The Carriage House: A Novel

( 2 )

Overview

A gorgeous debut novel from an award-winning poet and world champion squash player about an old moneyed family, facing the loss of the youthful talent and storied history that defined them.

After suffering a stroke, patriarch William Adair wakes up in his hospital bed and realizes that his family has changed: they are less extraordinary than he had remembered. For more than thirty years, his faith in life was grounded on two indisputable principles: his three daughters’ ...

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The Carriage House: A Novel

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Overview

A gorgeous debut novel from an award-winning poet and world champion squash player about an old moneyed family, facing the loss of the youthful talent and storied history that defined them.

After suffering a stroke, patriarch William Adair wakes up in his hospital bed and realizes that his family has changed: they are less extraordinary than he had remembered. For more than thirty years, his faith in life was grounded on two indisputable principles: his three daughters’ exceptional beauty and talents and the historical resonance of a carriage house built by his grandfather. Now, both have begun to collapse.

The carriage house, held captive by a neighbor since a zoning error classified it as her property, has decayed beyond recognition and risks being condemned. William’s daughters—all tennis champions in their youth—are in decline. Having lost their father’s pride, the three sisters struggle to define themselves. William’s ailing wife is suffering from dementia. As she forgets her daughters, they forget themselves.

To help him recover, William’s daughters take on the battle for the carriage house that once stood as a symbol of their place in the world. Overcoming misunderstandings, betrayals, and wrong turns deep in the past, each of the Adairs ultimately finds a new place of forgiveness and love. The Carriage House is a moving, beautifully wrought novel about the complex bonds of siblings and about rebuilding lost lives.

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Editorial Reviews

The Boston Globe - James Zug
“Ambitious…Intricate…A splendid, carefully-plotted, open-hearted novel.”
Megan Mayhew Bergman
The Carriage House is gorgeously detailed and rife with betrayal, heartbreak, nostalgia, lost love, and possibilities for redemption. You will ache for the Adair family, cringe at their mistakes, and plead with them to make peace with each other before it’s too late. In her smart and insightful debut, Louisa Hall examines the ways in which we fail and forgive others—and ourselves.”
Philipp Meyer
"Louisa Hall writes about the wars waged between neighbors and family members with extraordinary sympathy and a keen sense of humor. Part Jane Austen, part John Cheever, this tale of upheaval in a suburban Philadelphia household marks the debut of a stunning new writer."
Vogue.com - Rebecca Bengal
“[The Carriage House is] a twisted family saga lodged in John Cheever and Wes Anderson.”
the Oprah magazine O
“Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this debut novel follows three daughters who work together to restore their father’s health and save their Main Line, Philadelphia home and all it represents.”
Austin American-Statesman - Charles Ealy
“Louisa Hall deftly explores the notions of romantic and familial regret in her debut novel…The Carriage House is full of compelling personal portraits—characters who’ll stay with you long after you put the book down.”
Austin Chronicle - Kimberley Jones
“Hall’s decision to shift the perspective to include multiple voices deepends the reader’s empathy for characters who were more minor (and noxious) in Persuasion.”
From the Publisher
“Ambitious…Intricate…A splendid, carefully-plotted, open-hearted novel.”

“[A] marvelously mature debut…Hall displays a Whartonian malice…[and] seamlessly transitions among the many individual points of view…The novel’s technical proficiency and its gratifyingly nuanced ending make it easy to recommend."

“[The Carriage House is] a twisted family saga lodged in John Cheever and Wes Anderson.”

“Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this debut novel follows three daughters who work together to restore their father’s health and save their Main Line, Philadelphia home and all it represents.”

“Louisa Hall deftly explores the notions of romantic and familial regret in her debut novel…The Carriage House is full of compelling personal portraits—characters who’ll stay with you long after you put the book down.”

“Hall provides keen insight…A thoughtful, character-driven novel.”

“Hall’s decision to shift the perspective to include multiple voices deepends the reader’s empathy for characters who were more minor (and noxious) in Persuasion.”

"Louisa Hall writes about the wars waged between neighbors and family members with extraordinary sympathy and a keen sense of humor. Part Jane Austen, part John Cheever, this tale of upheaval in a suburban Philadelphia household marks the debut of a stunning new writer."

"Every sentence in The Carriage House is full of clarity, attention, and grace. Louisa Hall is a writer to be admired.”

