Overwhelmed by life, a magical house offers a 99-night reprieve to women who need an oasis to sort out their way. Why 99? It’s just enough time to transform a life, but not too much time so you’ll procrastinate. At the end of Hope Street, an enchanted house can appear just in time for a distraught young woman. The house is kept up by a beautiful, older woman named Peggy who has lived there her whole life. And there are other residents as well. There is a group of unforgettable literary figures, and a few other meaningful ghosts as well, who counsel and coach the women. Women including Virginia Woolf, George Elliot, Charlotte Brontë and Florence Nightingale, and other notables provide inspiring ideas about how to dream again and change your life.
This skilled author peels the layers away to slowly reveal the depth of each woman’s story. The characters are each struggling with a history, and each must bravely face her history and reconcile with it in different ways. Those who are able to do that have hope. Menna Van Praag is an artist at creating characters of depth and personality. The enchanted house becomes like a living character as well. And the ghosts of writers past, shall we say, come alive at this author’s hands.
You will be touched by the courage these women are tested to summon. You’ll reach out figuratively in support of each, as you read on and realize we all need a friend’s support at times. No one is immune from life’s challenges and the choices we make. In the story Peggy, who has been part of the house her whole life, is also facing her own challenges at this time, and the house is counseling her as well. You will be spellbound by every page as you seek to find out how each of the character’s 99 nights ends.
And if you enjoy this novel, try the author’s autobiographical novella “Men, Money, and Chocolate.” This is another fascinating story, about a waitress who thinks she has to give up on her dream to be a writer.
Thereby hangs another tale . . . .
— By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.