Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she's never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house's usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.
She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers - literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds - and maybe even save her life.
Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom that is sure to appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde and especially Sarah Addison Allen.
The House at The End of Hope Street
The house has stood at the end of Hope Street for nearly two hundred years. It's larger than all the others, with turrets and chimneys rising into the sky. The front garden grows wild, the long grasses scattered with cowslips, reaching toward the low-hanging leaves of the willow trees. At night the house looks like a Victorian orphanage housing a hundred despairing souls, but when the clouds part and it is lit by moonlight, the house appears to be enchanted. As if Rapunzel lives in the tower and a hundred Sleeping Beauties lie in the beds.
The house is built in red brick, the color of rust, and of Alba Ashby's coat-a rare splash of brightness in a wardrobe of black clothes. Alba doesn't know what she's doing, standing on the doorstep, staring at the number eleven nailed to the silver door. She's lived in Cambridge for four of her nineteen years, but has never been down this street before. And there is no reason for her to be here now, ...
Coupled with the author's wonderful ability to convey emotion that resonates spot-on, the book feels both magical and grounded at the same time.
(Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
Full Review (1268 words).
Photographs of famous historical women – from writers to activists to painters to doctors – cover every inch of wall space at 11 Hope Street, the setting for Menna van Praag's novel, The House at the End of Hope Street. Among them are two sets of famous sisters: Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell; and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Here's a little something about these sisters.
Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf
Vanessa Stephen was the oldest sister in the Stephen family. She was born in Westminster, London in 1879, was home-schooled for many years, and then later attended both Sir Arthur Cope's Art School and the painting school of the Royal Academy in London. In her twenties, she moved with Virginia...
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