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Dream House
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Dream House

3.6 10
by Valerie Laken

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“The perfect haunted house story for these unnerving times.” —New York Times

Dream House, the riveting debut novel from Pushcart Prize-winning author Valerie Laken, tells the story of one troubled house—the site of a domestic drama that will forever change the lives of two families. Embracing volatile issues such as race,

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Dream House 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages? Y doesnt Nook advertise how many pages the books have?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Ryan_G More than 1 year ago
When Kate and Stuart Kinzler buy a run-down historic home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they're hoping their grand renovation project can rescue their troubled marriage. Instead, they discover that years ago their home was the scene of a terrible crime-and the revelation tips the balance of their precarious union. When a mysterious man begins lurking around her yard, Kate, now alone, is forced to confront her home's dangerous past. Hers is not the only life that has crumbled under this roof. This man's family also disintegrated here, as the result of one brief act of rage that may haunt him-and this house-for years to come. Sounds good, right? Thankfully I can report that it was good, and not what I was expecting at all. For some reason I was thinking there was actually going to be a actual haunted house, don't ask why, I'm not really sure where I got that impression from. I think I was a little tired when I first read the description. A lot of the reviews I've read have tended to focus on Kate, and while you would probably consider her the "main" character, I found myself connecting to and understanding Stuart way more that it seems others have. Here was a man, who's biggest flaw was the lack of any real sense self esteem. He never thought he was good enough for Kate, he was always thinking that someday she would realize the truth and disappear. How any man can be expected to function on a real level, when that thought is eating away at you, is beyond me. So of course he wouldn't want their life to change in any real way, because if it did, she may realize that she's moved beyond him. She would find out that she would be better off without him. So I understood why he was so unhappy with buying a house and moving away from their apartment, which was near the campus they first met. The relationship, while it may be slowly dying, was stable their. It was home. So when Kate throws herself into remodeling the home, he never wanted, he feels her pulling away from him. Of course he never thought about this being her way of trying to not only reconnect their slowly dying marriage, but as a way to find a place where she truly belonged. I found Kate to be pretty emotionally closed to almost everyone in her life, she simply doesn't let anyone in, even when she thinks she has. Now that doesn't help Stuart's issues because he sees this as a validation of his fears. And like all fears they just keep feeding in on themselves. So when he loses his job, his sense of self is obliterated. Any sense of being the man Kate needed walked out the door, so he followed. I'm not sure how many men or women in his place wouldn't do the same thing. When every fear you've ever had comes true, your first response is to run. I'm not saying it's the right choice or the morally correct thing to do, but I understood it. This was a intimate look at people who are struggling to find themselves and a place to call home, both physically and emotionally. The backdrop of the "murder" years prior to Kate and Stuart moving in and how the players in that initial tragedy interact and influence current events was expertly meshed together and added a dimension to the book that I would have missed had it not been there. Now everything I just typed could be the exact opposite of what Valerie Laken was trying to get across in her beautifully written book, but it's what I took away from it and I'm very happy that I was gived the
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I would recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had hoped this would have been a more traditional ghost story. Yes the charcters had haunted lives but it wasn't what I had hoped for. It was a good story but I felt cheated by the back blurb and the prologue. It started out feeling like a good ghost story and turned into a melodrama of haunted characters rather than a haunted house.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Married couple Kate and Stuart Kinzler have enjoyed hanging on to their college lifestyle though they graduated seven years ago. However, as she closes in on thirty, Kate wants more than a rundown Ann Arbor apartment and all night parties. Reluctantly Stuart agrees it is time to commit to their relationship, but loathes such a permanent fixture like a house. With the help of her parents, they buy a fixer-upper; but are ignorant that almost two decades earlier in the summer of 1987 a murder occurred in their new abode.

As Kate dives into the renovation project, Stuart walks out of the home and her. Despondent over the apparent end of her marriage Kate keeps working on the house. She soon meets African-American Walker Price who grew up in her new home before going to jail as a teen for the homicide almost twenty years ago, and her friend Jay comes by realizing upon arrival he cleaned the house after the police finished their murder investigation.

This is a timely look at the American strategic vision of individual ownership as the house serves as the connection between four thirtyish adults. The link between the Kinzlers and Walker is obvious; however the tie to Jay is a major stretch that is asking a lot of the reader to accept. Still this is a deep character driven tale as Valerie Laken goes inside the underpinnings of owning one¿s DREAM HOUSE with a strong look into the bonds that make effective nurturing relationships.

Harriet Klausner