I began this novel with a fair degree of trepidation. I read mainly non-fiction, but this book was recommended to me, so I thought I'd give it a chance. I thought it started off a tad slow (that would be me) and I almost set it down, but, boy, am I glad I didn't. The book pulled me in and never let go! It had plenty of romance, but it was the mystery that got to me. There were plot twists that I never saw coming, with events that had me gasping out loud. There were surprises right up to the end. I've found myself thinking about this book a lot since I've finished it and pondering the lessons I learned from the book. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
Here is a book that, when get to reading it, you surely have spent well every single minute you spent on it. It's a love story, yes, but so much more as well.
‘The Muir House’ is, even just with the packaging (a.k.a book cover and synopsis), the type of book that can’t stay on my shelf for long, un-resisted. I had high expectations for it, and I’m glad to say that I wasn’t at all disappointed. It’s been a while since a book kept me up because I couldn’t put it, but this was one I just HAD to finish even though it meant reading deep into the night.
The reader is immediately, from the very first paragraph on, pulled into rich, metaphorical descriptions, completely lovable –and unique- characters, and a story that anyone will be able to relate to at one level or another.
It’s amazing how the author slyly pulls at the reader’s curiosity by subtly hinting at Willa’s past throughout the first half of the book. The questions arise within in droves. It certainly isn’t overbearing, though, and makes it all the more delicious as the story unfolds.
The romance is completely sublime and one of my favorite aspects of the novel (believe it or not). It's not shallow, superficial, like is the case with so many Christian romance novels. It was based on so much more, a big part being in touch with God's will for their life together. And real, because as is often the case in life, it takes awhile for us to realize what the Lord is telling us, and even if we do know, we insist on being stuborn. Eventually, though, as the story depicts, the way back home is found, whatever events have to happen in the process.
One negative aspect that I did notice, though, was with the character Willa and the searching she had to go through that makes up her story. She's a wonderful person, yes, and you'll surely love her by the end of the novel. However, a couple of times reading the accounts of her struggle just got redundant and overbearingly self-centered. I found myself thinking, 'Oh, just get over yourself already and move on!". This passes quickly, though, and even if it bugs you through the book, the character Hale will surely make up for it. ;)
It's a beautiful, rich story of the journey it takes to come home; where-ever 'home' God might have planned for us, and as the story brings across, it's often not at all where we expect to find it.
Willa Muir has a dark hole in her memory—one year of her life, when she was four years old, is missing. Now in her mid-twenties, Willa is haunted by this lost year catching only glimpses of it in dreams, glimpses that only deepen the mystery of what happened, not provide answers.
She returns to her home in Rockwall, Texas, to help convert her family home from a funeral home to a bed and breakfast. In part she is returning to seek answers but she is also running from a man who has asked her to marry him. Willa’s missing year torments her and prevents her from making the commitment to him.
This character-driven story seems to move at the pace of a lazy Southern summer afternoon. But this is deceiving, As Willa moves deeper into her search for that missing year, thunderstorms build on the horizons and move in, providing twists and surprises, keeping the reader hooked and turning pages until the final revelations.
Willa keeps peeling back layers of the onion of her life, revealing who she is, who she was, and who she is becoming. Some of the layers hurt, some confuse, some comfort but all lead to a satisfying conclusion.
Mary DeMuth weaves a story of romance, determination, family dysfunction, and God’s ultimate love through characters that are flawed and human, just like the reader. No superheroes here. Just people moving through life, seeking answers as best they can. People who are real. People we care about.
I thank Zondervan for providing me a copy to review and for giving me the freedom to write honestly.
Mary DeMuth’s evocative and multifaceted novel left me nearly speechless (and knowing me that’s tough to do). Her poignant symphony of words played through my mind and my heart as I pondered Willa’s struggles and progress through the secrets and hurts of her life. My childhood past had also had a hold on me, so I could identify with her inability to break free.
