BookBrowse Reviews The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The House on Fortune Street

A Novel

by Margot Livesey

The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey X
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2008, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2009, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lesa Holstine

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Livesey explores the role of luck through four interlocking narratives

Abigail and Dara both experienced life-changing events when they were ten years old. One woman gets on with her life; the other continues to look for answers to her past. The question that Margot Livesey asks is what happens when two women, each with a difficult childhood, become friends and how will that friendship accommodate the ups and downs of romantic love? How does childhood trauma affect people?

As the reader follows Abigail and Dara through life, it's fascinating to see the effects of those early events. Is it luck or fate that brings Dara together with Edward, a musician, and Abigail together with Sean, a Ph.D. candidate? Livesey complicates the question by suggesting that we make our own luck, both good and bad, through our choices, but the effects of those choices are rarely straightforward. Perhaps the most intriguing character in the book is Dara's father, Cameron. Cameron makes one bad decision and the course of his life—and consequently Dara's—changes forever. The author does such an outstanding job of allowing each character to tell his or her story that the reader can actually imagine the road not taken.

Abigail mentions that her grandfather believed, "Everyone had a book, or a writer, that was the key to their life." Dara's stepfather responds, "Does the person have to have read the book? Or is the connection there anyway, and some people figure it out and others don't?" It's up to the reader to figure out Cameron's link to Lewis Carroll, Sean's to John Keats, and Dara's to Virginia Woolf. The most surprising link, and one that humanizes her, is Abigail's connection to Charles Dickens.

In The House on Fortune Street, Livesey devotes one section to each character, and each section pays homage to a different classic English novel. One by one, her characters reveal their lives, and the reader's view changes as the author peels back the story. Livesey's novel is an absorbing study of people who, by luck, choice, or fate, change their destiny.

Reviewed by Lesa Holstine

This review was originally published in May 2008, and has been updated for the May 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.