The Wrong House

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``WASPs,'' an Upper East Side psychic exclaims disapprovingly near the end of this delightful novel by a coauthor of The Official Preppy Handbook . ``I try not to make judgments, but really, what a group for masking things.'' All the characters here are masking one thing or another, particularly the women. For Frances Drummond, it's her deep resentment that her husband, Hart (who seems, at times, heartless) takes her for granted. Her feelings become hard to control when he inadvertently buys the Wrong House (often capitalized in the text) and they are forced to live in what is an ugly imitation of a Swiss chalet, which Frances calls her ``hair shirt.'' Meanwhile, Frances and Hart's daughter, Eleanor, is pridefully hiding her attraction to painter George Sinclair, having discovered that her brother secretly set them up. Wallace successfully adopts a gently ironic yet sympathetic attitude toward her characters, people who live sheltered lives of affluence and privilege, yet who are not spared pain and humiliation. Like Evan Connell in Mrs. Bridge , Wallace packs her prose with smart, amusing and often moving observations about members of a small segment of society who have trouble seeing beyond themselves. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Plentiful information about art, architecture, and decor enlivens this first novel by the co-author of To Marry an English Lord (Workman, 1986). Her well-crafted double romance about a married couple in their sixties and their divorced, love-shy daughter requires only that readers swallow the premise that the retired husband buys, by mistake, a monstrous modern house designed by an ``architect tripping on magic mushrooms.'' The turmoil that follows--he loves the house; she hates it--is quite amusing. Meanwhile, after several celibate years, daughter Ellie tumbles for an artist while on a Venetian vacation but scorns their mutual love when she learns that her brother had set them up. Everything turns out for the best with the help of a psychic and a hurricane, but the plot is less impressive than the vivid descriptions of Venice, the artist's work and loft, and the charming old and ugly new homes of the older lovers. For public libraries.-- Marion Hanscom, SUNY-Binghamton Lib.
Melanie Duncan
Frances Drummond has her heart set on purchasing a Victorian home on the Connecticut shore. But the house she ends up with is a modern monstrosity which her husband Hart likes. Frances tolerates the house for a few months then decides to find the house of her dreams with or without Hart. Meanwhile, her daughter Eleanor is suffering from a vacation love affair that her brother Harry inadvertently arranged with his friend George. George is madly in love with Eleanor who refuses to speak to him, Harry feels guilty for upsetting his sister, and all of these events are tied to the purchase of the Wrong House. Familial ties and newfound loves win in the end, but none of the Drummonds will ever forget the Wrong House. A light, entertaining novel of anything and everything going wrong while a family tries to deal with life's little vagaries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312105792
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 320

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