Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dream House by Valerie Laken *Review*

The house is not the only thing falling apart in this novel by Valerie Laken.

One terrible night. One outraged act. What price will people pay to hold their homes and dreams together? When Kate and Stuart Kinzler buy a run-down historic house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they're looking for a decent remodeling investment and a little space in which to rekindle their troubled marriage. Instead they discover that their home was the scene of a terrible crime many years ago- a revelation that tips the balance of their precarious union. When a mysterious man begins lurking around her yard, Kate- now alone- is forced to confront her home's dangerous past. Hers is not the only life that has crumbled under this roof. But the stranger who has returned to this house- once his own childhood home- is in search of something Kate may never really understand.

Kate's marraige has grown lackluster, nothing she does is ever good enough for her father, and her mother never seems to "see" her. So when Kate and Stuart buy a run-down house and start renovating it, Kate throws everything she has into it. Stuart is working long hours at work and doesn't seem to be the handyman type. Kate however tiles, strips floors, replaces vanities and hangs drywall. The house takes on the role of family to her. It means something and she loves it. When Stuart and Kate find out from a neighbor that a murder has occurred in the house, Stuart is furious and has a hard time dealing with it, but Kate barely pauses.

When a man stops one day and offers to haul away some of the garbage piling up beside her already full construction dumpster, they forge a working relationship and then become friends. What she doesn't know, is the man who is in her house helping her everyday is a part of this house's dangerous past.

First of all, I loved seeing a woman taking on the main role of remodeler in this house. Kate knew what she wanted and worked hard, very hard to achieve it. So many times, even in this day and age, we are given the impression that drywalling and demolition are not "women's work", so it was refreshing to see how Kate tackled this job with such fervor.

Secondly, I just enjoyed the "feel" of the book. I agreed with Sheila from One Person's Journey Through a World of Books about the prologue, (read her review here ) I was sickened by Claire as well. But I did want to know what happened to Claire? That part of the whole story was never answered. The book read quickly though, and I really liked it.