Book Review: The Coach House

By Florence Osmund

Click book for description.  (Downloaded free on 3/3/13)

Finish time – 3 days.  It was a quick, page-turning read.  I enjoyed the book overall for the story, but there were a few things that really bothered me.  First, the title – The Coach House.  I guess I had in my head that the Coach House would be some historical house (like my favorite book The Swan House) and would be the center of the story where all the events took place.  Instead you don’t even find out until 2/3rds of the way through what the Coach House even is, and even then it is insignificant.  I don’t judge a book by the title or cover, but for the record, this one is misleading.  I’m terrible with titles but maybe a better one would be something like “You Can’t Hide” or “Running from Richard”.  Those are terrible, but if you read the book – you’d understand.

The book takes place in Chicago in the 1940’s.  Marie, the main character, is a designer with Marshall Fields and a recent newlywed to Richard.  Again looking to learn more about a different city in a different time period, other than costs of things and some racial comments, I didn’t feel transported back.  Not that I have any reference other than movies and television shows, I just didn’t get the true feel of being in the 1940’s.  One example is Marie holding down a full-time job away from the house and Richard being the “cook” in the house.  I’m all for progressive females and marriages, and maybe I’m just being too stereotypical, but it just didn’t feel right.

That all being said, I really did enjoy the book.  I felt part of Marie’s journey to discover more about her past, who she is presently, and where she is headed.  The author does a great job at making the reader feel the emotions Marie is feeling and really setting the scene so you can picture it.  All the characters were easily pictured in my head, and I especially enjoyed Marie’s relationship with Karen and can’t wait to see where her relationship with Jonathan goes.  The book concluded leaving me not completely satisfied and some story lines still open.  But luckily for me (and I guess the author), a sequel has just been released (3/7/13), so I dove right in to Daughters, and that will be my next review.

I just looked back at the book description to see if I missed anything and I couldn’t help but laugh – the entire description is “”The Coach House” is about how a young woman in the 1940s deals with complicated relationships, adversity, ethnicity, and fears.”  I would have to agree.  If you are looking for a good historical fiction (as I most times are), this is disappointing on that front, but if you are looking for a good story to keep you interested, I would recommend this book.  Stay tuned for my review of the sequel! (Which I was very excited to be my free Prime March download!)

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