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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

3.9 (323 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (189 )
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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 (193 )
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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Performance
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  •  
    thatssocute KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 02-26-13
    thatssocute KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 02-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "lost a credit:("

    The story is boring and the reader is very bad! Don't waste your credit!

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ColorOrange Ford, VA, United States 03-20-11
    ColorOrange Ford, VA, United States 03-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "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
  •  
    W. Perry Hall 05-03-15 Member Since 2015

    I've been member since 2011 (not 2015), but, in protest of AU's refusal on a few returns, I canceled my membership for a week.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "1965 Pulitzer Winner- decent, but staled with age"

    I wanted to read this novel for two reasons: it won the Pulitzer the year of my birth, and it's set in a fictional county in the deep American South during a time of racial hatred and violence. I'm sure THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE had quite an impact back then and the nation's posture at the time screamed for the Pulitzer to give an award to Ms. Grau for this book.

    I was rather disappointed nonetheless. The novel is righteous at achieving the revenge which is its ultimate destination. Yet the revenge only occurs in the last 17 minutes, after taking 9 hours to get there; a long, long 9 hours in which I kept reaching for the stop button and had to force myself to continue listening. The characters are rather shallow, and it seems to me that Ms. Grau could have condensed the 9 hours to 4 or 5, by cutting out fluff that did nothing to further the protagonist or her story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 04-10-15
    Susan 04-10-15

    This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.

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    "Generations, Family Secrets, Family Scandals"

    This book sounded interesting in the short summary. I usually like stories that span several generations. The book is not terribly complicated, just a bit more than many multi generation books. The book starts in the past with a love affair between Margaret,a black woman, and William, a lonely widower. All of the children have typically white characteristics.The children from Providence, the first wife, and the children from Margaret play together as young children. Bit Margaret sends her children to boarding school so they won't have do deal with being born from a black mother and white father. The children grow up, get married, have children of their own but they are unaware of deeply the past, that was hidden from them as children, will come back to haunt them and the choices they make as adults.
    The narrator was easy to listen to although at times the narration was monotonous and the edits were obvious. In my opinion a book about the south should have a narrator with a southern accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine E. Bundy 04-06-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Pure art in storytelling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It was a treat for the senses. An engrossing and artfully told story. The narrator perfectly conveyed the subtle nuances of the characters and situations. The writing is of a quality that is seldom seen in current fiction. Crisp efficient, very descriptive, and engaging. The story flows effortlessly drawing the listener back to another time and place.


    What about Anna Fields’s performance did you like?

    Her ability to convey the tone and substance of the story was remarkable. Flawless performance.


    If you could take any character from The Keepers of the House out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Abigail, her strength and straightforward candor would be a breath of fresh air.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ayodele higgs 03-18-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"
    Would you try another book from Shirley Ann Grau and/or Anna Fields?

    I thought the author would give the protagonist a more compassionate viewpoint toward oppressed people. But she seemed cold and close minded.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    page partain 03-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Beautiful tragedy."

    So real. I grew up in The South and miss it. This book evokes the reality of Southern culture perfectly with every nuance. Makes me homesick with love and yearning along with reminders of why I left

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie A. Bobskill 12-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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
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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
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