A Book Review of Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo
Three Story House
In a nutshell this novel takes us through the journey of 3 girls; cousins and childhood best friends who would summer together in Massachusetts. All are going through different life changes as they transition into their thirties and the responsibilities that come with adulthood. The journey brings them all to Memphis, Tennessee where they try to reconcile who they were when they were younger with who they are supposed to be. The book layout is unique in that it is split into three different sections, one story for each leading lady. Of course, throughout the other chapters there are some updates and wrap-ups to some of the previous storylines.
Meet The Girls
Lizzie is a sporty soccer player whose dreams of being in the Olympics come crashing down as one of her old sports injuries resurfaces. She seeks refuge in her grandmother’s house that sits overlooking the Mississippi River. Since childhood Lizzie hasn’t known the identity of her father, and she seeks answers within the keepsakes and artifacts left in the house.
Elyse is the cousin who has the biggest personality. She struggles with body image issues and has a secret passion for cooking. She harbors a crush for her sister’s finance and very soon-to-be-husband. Unable to give up on the past, she launches a plan to get Lachlan back and create a happy ending of her own.
Isobel is former child star who has found meaning in rehabilitating and flipping old houses. She attempts to reconcile her two careers through a TV special for the renovation of the Spite House. What could possibly go wrong…
Where It Falls Flat
The idea of this book is really awesome. On paper it looks like a great storyboard: Three girls who are cousins and best friends have life changing experiences together that are all intertwined through the renovation of an old house, and a Spite House at that. Here’s the BUT part though…it was hard to identify with any of the girls. Personally I’ve never really been into sports, so although I can appreciate that Lizzie’s journey was difficult, it was hard to care about someone almost in the Olympics. Her character was also somewhat one-dimensional, and her story just dragged on for way too long.
The story of Elyse and Landon – well this story just made me angry as it sounded like something off of Jerry Springer. There are millions of guys in the world and she decided to be a home wrecker? The idea that people have a hard time letting go is understandable, but I could have just skipped this whole storyline.
The last story was way too rushed and it felt like everything needed to be wrapped up very quickly. It’s hard to pity or love Isobel, the child star who didn’t make it in the business. The merging of the two careers was an interesting plot line, but there wasn’t enough time to explore it fully. Neither Lizzie’s or Isobel’s love interests stirred up any emotions for me. In the last pages of the book all of the storylines jumped ahead and were wrapped up in two paragraphs. It definitely left something to be desired.
Read It Or Leave It?
Leave It, Leave It, Leave It. Preferably on the bookstore shelves or in the discount bin. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful cover art! Despite everything I’ve written – if you really have to read it, borrow it from the library.
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