Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

The Good House: Book summary and reviews of The Good House by Ann Leary

The Good House

by Ann Leary

The Good House by Ann Leary X
The Good House by Ann Leary
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A riveting novel in which an engaging and wildly irreverent woman is in complete denial - about herself, her drinking, and her love for a man she's known all her life.

The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place - "if they invite you over for dinner, and it's not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life" - and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem.

As if battling her demons wasn't enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There's a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire - and a love story between two craggy sixty-somethings that's as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good.

A hilarious and sobering novel about life, love, real estate, and a little too much Pinot Noir

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Despite getting a little preachy toward the end, Leary has largely achieved a genuinely funny novel about alcoholism." - Kirkus

"In this second novel (after Outtakes from a Marriage), Leary creates a long-winded and melodramatic Peyton Place, but convincingly displays the corrosive and sometimes dire consequences of denial and overconfidence. - Publishers Weekly

"Leary's genius is to give us a true original: Hildy, a not-so-recovering alcoholic/realtor who crashlands among a colorful cast of New England neighbors, but Leary also says a great deal about the houses we choose to live, the people we're compelled to love, and the addictions we don't want to give up. So alive, I swear the pages of this wickedly funny and moving novel are breathing." - Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"I opened The Good House and was instantly sucked in; I read the whole thing in one sitting and was sorry when it ended. The story is atmospheric, funny, poignant, gritty, and romantic, and Hildy Good is refreshingly candid and lovably flawed." - Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man

This information about The Good House was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Julie D. (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)

Another hit by Ann Leary
When I got the message that I had a won a copy of Ann Leary's The Good House I was so excited. I loved her previous book and couldn't wait to get into this one.

The Good House doesn't disappoint and is filled a cast of great characters. As you read, the characters all become so multidimensional providing great conversation if you are in a book club.

Don't miss this one!

Cynthia A. (Grand Rapids, MI)

The Good House
"The Good House" captures so many aspects of alcoholism in such a gentle way. Denial, blackouts, the life style, shame, embarrassment and the long lasting effects it has on everyone involved is all a part of this book. Because it is written in first person the reader gets right into the alcoholics head.

I loved this book. It is fast moving, funny, interesting, enjoyable and so REAL.

Debra C. (Vienna, Georgia)

The Good House...a MUST READ for 2013!
Ann Leary's "The Good House" snatched me in with it's first sentence and never let me leave until it's last. Filled with freshly crisp dialogues, settings packed with rich New England details, unforgettable characters full of depth, chilling pasts, and the possibilities of unforgiving futures. Leary's tale fulfills you; the reader will laugh uncontrollably, weep without regard, smile, wonder, fret, but in the end, you truly long to give Hil a call and list your house.

Dawn C. (Meridian, ID)

The Good House by Ann Leary
I thought this book was really fun, poignant, & thought-provoking. Hildy is a realtor who lives in a small New England town. She thinks she can drink in moderation, when she is in fact an alcoholic. But as always, she is in denial. The characters are fun & remind you of people you know. I found the romance as 60 fun & encouraging. Very fun book!

Jane C. (Brighton, MI)

The Good House
A small New England Community. A local alcoholic realtor. This is an interesting combination for the background of a book. Hildy Good is a quiet, nosy neighbor in this small community, who keeps up with the goings on of the town and knows much of the underlying gossip. The book weaves in and out of the lives of the families who live there. You find intrigue, happiness, unhappiness, and and secrets. All of which makes the book a good read.

Kim L. (cary, IL)

Injured Spirit
I found this book to be well written. The characters were well developed especially that of Hildy. This is a book that many can connect with, because the characters experiences are all very believable. We have all either heard of or met someone with these issues. Very touching story and one that left an impression upon me.

...21 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Ann Leary Author Biography

Photo: Cathrine White

Ann Leary is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels, The Children, The Good House, Outtakes From a Marriage, and the memoir An Innocent, a Broad.

Her work has been translated into eighteen languages and she has written for numerous publications including Ploughshares, NPR, Real Simple and the New York Times. Ann's "Modern Love" essay, "Rallying to Keep the Game Alive," was adapted for the Amazon Modern Love TV Series and stars Tina Fey and John Slattery. The Good House was adapted as a motion picture starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline and recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Her novel The Foundling was released in May 2022. Ann and her husband Denis Leary live in New York.

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Ann Leary's Website

Other books by Ann Leary at BookBrowse
  • The Foundling jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more literary fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.