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The Carriage House: A Novel Hardcover – March 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451688636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451688634
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For 30 years, William Adair’s daughters were the light of his life: breathtakingly beautiful Isabelle, promising actress Elizabeth, and tennis ace Diana, who, in his eyes, seemed to shine brightest of all. In the wake of a stroke, William makes the sobering realization that his girls aren’t the perfect children he’d always thought them to be. Isabelle has a drinking problem, Elizabeth is getting a divorce, and Diana has lost both her tennis swing and the swing in her step. To make matters worse, William’s wife, Margaux, is suffering from dementia. When some unfortunate zoning laws cause William to lose possession of a lovely carriage house built by his grandfather, an inebriated Isabelle sets fire to the place. The act lights a spark in aspiring architect Diana, who goes on a mission to rebuild it. Meanwhile, as Margaux begins to fade, William’s longtime friend Adelia reenters his life, prompting his daughters to wonder about her motivations. In this engaging debut, Hall renders an intriguing cast of characters striving to find hope in the midst of despair. --Allison Block

Review

“Ambitious…Intricate…A splendid, carefully-plotted, open-hearted novel.” (James Zug The Boston Globe)

“[A] marvelously mature debut…Hall displays a Whartonian malice…[and] seamlessly transitions among the many individual points of view…The novel’s technical proficiency and its gratifyingly nuanced ending make it easy to recommend." (Sam Sacks The Wall Street Journal)

“[The Carriage House is] a twisted family saga lodged in John Cheever and Wes Anderson.” (Rebecca Bengal Vogue.com)

“Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this debut novel follows three daughters who work together to restore their father’s health and save their Main Line, Philadelphia home and all it represents.” (O, the Oprah magazine)

“Louisa Hall deftly explores the notions of romantic and familial regret in her debut novel…The Carriage House is full of compelling personal portraits—characters who’ll stay with you long after you put the book down.” (Charles Ealy Austin American-Statesman)

“Hall provides keen insight…A thoughtful, character-driven novel.” (Christine Perkins Library Journal)

“Hall’s decision to shift the perspective to include multiple voices deepends the reader’s empathy for characters who were more minor (and noxious) in Persuasion.” (Kimberley Jones Austin Chronicle)

"Louisa Hall writes about the wars waged between neighbors and family members with extraordinary sympathy and a keen sense of humor. Part Jane Austen, part John Cheever, this tale of upheaval in a suburban Philadelphia household marks the debut of a stunning new writer." (Philipp Meyer, author of The Son)

"Every sentence in The Carriage House is full of clarity, attention, and grace. Louisa Hall is a writer to be admired.” (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds)

The Carriage House is gorgeously detailed and rife with betrayal, heartbreak, nostalgia, lost love, and possibilities for redemption. You will ache for the Adair family, cringe at their mistakes, and plead with them to make peace with each other before it’s too late. In her smart and insightful debut, Louisa Hall examines the ways in which we fail and forgive others—and ourselves.” (Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise)

"Graceful prose... The themes of memory and nostalgia threading through the novel are especially resonant." (The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Found this book very slow and did not enjoy it.
tracy wragge
The characters practically shine from the page; their strengths and flaws feel incredibly real and even dear to the reader.
L. Turnbull
The storyline was too far-fetched for me to care about it.
rugbow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
William sits watching his three daughters Elizabeth, Diana, and Izzy and despairs of the women they had become. He longs for the fierce girls eating up the Tennis courts with ferocity and flare. William in fact is my least favorite character in this book. While I understand his late life musings of dreams lost and found, I was repelled by several scenes in which he internally or verbally castigates his daughters for their lacks. Even his flashes of love for them do not really make up for his pettiness.

I liked the daughters. And I liked the way the book is written with chapters exploring the internal dialogues of various characters. It is true, as one neighbor intuites, that they cling almost sullenly to disappointment and failure. And these moments of self pity are not their finest. But I think the writing fleshes them out to a more dimensional presentation. Of the three, Diane's struggle to reclaim the parts of herself she thinks lost is the most compelling to me.

