Title: Guest House
Author: Barbara K. Richardson
Publisher: Bay Tree Publishing
Publication Date: March 16, 2010
Paperback: 218 pages
Driving home from work on a summer afternoon, Melba Burns witnesses a nightmare collision. The wreck ends her pursuit of success at any cost—Melba parks her car, quits her job and stops driving. She retreats into her beloved old farmhouse, yearning for a simpler peace. But peace and Melba’s new roommate, JoLee Garry, have never met. A shallow, self-absorbed stunner, JoLee magnetizes messes and trouble. She brings boyfriends, booze and a tag-along son with her—a series of unexpected guests who transform Melba’s solo life into something different, daring and richer.
Guest House by Barbara Richardson is an extraordinary novel of strength and perseverance over extreme adversity. Richardson has a way of writing that not only gives her characters life, but also makes the reader care for them even when they are at their worst (except Bill McAllister, he does not even try to be likeable). Richardson writes with a depth and breath of emotions, yet with just the right amount of humour to keep the novel from becoming crushingly sad. One of my favourite lines is found on page 37 "...Frank apparently feared photosynthesis...". It is with that sharp wit that keeps the reader smiling while knowing Matt is living in a bar watching his father Gene drown his sorrows in alcohol or the knowledge that Matt's mother, JoLee, has taken up residence, as a lodger in Melba Burns' home, acting as though she neither married nor a mother. The day 54-year-old Melba Burns learns that her young wayward lodger is a wife and a mother, everything changes. Melba is the type of woman anyone would be honoured to have as a neighbour. She believes, she hopes, she dreams, that all things broken can be repaired. This belief in righting what is wrong is how 11-year-old Matt Garry ends up on Portland Street. Guest House touches the reader in a deep and profound manner, making the reader take pause and rethink and re-evaluate what has brought each character to where they are in their respective lives. Ultimately the tenacity of an 11-year-old boy and the hope carried by a 54-year-old woman teach the reader the true value of a life worth living. Guest House is a deep novel that will keep the reader thinking of the characters long after the book is closed.
To obtain more information please visit the following:
- The author's website.
- Read an excerpt from Guest House.
- Visit Barbara K. Richardson's blog.
- Watch a video trailer of Guest House.