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Keeping the house: a novel

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Language:
English
Description
Set in the conformist 1950s and reaching back to span two world wars, Ellen Baker's superb novel is the story of a newlywed who falls in love with a grand abandoned house and begins to unravel dark secrets woven through the generations of a family. Like Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt in its intimate portrayal of women's lives, and reminiscent of novels by Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler, Keeping the House is a rich tapestry of a novel that introduces a wonderful new fiction writer. When Dolly Magnuson moves to Pine Rapids, Wisconsin, in 1950, she discovers all too soon that making marriage work is harder than it looks in the pages of the Ladies' Home Journal. Dolly tries to adapt to her new life by keeping the house, supporting her husband's career, and fretting about dinner menus. She even gives up her dream of flying an airplane, trying instead to fit in at the stuffy Ladies Aid quilting circle. Soon, though, her loneliness and restless imagination are seized by the vacant house on the hill. As Dolly's life and marriage become increasingly difficult, she begins to lose herself in piecing together the story of three generations of Mickelson men and women: Wilma Mickelson, who came to Pine Rapids as a new bride in 1896 and fell in love with a man who was not her husband; her oldest son, Jack, who fought as a Marine in the trenches of World War I; and Jack's son, JJ, a troubled veteran of World War II, who returns home to discover Dolly in his grandparents' house. As the crisis in Dolly's marriage escalates, she not only escapes into JJ's stories of his family's past but finds in them parallels to her own life. As Keeping the House moves back and forth in time, it eloquently explores themes of wartime heroism and passionate love, of the struggles of men's struggles with fatherhood and war and of women's conflicts with issues of conformity, identity, forbidden dreams, and love. Beautifully wriiten and atmospheric, Keeping the House illuminates the courage it takes to shape and reshape a life, and the difficulty of ever knowing the truth about another person's desires.Keeping the House is an unforgettable novel about small-town life and big matters of the heart. Advance praise for Keeping the House "Ellen Baker's first novel is a wonder! Keeping the House is a great big juicy family saga, a romantic page-turner with genuine characters written with a perfect sense of history, time, and place. Her portrayal of the American housewife is hilarious and heartbreaking. I couldn't have liked it more!" -Fannie Flagg, author of Can't Wait to Get to Heaven "Ellen Baker's first novel, Keeping the House, is a quilt that grids a small Midwestern town in the middle of the last century. Under this writer's deft hands, each square is a story, a mystery, an indiscretion, a tale of the great house and grand family who once ruled there. Even more, it captures the roles of women then: both the living embodiments of demure ideals, and those who couldn't fit the pattern. Edith Wharton's novels of domestic despair and display come to mind with each page." -Jacquelyn Mitchard, author ofThe Deep End of the Ocean "A born storyteller, Ellen Baker has written an enthralling family saga filled with three generations of memorable characters and capturing the dreams and frustrations of twentieth-century women in wonderful, spot-on historical detail." -Faith Sullivan, author of Gardenias and The Cape Ann "Ellen Baker has written the novel I've been waiting to read for a very long time. It's the book you want to curl up with, the book you rush home to, the book you wish you¿d written. In Keeping the House, she serves up the complexities of family relationships, the anguish of victims of wars, the innermost thoughts of women, and the social mores of the past. Seasoned with mysteries that kept me devouring pages, this is one huge gourmet feast of a book for readers to savor. I look forward to every delicious book this author writes." -Bev Marshall, author of Walking Through Shadows and Right as Rain
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ISBN:
9780375502248
9781483070858
9781400066353
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 2f64661d-9632-7ad8-c94b-d1e8c4f9d408
Grouping Title keeping the house
Grouping Author baker ellen
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-11-13 23:59:58PM
Last Indexed 2018-11-14 00:49:19AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_interest_level
accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Baker, Ellen, 1975-
author_display Baker, Ellen
available_at_catalog Annex, Bellevue, Bellevue Kids, Green Hills, Green Hills Kids
collection_catalog Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Annex - Adult Fiction, Bellevue - Adult Fiction, Green Hills - Adult Fiction
display_description

Set in the conformist 1950s and reaching back to span two world wars, Ellen Baker's superb novel is the story of a newlywed who falls in love with a grand abandoned house and begins to unravel dark secrets woven through the generations of a family. Like Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt in its intimate portrayal of women's lives, and reminiscent of novels by Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler, Keeping the House is a rich tapestry of a novel that introduces a wonderful new fiction writer.

When Dolly Magnuson moves to Pine Rapids, Wisconsin, in 1950, she discovers all too soon that making marriage work is harder than it looks in the pages of the Ladies' Home Journal. Dolly tries to adapt to her new life by keeping the house, supporting her husband's career, and fretting about dinner menus. She even gives up her dream of flying an airplane, trying instead to fit in at the stuffy Ladies Aid quilting circle. Soon, though, her loneliness and restless imagination are seized by the vacant house on the hill. As Dolly's life and marriage become increasingly difficult, she begins to lose herself in piecing together the story of three generations of Mickelson men and women: Wilma Mickelson, who came to Pine Rapids as a new bride in 1896 and fell in love with a man who was not her husband; her oldest son, Jack, who fought as a Marine in the trenches of World War I; and Jack's son, JJ, a troubled veteran of World War II, who returns home to discover Dolly in his grandparents' house.

As the crisis in Dolly's marriage escalates, she not only escapes into JJ's stories of his family's past but finds in them parallels to her own life. As Keeping the House moves back and forth in time, it eloquently explores themes of wartime heroism and passionate love, of men's struggles with fatherhood and war, and of women's conflicts with issues of conformity, identity, forbidden dreams, and love.

Beautifully written and atmospheric, Keeping the House illuminates the courage it takes to shape and reshape a life and the difficulty of ever knowing the truth about another person's desires. Keeping the House is an unforgettable novel about small-town life and big matters of the heart.

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id 2f64661d-9632-7ad8-c94b-d1e8c4f9d408
isbn 9780375502248, 9781400066353, 9781483070858
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last_indexed 2018-11-14T06:49:19.551Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Fiction
literary_form_full Drama, Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog Fiction Baker
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Annex, Bellevue, Bellevue Kids, Green Hills, Green Hills Kids
primary_isbn 9780375502248
publishDate 2007, 2010
record_details ils:CARL0000292696|Book|Books|1st ed.|English|Random House,|c2007.|530 p. ; 25 cm., overdrive:ae6a50ad-5ca9-47e6-9cd9-2997937b3d9b|eAudiobook|Audio Books||English|Blackstone Audio, Inc.|2010|
recordtype grouped_work
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subject_facet Marriage -- Fiction, Wisconsin -- Fiction
title_display Keeping the house : a novel
title_full Keeping the House A Novel, Keeping the house : a novel / Ellen Baker
title_short Keeping the house :
title_sub a novel
topic_facet Drama, Fiction, Marriage