Summary and book reviews of The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

The House at the End of Hope Street

by Menna van Praag

The House at the End of Hope Street
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2014, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

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.

Excerpt
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, ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. If you were to ever find yourself at the house at the end of Hope Street, who are some of the women that you would like to meet there? What might materialize in your room: a wardrobe, books, a piano, or something else?

  2. Besides the women mentioned in the novel, who are some others that you feel must once have visited the house?

  3. Would you—like Peggy—give up hopes of having a family of your own in order to be the caretaker of such a magical place?

  4. Which of character could you relate to most—Alba, Greer, or Carmen?

  5. Are Alba's psychic abilities a blessing or a curse?

  6. Does Carmen stay with Tiago because she was accustomed to the abuse? Is Tiago's death justified self–defense?

  7. If you were ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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 Members Only (774 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Beguiling and bright, van Praag's (Happier Than She's Ever Been, 2011, etc.) third novel delights with deft writing and charming characters.

Library Journal

Van Praag's fairytale first novel features a house that can change one's life... Fans of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen should like.

Booklist

Starred Review. Van Praag's writing is bright and hopeful, while rich characters combined with an enchanting blend of the real and the mystical make this tribute to individuality a delightful and engaging read. Fans of Jasper Fforde, Gloria Naylor, or Sarah Addison Allen will especially appreciate this story as a celebration of feminine strength and accomplished women through the ages.

RT Book Reviews

Top Pick. Absolutely delightful ... Fans of Sarah Addison Allen will thoroughly enjoy this story from start to finish. Well-drawn fictional characters, sprinkled with famous female characters from the past, combine to tell a tale of life, love, and discovering your deepest desires.

Author Blurb Marisa de los Santos, bestselling author of Falling Together and Love Walked In
This fresh, whimsical book is as full of heart as the house at its heart is full of fascinating women. We should all have such friends and such a refuge!

Author Blurb Brunonia Barry, bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places
Menna van Praag has created a magical book about an enchanted house and the notable women who inhabit it, both living and dead. Richly atmospheric, literary, and textured, The House at the End of Hope Street casts an enthralling spell, giving both characters and readers not only what they most want, but what they ultimately need.

Author Blurb Erica Bauermeister, bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients and The Lost Art of Mixing


An enchanting novel ... Fans of Sarah Addison Allen will be delighted to discover the house at the end of Hope Street, a magical place where ninety-nine days is just long enough to change a life.

Reader Reviews

Louise J

Absolute Magic!
A magical book, an enchanted house, a cast of characters who previously lived there but remain on the walls in photographs to be talked to whenever the desire strikes you. Florence Nightingale, Agatha Christie and Sylvia Plath to name a few. This ...   Read More

Diane S.

The House at the end of Hope
Loved this book. Magical, quirky, enchanting I could go on. All books do not have to be literary fiction, sometimes it is just so comforting to read a book that is fun, with some great characters and an important message, all couched in the most ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Sister Acts

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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