THE GOOD HOUSE
Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of a small community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. And she’s good at lots of things, too. A successful real-estate broker, mother, and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights have become lonely ever since her daughters,
Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of a small community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. And she’s good at lots of things, too. 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, sent her off to rehab. Now she’s in recovery—more or less.
Alone and feeling unjustly persecuted, Hildy finds a friend in Rebecca McAllister, one of the town’s wealthy newcomers. Rebecca 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 Rebecca is herself the subject of town gossip. When Frank Getchell, an old friend 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 protect her own reputation. When a cluster of secrets becomes dangerously entwined, the reckless behavior of one person threatens to expose the other, and this darkly comic novel takes a chilling turn.
The Good House, by Ann Leary, is 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
“A layered and complex portrait of a woman struggling with addiction, in a town where no secret stays secret for long.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, The New York Times Book 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
“Hildy is an original, irresistibly likable and thoroughly untrustworthy….A genuinely funny novel about alcoholism.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Hildy Good is a complex and layered character—some might say an “unreliable narrator.” Is there a point at which you questions Hildy’s dependability? Is there a point at which she redeemed herself?
Hildy likes to entertain others with her “psychic powers” and yet she also informs people that she really doesn’t have any special intuition, that she “just knows a few tricks.” Does this duality show up in other parts of her personality?
The New England setting is very much part of The Good House. And yet the author doesn’t spend a lot of time on the description of the area. What makes this book so quintessentially New England?
What do you think of Hildy’s assertion that she can tell everything about a person just by walking through his or her house?
Wendover, Massachusetts, is being taken over by hedge-fund managers who “want it old, but want it new.” Do you think there will ever be a point at which they are accepted by the “townies?”
Why do you think Hildy and newcomer Rebecca McAllister become such fast friends?
What do you think of the author’s portrayal of alcoholism and its effects on the drinker and those around them?
What happens to Hildy’s attitudes about others when she drinks?
Frank Getchell seems an unlikely romantic figure. Why do you think he has carried a torch for Hildy all these years?
Hildy claims to be unsentimental about relationships and things. Do you believe this is true about her personality?