Skip to content
Paperback Keeping the House Book

ISBN: 081297784X

ISBN13: 9780812977844

Keeping the House

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

Save $13.21!
List Price $18.00

1 Available

Book Overview

Set in the conformist 1950s and reaching back to span two world wars, Ellen Baker's superb novel is the story of a newlywed who falls in love with a grand abandoned house and begins to unravel dark secrets woven through the generations of a family. Like Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt in its intimate portrayal of women's lives, and reminiscent of novels by Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler, Keeping the House is a rich tapestry of a novel...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Engrossing and Suspenseful

I greatly enjoyed this book and consider it one of those pleasant surprise "finds". While the story centers around a family home, it is really a skillfully woven tale of the family itself, spanning three generations and two World Wars. The present day is the 1950's, with the story alternately taking you back and forth to the early 1900's and 1940's. The portions of the book that involved the wartime era and the soldier's stories were so detailed and emotionally authentic that I wasn't surprised to discover the author worked as a curator of a World War II museum. The author did a fantastic job of defining the different characters, as well as the various eras. I found the portrayal of the various times to be fascinating in how well she depicted the general lifestyle of that period, as well as the expectations of the female role and their "mindset" in each. The descriptions and characters are so vivid I could almost visualize it as if it were a movie. There are multiple stories that play out in the span of the book and I found it to be quite suspenseful. There were quite a few unexpected stories and outcomes, most of which I didn't see coming. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a well written, entertaining page-turner. This was the best book I've read in quite some time.

A Glimpse Into My Own Family Past

Ellen Baker has created a wonderful story of families over the last 100 years in Wisconsin. I understand my mother, father and grandparents frame of reference better having read the book which articulates many of the issues of their times. This includes the "perfect housewife," role of women and all the issues with World War I and II. It made me contemplete if today were 1944, all of my daughters friends in high school that were male seniors would be enlisting in spring instead of going off to college. I never realized just how young our "boys" were. In addition, the story was wonderful and kept me turning the pages. I thought Ellen totally capture Wisconsin. I would strongly recommend the book

Loved this "House" -- When Can I move In?

Dolly is a headstrong protagonist who tackles her role as a 1950s housewife in humorous, quirky ways that are simultaneously light and heart-wrenching. When she moves to Pine Rapids, Wisconsin with her husband Byron, Dolly finds herself captivated by an abandoned house that she feels needs her care. Dolly becomes entangled with the house's history, giving the reader another cast of characters -- the Mickelson family -- to devour. The Mickelson's dysfunctional but all-too-human history is gripping and will likely resonate with fans of Joyce Carol Oates. The book is so beautifully written and so altogether enjoyable, the author nearly disguises its importance as literature that underscores women's difficulties in an era where "keeping the house" was supposed to be enough. This is a fabulous first novel and I can't wait to read more from this author!

I highly recommend this book!

From page one, this book spoke to me -- and never stopped! Ellen Baker brought the characters, the place, and the time, to life. I grew up in the 50's and found that the people in the book living in that era and the expectations of women aspiring to be the "perfect wife" rang very true. I didn't want the saga of the Michelson's and Dolly to end. Whether their story continues in her next offering or not, I will be waiting for Ellen's next book with much anticipation.

On Finding the Way Home

Contemporary fiction has been summarized as "losers in the process of losing." Keeping the House breaks that mold, not because there are not losses narrated here, but because the story is about how--in the face of remarkable losses--superbly believable characters manage imperfectly yet meaningfully to connect with each other. Most of the characters have a deeply ambivalent relationship with the old mansion that stands at the center of this story, even as they are all trying in one way or another to get home. By the end of the book, it is clear that "home" means a sense of self neither entirely determined by others nor completely detached from them. It is the experience of feeling both true to oneself and known & loved by others. Keeping the House is the story of how generations of men and women navigate their way to this experience. The suspense built into the story will make you want to read it quickly. The carefully drawn characters and close attention to historical detail will convince you to savor each page.
Copyright © 2022 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured