The House on Malcolm Street 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

(I received this book from Revell Books for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

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