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Extended Audio Sample The Good House: A Novel Audiobook, by Ann Leary Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.87 out of 53.87 out of 53.87 out of 53.87 out of 53.87 out of 5 3.87 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ann Leary Narrator: Mary Beth Hurt Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781427228895
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Ann Leary's The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston’s North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She’s also a raging alcoholic. Hildy’s family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place—“if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday,” she advises “run for your life” — and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem.

As if battling her demons wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There’s a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire—and a love story between two craggy sixty-somethings that's as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Both Hildy's denial and her vulnerability are dramatized extremely well by narrator Mary Beth Hurt. Hurt deftly portrays Hildy's tendency to hide her alcoholism under a veneer of polished perfection; she's a woman who can deal with anyone's problems but her own. As the novel continues, the listener feels the pain of Hildy's breakdown and relapse in Hurt's Delivery, so well does she depict Leary's beautifully plotted story. AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner

  • Mary Beth Hurt's reading brought out the humor in Leary's prose…Hurt's reading was a very engaging way to absorb this novel. National Association of Realtors
  • The Good House is told in first person, which makes it an ideal audiobook – especially in the hands of reader Mary Beth Hurt, who simultaneously portrays Hildy as smart, funny, prickly, sympathetic and – well, pathetic. The Star-Ledger
  • Hildy is brought to life – on and off the wagon – by Mary Beth Hurt's fabulous performance. Bookpage
  • I was constantly entertained by the story and Hurt's total inhabitation of Hildy, who is both star and narrator of her own tale Winston-Salem Journal
  • Mary Beth Hurt does a fantastic job bringing Hildy to life vocally in all her facets…The author is talented and the reader adept; they have created a comprehensively compelling audio experience. New World Review

  • “Fresh, sharp, and masterfully told. Hildy’s tale is as intoxicating as it is sobering.”

    People

  • “Superstition, drama, and intrigue unspool at a perfect pace in Ann Leary’s irresistible new novel, The Good House, a tale steeped in New England character and small-town social tumult.”

    Redbook

  • “A layered and complex portrait of a woman struggling with addiction, in a town where no secret stays secret for long.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Leary gleefully peels back the pretensions that so often accompany portraits of ye olde Americana, peering through the shingles to reveal a lobster pot’s worth of ensnared ties between townies and the newly entitled....The Good House is a good read.”

    USA Today

  • “One of the best works of Massachusetts fiction in recent memory.”

    Boston magazine

  • “Hildy is an original, irresistibly likable and thoroughly untrustworthy...A genuinely funny novel about alcoholism.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2013 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2014 Audie Award Finalist for Fiction
  • Among shortlisted titles for Audie Award Finalist, 2014

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy E. | 2/14/2014

    " The characters in this book are very human, very fallible and very readable. I was immediately drawn to Hildy and her small town, her problems and her successes. Great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 shirley | 2/13/2014

    " Alcoholic real estate agent in denial about her drinking problem deals with her daughters and eccentric neighbors in a small New England town. It's funny, serious and thought provoking with a little mystery thrown in. I really liked seeing the story from the perspective of someone the morning after. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Sissel | 2/12/2014

    " The gift of a good story, for me anyway, is when I can't wait to see what happens and am then sorry to reach the final page. It was the case with this novel. I don't know when I've met a character so vividly alive and breathing off the page as Hildy Good. She's a New Englander, wry and edgy, and she drinks. Her daughters are convinced she's an alcoholic. She's just as convinced she isn't, and yet she gets herself into situations and her remorse, her despair over herself is so poignant. You feel her pain; you want to shake her. You'll never be sure you can trust her, but you can't help but love her. I did. This is the first of Ann Leary's novels I've read, but not the last. If you love vividly drawn and compelling characters, if page turning plots are your thing, don't miss this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Therese Hess granville | 2/5/2014

    " Interesting novel about a woman's battle with alcoholism. Even though the main character's story is sad and realistic, she can be very funny and the story has a happy outcome. Recommended, especially for people interested in alcoholism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marisa | 2/2/2014

    " I wish there was a 6 star option. Wonderful read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jocelyn | 2/1/2014

    " I loved this book! Review to come.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 1/24/2014

    " Great book. Really liked Hildy with all her faults and the way she sees herself, even though she tries to laugh away that she's an alcoholic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonia Patota | 1/21/2014

    " I liked this book. If you are intruiged by people who self sabotage, this is a good one for you. Alcoholism, deceit, extra marital relationships, small town characters, old loves...it's all there. It reads quickly and is mildly entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marybeth | 1/19/2014

    " I found this book entertaining at best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara O'Neal | 1/18/2014

    " Very human, very flawed, very relatable character. Loved her age and her problems and her solutions. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandy Hall | 1/9/2014

    " This was the first book I've read by Ann Leary and while I like it and could relate given my family history of alcoholism, I must say, I don't know what other readers found so hilarious? It was well written and engaging throughout, but I don't know that I'll rush to read her other books...? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri Hooper | 1/7/2014

    " I loved this book in a sad sort of way. It"s always hard to watch good people self destruct. I liked Hildy, I just wished she liked herself as much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea Zellner | 1/6/2014

    " I loved the unreliable narrator Hildy in this novel. The characters in the story a well-developed and I enjoyed the every day intrigue of a somewhat insular town. A good read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ana | 12/14/2013

    " I love this book! It's interesting and the characters are brought to life in a way that you feel as if you knew them already. It's well written and funny and I enjoyed reading it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorilee | 12/14/2013

    " It is always tricky to make the main character a mess and not even likeable most of the time. It worked well though. The love story was unexpected but very sweet and one of the more realistic protrayals I have read in a long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patsy Gantt | 12/2/2013

    " So so. This story has been told hundreds of times. Nothing new here for this reader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toddy | 10/16/2013

    " Searchwords for this book would be small towns, real estate, alcohol, alcoholism, Massachusetts coast, sailing, summer and wising up. I liked the main character so much, and her wry sense of humor. A good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 10/6/2013

    " Loved Hildy Good!! SO real...I was a bit disappointed in the somewhat abrupt ending, but other than that, could almost go back to page one, and read parts of it again. Looking for more Ann Leary! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jin | 9/30/2013

    " the nytimes review really made me expect more. good, no huge story arc "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 8/25/2013

    " Interesting book. Very light- hearted and funny at times- An interesting look at a sometimes functional alcoholic,real estate lady living in her house on the beach near Boston. The ending was intense at times, I did enjoy this book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Audrey Cooper | 8/12/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It was written in first person and quite fascinating to get into the head of this complicated real estate woman whose talents of self-denial were a common thread throughout. It also depicts small town life and the bonds that make and break relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Libby | 8/7/2013

    " Enjoyed the way this book was written. The author wove a variety of characters together to make a very interesting story. I recommend the book to others who enjoy reading about interesting characters and how they relate to one another. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Psbenjamin | 6/27/2013

    " Very entertaining read about a smart, successful, funny alcoholic (Hildy) steeped in denial. I enjoyed it thoroughly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 6/19/2013

    " It was entertaining enough. But not a must read. Definitely, the most realistic portrait of alcoholism I've read to date. Still it was lacking in the plot department, with an ending that wasn't well supported in the body of the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan Mccann | 6/11/2013

    " There is a lot about this story to like: a bit of history, a bit of romance, intrigue, personal demons, even a little witchcraft (not really, but you'll see). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 5/22/2013

    " The alcoholic in denial narrator rang so true it was terrifying. The plot around Rebecca and Peter was so thin in comparison "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Lynn | 5/12/2013

    " Loved it. Funny, sad, suspenseful. Generally I'm not a fan of novels which are told by an unreliable narrator but this was great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dona | 4/21/2013

    " Entertaining novel of a 60-something real estate broker in a small town in Massachusetts. As aggravating as I found myself getting at the main character, alcoholic Hildy, I also found myself wanting her to make it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Nowak | 4/19/2013

    " This was an OK novel and an easy read. I just didn't feel that the story really went anywhere. I felt it basically ended at the same place it began, there was little that occurred in between. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 3/20/2013

    " She's writing about my childhood 'hood and it's not bad. "

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About the Author

Ann Leary is the author of the memoir An Innocent, A Broad and the novel Outtakes from a Marriage. She has written fiction and nonfiction for various magazines and literary publications and is a cohost of the NPR weekly radio show Hash Hags. She competes in equestrian sports and is a volunteer EMT. She and her family share their small farm in Connecticut with four dogs, three horses, and an angry cat named Sneakers.

About the Narrator

Mary Beth Hurt is an award-winning Broadway actor as well as an acclaimed performer in film and television. Her theater work includes A Delicate Balance, The Secret Rapture, Benefactors, Crimes of the Heart, The Misanthrope, and Trelawney of the Wells. Her film credits include Affliction, Autumn in New York, Family Man, Six Degrees of Separation, The Age of Innocence, The World According to Garp, and Interiors.