The Carriage House is gorgeously detailed and rife with betrayal, heartbreak, nostalgia, lost love, and possibilities for redemption. You will ache for the Adair family, cringe at their mistakes, and plead with them to make peace with each other before it’s too late. In her smart and insightful debut, Louisa Hall examines the ways in which we fail and forgive others—and ourselves.”

Kirkus Reviews
The first novel from Philadephia-born author Hall. William Adair is the central hub around which a cast of insightfully depicted female characters revolve: Margaux, his wife, waltzing into a world of forgetfulness with early onset dementia; Louise, an aspiring writer from Australia hired on as Margaux's caretaker; Adelia, William's childhood friend and woulda-shoulda-coulda-been sweetheart, who comes to live with the family to help care for William after he suffers a stroke; and William's three daughters. Trying to rescue the historic carriage house built by William's grandfather, but now owned by a neighbor due to a zoning error and scheduled for demolition, is the cause that unites the women of William's life. Elizabeth, the oldest daughter, once an actress on the way to success in Los Angeles, is back home with her two daughters after a heartbreaking divorce. Diana, once a tennis champion and president of her school, has returned home instead of defending her architecture thesis at university. Isabelle, the youngest and still a teenager, rebels against everything and everyone. The carriage house is not only the common cause that brings the women together, it is also the symbol of lost and rediscovered loves, dreams and aspirations as it first burns to the ground and then is rebuilt according to Diana's design and under her supervision. An emotional journey that's ultimately filled with joy.
The Wall Street Journal - Sam Sacks
“[A] marvelously mature debut…Hall displays a Whartonian malice…[and] seamlessly transitions among the many individual points of view…The novel’s technical proficiency and its gratifyingly nuanced ending make it easy to recommend."
The New York Times Book Review
"Graceful prose... The themes of memory and nostalgia threading through the novel are especially resonant."
Kevin Powers
"Every sentence in The Carriage House is full of clarity, attention, and grace. Louisa Hall is a writer to be admired.”
Library Journal
William Adair grew up on Little Lane, proud of his club tennis championships, his pretty daughters, and a historic carriage house built by his grandfather. After suffering a stroke, he realizes that all is not as he had envisioned for himself and his family. His eldest daughter, Diana, was a promising tennis star when an injury sidelined her career. Now she's struggling to forge an identity beyond "athlete." Elizabeth, who moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, is now a divorced mother returned home to lick her wounds. The youngest, Izzy, is equally lost— having spent most of her life with only a shadow for a mother, a woman who still lives at home despite her early-onset dementia. With the carriage house destined for the wrecking ball, the various Adair women respond, slowly regaining their senses of self. This is a melancholy portrait of a family in quiet crisis. Hall provides keen insight and just enough hope to end on a positive note. VERDICT Hall's debut is a thoughtful, character-driven novel that may appeal to readers who enjoy Lorrie Moore. [See Prepub Alert, 9/27/12.]—Christine Perkins, Bellingham P.L., WA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451688634
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 281
  • Sales rank: 1,439,359
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Louisa Hall

Louisa Hall was born in Philadelphia in 1982 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Haverford. She graduated from Harvard in 2004 and went on to play squash professionally for three years. She is now completing her Ph.D. in literature at the University of Texas at Austin, where she lives with her husband. Her poems have been published in journals such as The New Republic, The Southwest Review, and Ellipsis. The Carriage House is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

    Riveting, engrossing and fascinating read. This novel I so enj

    Riveting, engrossing and fascinating read.
    This novel I so enjoyed, why you ask? All the drama one novel should have. A father surrounded himself with his girls, as stated in the book, "his girls who had somehow slipped away from him but when he would watch for, everyday, as long as he lived, hoping to glimpse them even briefly as they winged their way past." Geez, how can you beat that? Their mother Margaux early-onset of Alzheimer, how William longed to have just a moment of closeness with her. Children grow and leave, seeing his girls independence. Adelia steps in, did she really step into their lives? Adelia was part of William's childhood past and neighbor, but he meant more to her. I tell you this book snatched me in so quickly and held me captive. Love this story especially the family unity William kept thinking was fading and withering away. No, everyone is growing into themselves. Won this book on Goodreads, First Read Giveaway. Thank you, Darlene Cruz

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Beautifully written tale of a family's Beautifully written tale of family love and forgiveness

    I loved this book. The third person narration is so well balanced and paced. The characters come alive with the perfect blend of tragedy and humor. Recommend!

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