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The Keepers of the House | [Shirley Ann Grau]

The Keepers of the House

Abigail was the last keeper of the house, the last to know the Howland family's secrets. Now, in the name of all her brothers and sisters, she must take her bitter revenge on the small-minded Southern town that shamed them, persecuted them, but could never destroy them.
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Publisher's Summary

Abigail was the last keeper of the house, the last to know the Howland family's secrets. Now, in the name of all her brothers and sisters, she must take her bitter revenge on the small-minded Southern town that shamed them, persecuted them, but could never destroy them.

Shirley Ann Grau is a major American author whose works are often set in New Orleans and Louisiana's Creole region. She often reflects the isolated bayous and their French-speaking residents, but her fiction is equally at home with the fiercely independent people of small Southern towns or the sophisticated life of the New Orleans' upper class. The Keepers of the House won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1965.

©1964 Shirley Ann Grau; (P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction, 1965

"Shirley Ann Grau is one of those rare writers who create a world, draw the reader into it, and make him somehow happy there, no matter what goes on....One comes to the novel's end with a sense of loss, and leaves that world with reluctance." (Newsweek)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (274 )
5 star
 (89)
4 star
 (97)
3 star
 (54)
2 star
 (22)
1 star
 (12)
Overall
3.9 (151 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (153 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (27)
2 star
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1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Martha A. Murray New Orleans LA 07-05-13
    Martha A. Murray New Orleans LA 07-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    16
    16
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    "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold"

    I thought from the excerpt this would be a great book. Instead I found a lame excuse for a listen.

    The powerful rich Southern family has a secret. Everyone knows most of it and it is not much of a secret. After all everyone talks and the rich families are great fodder.

    After the patriarch and his mistress dies, only his granddaughter and her family are left to run the family homestead. During her husband campaign for public office, the secret surfaces.

    The town turns vigilante and the granddaughter has the moxie to defend her family when the pillaging mob comes. Her husband has abandoned her. So she takes revenge.

    The author thinks sprinkling the book with the Lord's name used a curse gives it some spice. Cursing rarely gives anything a lift. Using the Lord's name in vain is not good in any circumstances.

    Save your money and pass this one up.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ColorOrange Ford, VA, United States 03-20-11
    ColorOrange Ford, VA, United States 03-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    9
    3
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "Lengthy Descriptions of Scenery"

    Once at the end, the entire story made sense and turned out to be very good. The description of the scenery is so long that the effect on the character is lost and become very boring, especially on Margaret. After Margaret, the rest was interesting that I had wished the author had written a bit more of Margaret instead of ending her the first night she come to live with William Howland. There were certain instance where I did not understand Abigail's point of view. The explanations were brief and vague. I gave the book a five star because I thought the narrator had the perfect voice for this story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie A. Bobskill 12-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    10
    9
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    "Delicious, warm, bittersweet, with a chilling end."
    Would you listen to The Keepers of the House again? Why?

    If this question means if I had the choice to make over again, yes, absolutely, and I intend to explore Grau's other works. If the question means WILL I listen to it again, no, probably not, because I rarely do... too many books and life is too short. But if I had to list books I would listen to again, this might well be one.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the slow, steady buildup. The author was careful in her use of foreshadowing... You know from the opening chapter that something cataclysmic is going to happen, but then the simple, enjoyable unfolding of what seems to be a straightforward tale lulls you into nearly forgetting. Just a spare hint dropped here and there throughout reminds you that there are debts to be settled.


    Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

    Abigail Howland Tolliver, although her grandfather is a close second. I would like to say Margaret, but the mystery in which Grau wraps her makes that impossible.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Keepers of the House and why?

    Two: Abigail the granddaughter, and Margaret. You are able to know Abigail thoroughly, outside and in, by the last chapter. Margaret, though, is memorable for her enigmatic stoicism. We see her capacity for love only briefly, as Abigail glimpses it once through a child's eyes.


    Any additional comments?

    With this book I realized for the first time what an exceptional narrator Anna Fields is. I have enjoyed her narration before without being fully aware of how much her performance adds to the totality of the work. I will now seek her out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Tucson, AZ, United States 11-03-14
    Lori Tucson, AZ, United States 11-03-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    34
    5
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    "How is it I had never heard of this book?!"

    What an amazing story and beautiful narration. Completely captures a time and place. This book won the Pulitzer prize in 1965. Stunning descriptions of the south, civil rights, the changing of family values and norms. Absolutely a must-listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen CAYCE, SC, United States 09-28-13
    Karen CAYCE, SC, United States 09-28-13 Member Since 2014

    BB

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    201
    6
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    0
    3
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    "Can't stop thinking about this book"

    WOW! I don't know how I have missed this Pulitzer prize winner. It reminds me of The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fried Green Tomatoes and Gone With the Wind all at once. It has elements of racism, society in the 1960's small Southern town, forbidden love, oppression of women. The characters are unforgettable, very well developed. I have known a few people like those in the book. Do they exist only in the South? Why the story about the moonshine still? How did William feel about women? What does Margaret think about anything? And how about all the ancestral spirits? Please, Audible, get some more books by Mrs. Grau.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeannette Hope Valley, RI, United States 09-13-13
    Jeannette Hope Valley, RI, United States 09-13-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    7
    6
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    0
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    "HMMMM....."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Really couldn't get into this one. At times it was just the story and others it was just the monotone voice of the narrator.
    Unfortunately didn't finish this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha WICHITA, KS, United States 03-04-12
    Martha WICHITA, KS, United States 03-04-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    6
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    Story
    "Family Saga"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    There are some areas that the author could have elaborated on, things that a briefly mentioned but nothing else so you're left wondering about it.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Good!


    What three words best describe Anna Fields’s voice?

    Inflective, well-modulated, soothing


    Was The Keepers of the House worth the listening time?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I'm interested in hearing more from both the author and the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhunette 02-23-12
    Rhunette 02-23-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    617
    19
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    2
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    "A must read!!!"

    The overall content of this story was very interesting. The writer was very descriptive as she weaves her compelling story. The narrator was by far one of the best that I have heard in audiobooks. Riveting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Indian Springs, AL, USA 07-18-08
    Brian Indian Springs, AL, USA 07-18-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    3
    1
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    0
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    "Timeless"

    Alic should quit listening to audio books. Being from Miss. which is the undoubted background of this book (or possibly Alabama), there is more truth here than fiction. The author knows of an actual similar life story and it shows. The author was born in New Orleans and spent time in southern Alabama. Superbly read and an excellent book. Most of the Pulitzer Prize awards years ago were spot on. This story has applicability today when you read some of Obama's previous writings on familty matters.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kaley barrie, Ontario, Canada 10-15-10
    kaley barrie, Ontario, Canada 10-15-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    1167
    12
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    Overall
    "bored stiff"

    I have downloaded close to 60 books and have listened to all but one so far. I will not be finishing this one either.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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