REVIEW: HOUSE OF WONDER, BY SARAH HEALY

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Growing up on Royal Court in Harwich, NJ, was full of poignant memories for Jenna, now an adult with her own preschool daughter Rose.

But the memories of a childhood with her twin brother Warren would be bittersweet, as now in adulthood, Warren and her mother are both considered a blight on the old neighborhood. Her mother, Priscilla, once Miss Texas, has turned into a hoarder, and Warren is “weird” to those around him. He is a loner with obsessive behaviors and habits, but to Jenna, he will always be the beloved twin who was there for her. And she wants to be there for him.

When the neighbors rise up to protest the Parsons home and Warren, Jenna will do whatever she can to clear her brother’s name against the allegations of the neighbors, some of whom have been sending harassing letters.

But there is still some good in that old neighborhood, Jenna discovers, as she reconnects with a high school flame, Bobby Vanni, now a resident at the nearby hospital, and the single father of Gabby, Rose’s new playmate.

House of Wonder is narrated by Jenna’s first person voice, and also flips back into the past where we see Priscilla (Silla) growing up in the 50s and 60s, with a horrible stepmother Hattie, and the loss of her own mother. Secrets veil the past for Priscilla…and probably set in motion some of her present day habits and behaviors. But beneath the secrets lie the freedom from the scourge of the past and an offering of hope for the future. A delightful story that earned 4.5 stars.

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