An intelligent, compassionate and thought-provoking novel where the writing sparkles through the weight of expectations, hidden hopes and damaged dreams. The broken, faded Carriage House, threatened with bulldozers somehow binds a splintered family together and is found to be deserving, worth fighting for. The characters are rounded and feel so very real, one paragraph finds you wanting to hug, to console, to soothe their pain, the next to shake their apathy, to smack their selfishness, to shriek at their audacity. The author is able to open the door and walk in on the secluded part of a consciousness, one that’s not visited very often, that’s shied away from, ignored. Hall’s writing is eloquent, discerning and moving, she has the ability to make you sit back and think, to ponder…in a world of other peoples expectations, can you ever truly just be yourself? ~ Liz Robinson
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Carriage House a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'A stunningly beautiful tale of family expectations, consequential change and relationships...Full of heartwarming poignancy' - Lucinda Fountain. Scroll down to read more reviews.
A 'Piece of Passion' from Viking Publisher Venetia Butterfield...
'Warm-hearted, intelligent and hugely compassionate, The Carriage House is a beautifully written novel about families and expectations, growing up and finding your place in the world, and rebuilding lost lives - from fantastic debut author Louisa Hall.
William Adair, patriarch, doting father of three girls, Men’s Tennis Club Champion from 1967-1974 wakes up in his hospital bed and realizes that his family are less extraordinary than he had believed. For more than thirty years, his faith in life was grounded on two indisputable principles: his daughters’ exceptional beauty and talents and the historical resonance of a carriage house built by his grandfather. Now, both have begun to collapse.
The three Adair daughters once so brilliant have all returned home; Elizabeth, the divorced but once promising actress, tennis ace Diana, now a University dropout and beautiful, sorrowful 18 year old Isabelle. Having lost their father’s pride they struggle to define themselves. To help him recover, William’s daughters take on the battle for their dilapidated carriage house and attempt to recapture some of the promise of their former selves. Told through the alternating perspectives of the family, a dramatic fire jolts them out of their self-absorbed misery and each of the Adairs start to overcome their wrong turns and to find the promise of a fresh start.'
A message from the author...
'Just before starting The Carriage House, I re-read Jane Austen's Persuasion and realized that it was, in part, about a young woman who's forgotten how to be her previous self. Anne Elliot is twenty-eight years old, and everything about her has changed; she's lost her looks and her confidence, and she can barely remember how she used to carry herself when she was her younger, prettier version. At the time I also felt as if I'd wandered out of a previous existence. When I left my early life as a professional squash player to pursue a literary career, I lost all of the ways I used to measure myself, I found it hard to imagine life without the reassurance of a numerical ranking.
Between my own and Anne Elliot's loss of a former persona, I became fascinated by the idea of characters who are suspended between two iterations of their life. I wanted to see how each of them could move forward, whilst mourning the loss of a former version of their self and their family. The Carriage House is my exploration of such characters.' – Louisa Hall