Title: The House Of the Soul: A Novel
Author: Annie Dawson
Pages: 325 pages
Plot: Homemaker Ella Casey is circling the middle-age drain. Her once adventurous life is now measured in loads of laundry, her grand dreams of changing the world diluted with each rinse cycle. When she flies to the enchanting California estate of her best friend Teri for a Peace Corps reunion, the accomplishments of her peers threaten to soak up the last drops of Ella’s floundering self-esteem.
Teri Flores is everything Ella is not: glamorous, wealthy, and fearless. Her sprawling mansion, La Casa Del Alma, serves as both artists’ retreat and modern day salon to Teri’s eclectic entourage. Teri entertains her guests with lavish meals, outrageous activities, and impassioned debates, but the weekend sours when old grievances mix with new ambitions.
As past and present collide, Ella struggles to redefine herself, but will her growing need to validate her life end up destroying it?
THE HOUSE OF THE SOUL is a journey of love, loss, and friendship, and a treasure map for anyone brave enough to embark on the precarious voyage of self-discovery.
Once in a while we all review the choices we have made in our lives and a lot of ‘what ifs’ pop up in our head. Our protagonist Ella is no different. Ella is a mother of two boys, married to her soul mate and also was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. Ella had an unfulfilled dream of making a difference to the world. A strong urge to live her dream comes back gushing in after decades when she meets her Peace Corps friends at a reunion at Teri, her best friend’s home in California. This book is about Ella’s evolution as a lover, wife, mother, a Peace Corps volunteer, a friend and more over discovering herself.
The narration switches between the present time and the time Ella spent as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. This did add a flavor to the story but it could have been a bit more fluid in certain areas. My favorite character would be Sanchi. Inspite of experiencing immense pain and suffering in life, she held on and advanced into becoming the beautiful person she was. I must mention the credit worthy thoughts and quotes mentioned in the book which are worth imbibing in our lives.
The two key takeways from the book are firstly, that the grass is always greener on the other side hence we should cherish what we already have. Secondly, a difference can be made in many lives by just doing your bit for the family and dear ones.
The House of Soul is a debut novel that makes a mark! Looking forward to read more books from this author.
PS: – Thanks to the author for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.