Select one of the keywords
Dream House    by Valerie Laken order for
Dream House
by Valerie Laken
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Kate and Stuart Kinzler have been married for a few years but are still living their life as they did when they were in college. They party every weekend with friends, and there is always someone sleeping over because they were too drunk to drive. Their apartment is small and in bad need of repairs. Kate teaches at the local high school and Stuart works with computers. Kate's thoughts are turning more and more to a house and a family but for some reason Stuart does not want to make the commitment. This has caused problems between them, but when Kate's parents offer to back them financially so they can buy a house, they agree.

After scouring the neighbourhood of Ann Arbor, Michigan where they live, they buy an old home on Macon Street. The house is large and needs plenty of work to make it livable, but Kate is up for the challenge. With summer off from her teaching job, Kate starts buying building supplies and is soon tearing down walls and ceilings. She has plenty of ideas for the renovation but Stuart is not as enthused with all the work as Kate is, and soon they are embroiled in bitter arguments. Stuart walks out and leaves Kate alone in the house to wonder where he has gone. Unknown to Kate and Stuart when they bought the house, a murder had taken place here eighteen years before.

Kate continues to work on the house even though her focus is on Stuart. She finds out he has gone camping, and eventually ends up at his mother's to visit with his autistic brother. He is in turmoil over their marriage and needs time to think things over. In the meantime Kate has met Walker Price who appears on her doorstep offering to haul away garbage and help with any odd jobs around the house. Kate hires him, not knowing Walker grew up in this house and has just been released from prison after serving eighteen years for murder. A friend and fellow teacher, Jay, arrives at the house to help out, only to realize that years before he worked for the clean-up service that came in after the police investigation. Jay does not know how to approach Kate with this information.

Kate's dream house ties all the adults together. When she learns of the murder she turns on Walker and looks to Jay for answers. Dream House is well written with strong characters. Touching on issues of race and class, it is a story that keeps you turning the pages.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews