Thursday, April 29, 2010


I just didn't care for "The Houseguest" by Agnes Rossi. Thank goodness it was another thrift shop book for which I only had to fork out a measly dollar. I would have been angry with myself if I had purchased it full price, or even from used.

The characters are just so unlikeable. I began to detest Edward Devlin immediately after his wife dies in the opening pages and he leaves for America without his six-year-old daughter. He fobs little Maura off on relatives, who in turn send her away to school. Not only has Maura her lost parents, but she has been set adrift in a sea of Irish speakers when she speaks only American English. Devlin and Sadie had emigrated to America when they got married and returned to Ireland with Maura only when Sadie became ill with TB.

Now back in America, Edward hooks up with old acquaintance John Fitzgibbon, who not only helps him find a job but offers him a place to stay in his home. It is no surprise when Edward falls in love with Sylvia, Fitz's sensuous wife. It's not surprising that she reciprocates, since Fitz is a cold fish. What is surprising is that Fitz had been looking to get rid of Sylvia.

Although Maura was a sympathetic character, Edward, Sylvia and Fitz are so wooden and unfeeling that I wanted to slap them upside the head. It wasn't long before I quit caring whether or not Edward and Sylvia would end up happily ever after, or if Maura would be able to leave Ireland and join them in America (an outcome that childless Sylvia wants way more than Edward appears to).

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