The Muir House- A book Review

Today I’m crazy excited to be able to participate in an online book tour of Mary DeMuth’s newest novel, The Muir House.  For more information on the tour, go here.

The Muir House by Mary DeMuth centers around main character, Willa, whose attempt at new life as a hipster in Seattle is foiled by a past in Texas she cannot escape and is forced to return to.  She is haunted by half-memories and gaps in her history, and her thought life is consumed by piecing together the events of her past.  A large part of her baggage revolves around the death of her father and a fractured and unhealthy relationship with her mother, who is now in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease and incapable of giving her the answers she so badly longs to find.

Her time sifting through her past in her hometown of Rockwell, Texas is further complicated when she finds herself caught in-between moving into a new life with her quasi-fiancee, Hale and being strongly pursued by her controlling high-school sweetheart, Blake.  As the book unfolds, Willa must make a choice to stop obsessing over her past, leaving it behind to step into a more whole and hopeful future which she can feel God calling her into.

I love a book that hooks you with unanswered questions and Willa’s mysterious past unravels just enough through each chapter to keep you wanting more.  Also, Mary DeMuth does a pretty decent job of giving her characters depth and although at first glance they may seem one dimensional, as the book goes on you realize that they have as much depth as anyone you might know in your real life.

As I turned that pages of this book I found myself connecting and identifying with Willa.  For one, she has questions about her past that cannot be answered by the parents that shaped her life.  I feel her pain in that problem, because from parenting decisions, to holiday traditions to family recipe questions, I long to go to my parents for answers but they have both died and I feel and grieve that void.  Another connection point for me comes  through Willa’s need to make a conscious decision not to allow her past to define her future.  From personal experience I can say that allowing God to carry you into a beautiful future in spite of a painful past is a learned behavior, which involves a series of positive choices much more so than one single choice.  This book does a great job at using narrative to encourage the reader to consider forgiveness, reconciliation and ditching baggage in light of the freedom offered to us in our Big God’s open hands.

If you are interested in checking out this book and are willing to bring me chocolate cupcakes you are more than welcome to borrow my copy, just don’t mind the highlighting and note taking in the margins.  If you’re not a baker or don’t live in the Ada, OK area grab yourself a copy by stopping by one of my favorite e-retailers, amazon.  And hey, Christmas is coming way too soon, so pick up a few copies and check some folks off your list.  I’m getting a copy for my Mother in Law, I bet your Mother in Law might like it too.

Check out this great read, and thanks for checking out my first book review, I’m thinking of making it a monthly deal and perhaps even throwing in a giveaway or two.

  • Kitty Hinkle

    Leanne, thank you for the review. I just finished the novel last night. Without spoiling the plot, I will only add, to encourage people to read it, that it’s the first time I experienced a novel which addressed the notion that your memories of a parent needs to be balanced–neither demonizing a parent as all bad nor idolizing a parent as your savior. It’s only when you see your parents as people with both a selfish nature and goodness wrapped up together that you begin to mature and become your own person rather than a child.

    So many struggle to sort these issues out. The Muir House will resonate for them!

    • Mary DeMuth (@MaryDeMuth)

      I love the chocolate cupcake sentence! :)

      Thank you so much for reviewing the book and offering your review. I so appreciate it.

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  • Edwina Cowgill

    Wonderful review! Just got my copy yesterday and can’t wait to start reading!

    • leannepenny

      You will enjoy it, it is a life giving and easy read. A great book for the bath tub, if you ask me.

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