I liked the story overall, and I kind of got sucked into the drama of saving the carriage house now bereft and derelict. The plot drew me in and I found the writing to have moments of intense insight. The book is entertaining and I found myself thinking over some of the life choices of the characters between readings; I like that quality in a book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nell B on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't understand some of the negative reviews. The characters are flawed, difficult and self absorbed. Like most of us I suspect. They deal with reality and it is an absorbing and interesting novel. That it is by a first time novelist makes it more impressive and the echoes of Persuasion are charming and on a rereading very clever. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. J. McInerney on March 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For William Adair, a decaying carriage house built by his grandfather that now, because of a zoning error, sits fallow in a neighbor's backyard is the symbolic representation of his family's decline. In Louisa Hall's first novel, William suffers a minor stroke and watches the lives of family members fall apart around him.

Hall is a sterling writer and has deftly written a story in which tennis, along with the characters, plays an important role. Set in a small town outside of Philly, William's daughters were all once champion players at the local Country Club. Almost alienated from their father, they are also lost to their mother, Margaux, suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. Adelia, in love with William from childhood, moves in to effectively become Margaux's replacement. These add up to a solid psychological drama that depicts both typical and atypical modern-day familial situations to which just about every mature reader can relate.

Submitted by June J. McInerney, Literary Blogger and author of "The Basset Chronicles".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Turnbull on September 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hall uses words to paint an exquisite portrait of a family damaged by time, circumstance, and ego. The characters practically shine from the page; their strengths and flaws feel incredibly real and even dear to the reader. I found myself rooting for the Adairs ... and hoping Louisa Hall I working on a second novel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HoneybearII on June 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took me a bit to get into this book, but eventually I found myself caught up in the characters. A good read with some thought-provoking writing about family dynamics and the expectations we place on our families and they place on us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucinda on May 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Heartrending and powerfully moving this exquisite, truth-drawing tale captures the essence of family life so acutely. The Carriage House is the centre of William Adair and his two beautiful and talented daughter's lives, with its historical value and significance casting a shadow over its inhabitants. Elizabeth, Diana and Isabelle struggle to find clear direction as they encounter personal betrayals and family fallouts. All the while the house falls into decay, as the links binding each individual begin to fray and snap. Full of heartwarming poignancy and focusing on forgiveness, this is a tale that reminds one of how strong the connection is between relatives, and how the home is where the heart is.

Within a suburban setting Jane Austen's classic `Persuasion' is modernized and totally transformed into something fresh and contemporary. Character-driven and sincere, the warmth and sympathetic way in which the author captures the hearts of her heroines is wonderfully assured.

Intricately woven and fascinating this novel is a classy edition to contemporary fiction, combining tragedy and humor in such a clever way. A romantic comedy that observes each character in-depth so as to bring their separate stories vibrantly to life, and which link together like the pieces of a perplexing puzzle. I was enchanted by Louisa Hall's writing style and so I am greatly intrigued to find out what she is going to write next, for I truly believe her to be an exceptional new writer.

*I was sent a copy of Louisa Hall's the carriage house from "Love Reading" to read and review*

www.lovereading.co.uk
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jane sughrue giberga on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing is stronger than the story. I look forward to this author's next book. The novel sort of wanders off course at one point.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Book Lady on April 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was initially attracted to the idea of a story about an effort to save an architecturally interesting carriage house in a Philadelphia suburb, but the characters are so self-absorbed and have so little empathy for or interest in one another that I am giving up after 100 pages. A father suffers a stroke, his wife has Alzheimer's, his childhood friend (whom he should have married) moves in and begins directing everyone's lives, while his three selfish daughters (living at home or close by on Daddy's dime) circulate around the edges of the story, not having independent lives of their own. None of them are likeable, or even that interesting (as the self-absorbed rarely are). My dislike for the book closely mirrors that of the other reviewer who gave it a similar rating.
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