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Publisher's Summary

The first novel by acclaimed Greek writer Lena Manta to appear in English translation, The House by the River is an intimate, emotionally powerful saga following five young women as they realize that no matter the men they choose, the careers they pursue, or the children they raise, the only constant is home.

Theodora knows she can't keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever - they're too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return.

A devoted and resilient mother, Theodora has lived through World War II, through the Nazi occupation of Greece, and through her husband's death, and now she endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters' absence. Her children have their own lives - they've married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her - and each other - more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they've forgotten their childhood house in its tiny village, or will their broken hearts finally lead them home?

©2007 Lena Manta (P)2017 2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Translation © 2017 Gail Holst-Warhaft.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrific and unique story.

This book is very long, but I hated for it to end. Interesting storyline, is actually 6 separate stories that start and end as one. Tales of a mother and her 5 daughter are individual, yet woven together so well!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What is true love and happiness?

This is the story of 5 girls who grew up in a small village in Greece at the foot of Mount Olympus. Lena Manta does a magnificent job of exploring the meaning of love. I really enjoyed reading the book and learning about the culture as well as society in Greece. Narration sure and characters so real and memorable. Love it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too predictable

When I started the book I was really impressed with the history of the family..Mom, Dad then having their 5 girls with one boy passing away..I enjoyed that each sister had their reason for leaving their small town, we all want to do that some time in our live. What I really had trouble with was that EACH sister, I mean each one had horrible experiences, bad marriages, affairs, death of children, and so on and so on. It truly made me want to stop reading! I felt like I wanted to jump out a window! Not every kid that leaves their home completely ruins their life! But I kept reading and realized yea we all come home, I know I did..but it was too predictable that each sister came home exactly within days or months of each other and the only thing that made them sane was their Mother and the river..okay it could happen..but NONE of them had a good life unless they were home? I’m glad I read and listened to it but I seriously could have written the same story with a bit more realism behind it. I recommend it for a lot of things but if you don’t like sad almost every page, don’t listen.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Ridiculous

First of all when are Greek women blonde? This book is so cheesy I couldn’t finish. Each sisters story is basically a slightly different variation of the other. It’s pretty ridiculous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Performance was outstanding

While this story’s performance was outstanding, the storyline was very painful to follow. By the time you reach the final chapter, the majority of the characters are forgotten. Had this book been arranged in a more chronological order the storyline would’ve been more realistic, easier to follow and much more enjoyed.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Absorbing tail

I was captivated by the story of each of the women their relationships to their mother to each other and how life unfolds for all of them it was very very absorbent

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb narration brought the story to life

The story was thoroughly engaging and was enhanced by the gifts of narrator Courtney Patterson who brought life to so many voices and complex storylines. I keep thinking about these characters who were so well-developed. A really wonderful escape.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

beautifully written, heartfelt, and depressing

I still don't know how to feel about it. I liked it, I hated it, I cried and I laughed

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Soap Opera of struggles and passion

while I enjoyed the performance of the narrator just fine, the content of the book was not very exciting to me. It felt a lot like a soap opera of words. Everyone Falls in Love really quickly and then their struggle is outlined throughout the book. I do appreciate the small glimpses into Greek culture, but I hesitate to assume that all Greek women fall in love with in the first 5 minutes of meeting someone. to be fair, I tried to finish, but I could not make it very far. this is one of those books that the more I read, the more I feel that I am not gaining anything from the book, and I really try to finish everything that I pick up even if I don't initially enjoy it. This one was just not for me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

Lovely story of redemption. Beautiful narration as well. Long book, but definitely worth your time.