The Clover House

Written by Henriette Lazaridis Power
Review by Nanette Donohue

Calliope Notaris Brown grew up between two worlds: her father’s America and her mother’s Greece. Her parents’ difficult relationship has left Callie wondering if she is capable of commitment, and her fiancé wants her to figure out their future. When Callie is notified of her beloved Uncle Nestor’s death, she returns to her mother’s hometown of Patras to sort through her inheritance: all of her uncle’s possessions. Among the odd objects in Nestor’s home is a box containing a strange assemblage of objects that Callie’s mother, Clio, takes an unusual interest in. As Callie continues to sift through her uncle’s things, she discovers that the items in the box are the key to the Notaris family’s downfall, and they remind her mother of the devastating choice that she made during the Italian occupation of Greece during World War II. When Callie confronts her mother with what she has found, both women are forced to confront their pasts, and Callie begins to reconsider her future.

Power’s debut is more women’s fiction than historical fiction; the focus is solidly on Callie and her personal relationships. We see glimpses of the Notaris family’s gilded pre-war past, and witnesses the chain of events that leads to the family’s downfall. Callie and Clio aren’t always the most sympathetic of characters, but they’re more alike than either would care to admit: both are permanently scarred from the tragedies of their youth. The Clover House will appeal primarily to readers who enjoy multi-period novels focusing on women’s inner lives and desires.