From the opening statement of “You’ll find a home one day” to the exploration of what and where a home actually exists, The Muir House uses metaphor and memories to unlock the symbolism and reality of home. Willa’s lifelong compulsion to clip pictures of houses from magazines illustrates her longing for a sense of home, a place where she belongs and is loved.
Willa’s boyfriend, Hale, attempts to help her understand herself and encourages her to take risks in order to be set free from the lies she’s believed. The deception proves more profound than either of them realized. Willa’s world is in turmoil, with a mother who “hates” her close to dying and the security Willa sought in escaping from her hometown disintegrating.
“We’re all broken,” Willa realizes. But can she be repaired? She’s faced agonizing rejection. Can she forgive? She’s searching for missing pieces from her early years. Can she accept the truth? Will her life be forever altered for better or for worse?
The Muir House, Willa’s family home in Rockwall, Texas, had been a funeral home. She remembers her daddy working with dead bodies that her preschool self thought were mannequins. Now the house will become a bed-and-breakfast. Can a place of death transform into a sanctuary of life and love?
Mary DeMuth’s books won’t let me go nor leave me the same as before I experienced their depths. Her way with words blesses my soul, and her story challenges my spirit. You owe it to yourself to read what should become a classic, The Muir House.
What an amazing story! Mary DeMuth has delved into the depths of the human heart to bring it to light. Her characters are real people with real struggles and situations not easily unravelled. Mary's writing is very powerful. I was caught up in the story from first page till last, and often found the unexpected. Mary's writing, like life itself, is unpredictable, and answers don't emerge sewn up in neat packages. The characters are unforgettable, and I found myself wondering what happens next, as Willa continues to grow. I am left to consider, together with Willa, what is truth, what is home, and how do we find it? Is it important that secrets be revealed at all costs, or are some things best left alone?
Mary is a masterful writer, and her descriptions and analogies vivid. Above all, Mary is real, and writes powerfully, from her heart. This is her best fiction yet! I look forward to what is still to come. Well done, Mary!
Willa Muir returns to her childhood home but it is clear the caretaker wanted a decorator not a daughter trying to fill a hole. Mary DeMuth decorates The Muir House with just the right amount of plot lines and intrique. It is neither cluttered, nor sparse. And just when I thought I'd figured it out it turns out I hadn't. You simply must read to the end.
Zondervan sent me this book because I volunteered to review it after reading other books by the author.
The Muir House tells the story of Willa Muir, a young woman who is so haunted by her past that she cannot proceed with her future. Struggling to put to rest the memories of her forgotten year, she travels back to the place where the mystery began. Along the way, she confronts her true self, her childhood love, and her seemingly heartless relatives. By the end of this book, you will be transformed in the way you view love, family, and forgiveness.
Mary DeMuth has written a page-turner that had me holding my breath as I turned the next page.
Meet Willa Muir. An interior decorator who's been "cutting" since she was a young girl. A woman afraid to commit her life to another, because she has a hole in her existence. She can remember every year of her life, but one...
Hale wants to marry Willa, as well as see her whole. He's reminded her of her need for Jesus, but he can't convince her to marry him. So he lets her go.
As Willa returns to the Muir House in Texas, will she be able to fill the hole in her past, find forgiveness for those who've never loved her, and find her home?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Muir House by Mary DeMuth. One of the things I love about her writing is how much truth about human nature is embedded in every word she puts on the page. This is what keeps me turning pages like I check my facebook home page. I want to know what happens next. I want to see what's going on in her character's lives. I want more. And I get it.
Mary has a way of writing that keeps the answers a chapter away. In order to find out what the new connection is, one has to keep reading. She mentions one thing at the start of the book, and it isn't until the end that it all comes together and back around to the first thing.
I highly recommend The Muir House for summer reading or your Christmas wish list. Then pass it on to a friend. I know I'm going to!
Mary DeMuth has produced yet another powerful story that will be hard to put down.
Willa Muir knows there's something unexplained in her early years. But what happened? Who is the man she dimly remembers, but the memory always escapes? Why was her mother always cruel and rejecting? Her father so kind and protecting? She must resolve the many childhood mysteries before she can accept Hale's proposal and look forward to a happy marriage.
