Book Review│The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart

inourhouseAs a new mom, the topic of this book really struck a chord with me. The basic premise is that a mother wants to return to her publishing job after having her second child. So, her husband and she hire a nanny to care for her children so she could work from home. What I was not prepared for as a new mom was how protective you become of your baby. My thoughts of someone else watching my son or worse, my son being put into daycare quickly vanished the moment my husband put him into my arms. My son would be raised at home with one of us home to raise him and thankfully, we have been able to maintain opposite work and school schedules to make sure that we are the ones parenting and making sure our son has a secure and loving home to be in where we would know exactly what was going on and who are son was around. It really was the only way I was going back to work. However, for the plot of this novel, Anna Klein was not as lucky as I was and she needed to seek outside help in order to go back to work.

The Loving Nanny

Anna and her husband Josh turn to a nanny agency to help them find the perfect fit for their family. Through the agency, they hire Oaklynn Durst who has outstanding references and seems like the perfect fit for their family. She is overly maternal, kind, goes above and beyond for their family and the kids adore her. However, soon after Oaklynn moves in the kids start to endure odd illnesses and unexplained injuries. Anna immediately becomes suspicious of Oaklynn, but her husband, Josh and their friends are quick to remind her that it’s probably all in her head and she’s worrying too much. Everyone will learn too quickly how right a mother’s instinct can be and how she shouldn’t be so easily dismissed, even if you want to push off her concerns over being newly post-partum.

Post-Partum Paranoia

As Anna and Oaklynn’s relationship further deteriorates as one child has her arm broken and the other is rushed to the hospital with high fevers and bloody diapers, Anna is forced to face what she believes: that Oaklynn is hurting her kids. However, with her daughter Grace, still in infancy, there is the pervading theme of post-partum paranoia and anxiety that may also be making her take her suspicions of Oaklynn farther than she should. What makes this novel so good is how Anna’s suspicions become so clouded in her postpartum anxiety and paranoia which makes you question her mental integrity throughout the first half of the novel. All will be revealed, however, and will come to a shocking and twisty ending that will leave you recovering for at least a couple days after you finish, The Woman in Our House.

About the Author

Andrew Hart is a pen name for New York Times best-selling author, A.J. Hartley. Currently, he is the Robinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and has penned over twenty novels that span a variety of topics from romance to suspense and young adult.

Book Information

The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2019, from Lake Union Publishing with ISBN 9781542092777. This review corresponds to an advanced electric galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review. To be linked to special pre-order pricing, click the link above!

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Edging out the 9th spot on my 100 book challenge is Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist. I bought this book at Heathrow airport to read in 2014 when we were headed home from our big Euro-trip. I wound up being allergic to the person in front of me on the plane. I seriously still would like to know what kind of perfume it was…so, I wound up sleeping thanks to benadryl for the entire flight home. I never even opened the book.

And from there I moved around and it sat in my bookshelf and in a box for sometime, before I finally picked it up again this summer. I really wished I had read it sooner. I love the Netherlands. When I do go back to Europe, I want to spend a good chunk of time in the Netherlands, riding bikes and eating copious amounts of cheese. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

TheMiniaturist

In Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist, we follow a young girl, Petronella Oortman, who is recently married to one of Amsterdam’s most well-off merchants, Johannes Brandt.  The two barely know each other and it becomes clear about Nella’s arrival that all is not what is seems in her new home. She has a sister-in-law who appears devout and overtly religious, a mix of servants that owe their lives to Johannes and a husband that has little interest in Nella as a wife.

It’s pretty easy to figure out almost immediately that Johannes is gay and pretty much only married Nella out of duty to give his family a proper facade. They do develop a friendship in their marriage, that for me, I felt was more about Nella constantly protecting her new family instead of herself. It was a good, quick read and it paced very well, with a lot of tension as well as suspense driving most of the book.

The ending however, had me wondering what the point of including the sub-plot of the miniaturist was? Outside of driving suspense for the novel, the ending really had her fizzle out without much reason as to why she had even been there in the first place. It was pretty interesting how she sent messages to Nell through the miniatures that she ordered from her for her doll house, but it is not even explained how the woman knew some of the things she warned Nella about or what her motivation for doing any of it was? I found her ending confusing at best.

I was really surprised to learn that this novel was based on real people: Johannes and Nella were a merchant couple, who married and lived in Amsterdam in the late 1600’s. Learning that, I thought it was a bit salacious to write the events of the novel as they were, seeing as there is no historical evidence of a sham marriage to hide a man’s homosexuality. And yes, there is even a real dollhouse that had inspired the author when it was on display at a museum:

Dolls__house_of_Petronella_Oortman

The dollhouse at the time, had cost the same as buying a real canal house in Amsterdam. Can you imagine that? So crazy! People like Peter the Great even attempted to buy it, but wouldn’t rise to the crazy price that the family was trying to sell it for.

This is definitely good for a quick summertime read. I’ve recently started the much controversial Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

 

January Rain

I just want to say thank you to those who have bought the book, it has been amazing to see. As an indie author, I do a lot of the work myself so it’s a very indescribable feeling seeing my work getting out there and people outside of my own circle becoming part of it.

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January Rain is available for purchase through various book retailers including Amazon and the Barnes and Noble website.

Should you pick up a copy and read it, I would be extremely grateful if you could review it as well.