Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Guest House by Barbara K. Richardson

Guest HouseThe Guest House by Barbara K. Richardson
2010, 216 pages

After witnessing a car accident in which a biker is killed, Melba quits her job as a real estate agent and stops driving, relying on public transportation to get her where she needs to go. Melba befriends JoLee, who is trying to get a divorce from her husband Gene, who has absconded to Idaho with their son, Matt. Melba rents a room in her house to JoLee, and when Matt comes to visit for Thanksgiving, Melba quickly becomes the most stable adult in his life.

I liked the pace of this book - the plot moved along quickly and kept me interested. I also thought most of the characters were well developed - Melba, Matt, even JoLee and especially Gene. Some of the secondary characters weren't as well developed - I never managed to distinguish Melba's neighbors from each other - but the author really took me into the minds of the main characters, which was the highlight of the book for me.

It took me a little while to get into this book - I feel like I was bombarded with too many characters at first, and I never quite connected with Melba. Once I got into the book it was a quick read, but I still feel like I didn't connect with it on the level that I should have. I appreciated reading the voices of the different characters, but in the end this is a light read that didn't quite hit home.
Melba took the last batch of oatmeal cookies from the oven. She grated cheese, looked out the window and lost herself in the open, unrealized yard. She wondered why she'd ever traveled. When you held still and stopped traipsing around the world, the world came to you. She had tired of splendid sights, rich foods and customs that had nothing to do with her. Even movies, good movies, failed the test. Life was so good she couldn't make time for substitutions. Blind in the way we all are blind, Melba wondered how anyone else ever did. (p130)
I received a copy of this book for review from the author's publicist.


  1. Not connecting with characters is the worst! And I know how you're feeling. Sometimes I feel I should have enjoyed a book more than I did.

  2. Sounds like a good plot but I agree with you that it's hard to get into a book if there is no connection wiht the characters!

  3. Character connection is so very important to me! The idea of this books sounds good, but I think I will give it a pass.

  4. I am not a fan of books with too many characters, but am willing to give this one a chance---I got it as well and I did enjoy your review.

  5. If I cant connect to the characters, I wont enjoy the book.
    Great, honest review!