Will her temporary move home to the former funeral home help resolve the mysteries? Or her mother's deathbed mutterings? How about the caretaker of the old funeral home? Or Willa's old flame? How will she accept this child she feels forced to accept? Will Willa ever learn to trust God and forgive? You'll stay glued to your chair as DeMuth adds the awesome ingredients. Her recipe is, as always, satisfying and award-winning
Before Willa Muir can consider a future with Hale Landon, she must first make peace with her past. Plagued by shadowed memories and unanswered questions, Willa returns to her Texas home on a quest for the truth. As the mystery of her family unfolds, she discovers that things aren’t always as they seem.
Readers can identify with Willa’s search for love, acceptance and a sense of belonging. Mary DeMuth methodically develops the characters by weaving flashback memories into the storyline. Willa learns forgiveness and understanding as she reconciles her childhood memories through the eyes of an adult with struggles of her own.
I appreciate that Mary allows her characters to be flawed and honest, and I like the struggles and personality conflicts Willa had with other characters in the story. While Hale plays a significant role in encouraging Willa’s faith in God, it develops slowly and naturally as Willa pieces together her past.
I occasionally stumbled with the flashbacks and had to look back to figure out if they were current or past events. Other than that, it was an enjoyable and engaging read – perfect for a relaxing summer weekend!
The author/publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Mary DeMuth's book, The Muir House, is a rich telling of a young 28-year-old young lady, Willa Muir, who is haunted by her dreams and days of longing to know about the `blank memory year' of her childhood. She has a deep sense of wanting to be loved and finding where she belongs, as her life seems like such a mystery and so scattered. She's convinced if she finds that missing piece, her life will be resolved. But does she realize it could open another can of worms to haunt her even more?
Then, when Hale Landon puts a ring on her finger, she panics and flees back to her hometown of Rockwall, TX, to The Muir House, hoping to find the answers she's been looking for to set her life on course. What she finds is her home changed into a B & B, and no one willing to share about her past, including the caretaker, Genie. Even her mother's deathbed mumblings make no sense to her.
Willa's story is so real and relevant to many even today who find hauntings in their own lives that just don't connect. But it's her relentlessness in pursuing her past, dogging anyone she thinks can supply her information, including her old boyfriend, which makes for relationship problems with some of those she loves.
Mary's incredible list of characters will resonate with you in some fashion. Some you will like-some you may not. Either way, you will find yourselves rooting for some and wishing others would change. You may even find some traits that you recognize in your own life and/or family and friends, both good and bad. Her picturesque word choices let your imagination soar.
The painful revelations, and the way some are found out, will steal your breath away in shock and reach to the very core of your emotions. Yet the tenderness that Willa experiences will delight your soul. Mary doesn't spare you any of the ranges of emotion, which to me, makes for a great read! Because it's life's reality!
The faithfulness of God is felt throughout, though sometimes it seems so hidden. It's His influence that wins in the end because hearts are open. How His influence wins out will be the mystery you will be searching for yourself in Mary's book. Enjoy!
This book was provided by Mary DeMuth in exchange for my honest review.
Mary does an excellent job of getting you hooked on page 1. I finished the book in two days because I could not put it down. Willa keeps you laughing and crying as you can sympathize with many details of her life. You learn about dealing with the past but also finding home! Thank you Mary for a fabulous book!
I enjoyed this book. Willa Muir decides to head home after Genie, the housekeeper, has requested her help to redecorate the Muir House. It is being turned into a Bed and Breakfast [it was a Funeral Home].
Hale has asked Willa to marry him, but she has refused!
Willa has know for a long time that something is missing in her memory. Around the age of 4 there is a blank memory...she has dreams and keeps a journal, but still hasn't been able to figure it all out.
She does know that her Mother intensely dislikes her, and now is in the late stages of Alzheimers.
What a woven story this is, and just when you think you have it figured out ... you don't!
Willa has to learn to lean on the Lord, trust, and Forgive!