Saturday, January 7, 2017

The House of the Soul: A Novel by Annie Dawson - Review

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.

My Review: 

An incredible journey of self-discovery.

Once in the Peace Corps, Ella Casey’s life was so different.  She was helping make a change in the world and enjoyed seeing the smiles on the people’s faces that she was helping.  After she left the Peace Corps, she got married and raised her family in New Zealand.  But she kept thinking something is missing from her life.  When Ella’s best friend Teri invites her to a Peace Corps reunion in California, she questions whether she should go as she felt she didn’t have anything in common with the others anymore.  But in the end she goes as a plane ticket has already been purchased for her.   While Ella spends time with Teri and her friends, she does some soul searching about her life and the choices she has made.  What will it take for Ella to feel she has a purpose in life again?

I enjoyed the way the book was written with the present time and the flash-backs to the past.  It gives a good insight as to who the characters really are.  The writer has a way with words and spun a memorable tale that won’t soon be forgotten.  Having been in the Peace Corps herself, she had all of the facts to make this story feel very real.  Sometimes an author will write a book and research facts but they don’t always carry across onto the pages where it seems real.  Entertaining yes, but real, not always.  The scenes were easy to visualize.  The secondary characters had such strong roles in the story that I would love to find out what happens to them.

I loved this quote at the end of the story:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Purchase links for The House of Soul


Barnes & Noble



  1. I enjoyed your review and the quote, I will add to my tbr list. thanks!

    1. Thanks! I bet you would love it too. It's a bit different from what you usually read, but I know you would really get into it like I did. I think it's a must read for any woman.