The Ladies of the House by Molly McGrann

the ladies of the house

 ~There might be a small spoiler in the review~

The Ladies of the House by Molly McGrann is not what I expected from this novel, especially not from the blurb I’ve read.  The topic of this novel is… interesting and is quite an unusual read.

The book starts off with 3 people found dead in a house in Primrose Hill. Two elderly women and one man. Marie Gillies who reads of the  incident in the newspaper believes she might be to blame for this. But why?

Marie Gillies is a single woman living quite a simple life with her elderly mother.  Upon her decision to take her mother on a trip to her mother land, Italy, Marie discovers that her father was a wealthy man.  That she is a wealthy woman, but where does this money come from and why did she never know her family’s financial position?

It turns out that her father was living a double life and the reason for his wealth might be even more surprising to Marie.  There is a mistress and a son, but his wealth has been acquired over the years, not from the many houses that he owned, but the business the houses were used for – high class brothels.

Learning that most of the houses are still inhabited by the ladies of house, Marie is set on getting back what is rightfully hers. However, the story does not really revolve around this pursuit of Marie, but instead gives us some insight into the lives of the “ladies of the house”, both past and present. It is told from the perspective of an old lady who now has dementia and remembering what she can of her old life, the son of one of the deceased ladies about growing up in this type of environment,  but also another lady of the house, who still practices her profession at the age of 73, which might have been a little unsettling to read about.

Even though there are a lot of comic situations in the novel, there are also the sad parts about unrequited love. The story is light hearted for most of the novel and I feel the ending was a little abrupt and vague. The novel could easily have been about 80 pages longer, with a more satisfying end as it is a rather short novel, however this in no way mean it wasn’t an enjoyable read.

If you’re looking for something different to read, I think The Ladies of the House will be a fun read. Have you read this novel?

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  • This definitely sounds completely different and unusual. I love a book on family secrets and this sounds interesting though I could skip the details of the woman still practicing her profession at 73!

    • I tweeted this line as a joke: “When he twisted her round like that her eyes overflowed. Her old bones did sometimes feel as if they would break”

      Definitely weird to read 🙂

  • Jennine G.

    Sounds interesting! I would especially like to see the tie between Marie and the dead characters at the beginning.

    • Very little about that, but yes there is a familial tie (which is already in the review, so it’s not a spoiler), but also something Marie thinks she did to bring on the events. It’s under 300 pages, you might finish it in one sitting, Jennine.

  • Ciska van der Lans

    This sounds interesting. Might have to look out for it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sound like an interesting read, despite the abrupt ending. Great review!

  • This sounds like a book that crosses genres, with mystery, comedy, and romance. Very interesting! I’m excited to hear you’re getting back into reading and blogging more 🙂