Saturday, June 4, 2011

The New House by Lettice Cooper

"To-day, she thought, is like a crack in my life.  Things are coming up through the crack, and, if I don't look at them, perhaps I shall never see them again.  Ordinary life in the new house will begin to-morrow and grow over the crack and seal it up."

A story about a family on moving day sounds so appealing doesn't it?  I could just picture the china being packed up, smiling faces navigating through hallways full of boxes and everyone dishing up stories about the past.  The New House is sort of like that but there is also a few black clouds and unfortunately most of the characters just didn't appeal to me.
This book was shelved not once but twice because it just wasn't the story I was hoping for but retrieved fairly quickly both times.  That Persephone-grey cover is my assurance that something wonderful lies between the endpapers so I was determined to see things through.  Wondering how others had got on with The New House I searched for some reviews and found a kindred spirit in Simon from Savidge Reads.  His review is eerily bang-on to my sentiments so pardon me for taking the easy route and click here.

Interestingly, the ending of The New House was lovely so all is not lost and perhaps another read down the road may be more encouraging.

Endpaper design - "Rope and Dandelion" by Margaret Culkin, 1936


  1. I, too, attempted this book years and years ago and have the VMC edition ... I wonder whether it's time to give it a go again or perhaps some books just don't live up to expectations, whether they're wrapped up beautifully in a new pale grey livery or not?

  2. Yes, I had mixed feelings about this book too. I came away thinking it was okay but not one of my favorite Persephones. K x

  3. I thought that a book that had been picked up by both Virago and Persephone would be lovely, but I was a little disappointed. The writing was lovely but the characters didn't hold me and I drifted away.

  4. Thank you, ladies, for your support...and you know what else got on my nerves? "Hulloa!" Not a greeting I've ever come across before and I groaned every single time I read it...ugh.

  5. That reminds that me that as children my best friend and I hated what we called hugh-lo books ... where the characters said hullo instead of hello.
    Hulloa would have appalled us.

  6. Agreed that the characters were not likeable, but I liked the idea of the plot. Not sure the story of our moving day would have made a whole book, and I'm not sure I would have come out of it very ikeable (lots of tears and saying "I want to go HOME"...but we're here now...just... And visiting the flat to have a shower (we have no bathroom...) which is now empty feels less like home than this does now.

  7. Oh Darlene, what a shame. I have this at home somewhere - somehow not one of those Persephones that has grabbed me enough to prompt me to read it yet. I think I started it once, but it didn't grab me. Perhaps there is a time and a place for it.

    I know what you mean about Persephone - you expect them all to be good and it is a real disappointment when one doesn't cut the mustard.

  8. mary, Oh that is too funny! I would have been right in there with the two of you.

    verity, The idea was so charming, you're spot on there! You have every right to have a wobble here and there with everything on your plate at the moment. You're making great progress though, I'm so impressed!

    bookssnob, That's the way it goes sometimes. C'est la vie as they say. The Whipple is much better...phew!

  9. I have this one in a VMC edition but will wait until I feel a strong draw to it! :) At least the end papers are lovely and who knows somewhere down the road it might be just the book you're in the mood for.