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Publisher's Summary

When newlywed Dolly Magnuson moves to 1950s Pine Rapids, Wisconsin, she discovers that making marriage work is harder than it looks in the pages of the Ladies Home Journal. As she adapts to her new life, her restless imagination is seized by an abandoned Victorian house which, she learns from quilting-circle gossip, belongs to the once prominent Mickelson family. When she trespasses in the mansion, she is discovered by the troubled grandson, JJ Mickelson, a Marine veteran who lost his leg at Iwo Jima. Ultimately, JJ reveals the fascinating story of his family's downfall, and both Dolly and JJ will likewise discover the truths of their own lives and feelings.
©2007 Ellen Baker; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Stuffed to bursting with stories of love, loss, revenge, obsession, emotional and physical violence, and general familial mayhem...[with] engaging characters." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
  • T. Moyer
  • Sinking Spring, Pa USA
  • 05-31-08

A rich and enthralling tale

The publisher's review does not do justice to the intricacies and depth of this novel. I loved this book on many levels. First of all, there is the humor. Descriptions of the ideal housewife of the 40s and 50s are wryly amusing, but at the same time, isn't simple goodness and striving to please an important essence of a good marriage? The dynastic tale of the Michelson family is intensely interesting. Is there truly a curse at work, or are the 3 generations we come to know so intimately, predestined to live lives shaped by their own foibles, or in some cases by their very strengths. This book is part mystery and suspense, part cautionary tale, part allegory of hope and ultimate redemption.
If you enjoy good story telling you will enjoy this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kim
  • Wesley Chapel, FL, USA
  • 09-19-07

Great

I drove the long way home just to keep listening.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

YUCK!

Can't blame the messenger. The performance was fine. The plot was not believable. Offensive story. The treatment or should I say tolerance of rape and gross alcoholism, of sexual power relationships was unforgivable. Trash. Don't waste your time.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 07-27-13

poor narration makes slow book slower

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

no... an interesting premise just dragged on and on and on...o

Would you be willing to try another book from Ellen Baker? Why or why not?

Yes. I liked her characters to a point, and the way she expressed herself, so I will read another of her books, cautiously.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Her narrative passages were well-read, modulated, and emoted. Her dialogue was much much elss so.

Was Keeping the House worth the listening time?

No... sorry. Got halfway through the book before Dolly met JJ...

Any additional comments?

Interesting view on the lives of housewives in the first half of the 20th centurty, but whether the story or narration couldn't hold my attentio, I just don't know.