The House on Malcolm Street

Written by Leisha Kelly
Review by Michael DiSchiavi

It is 1920. Leah Breckenridge and her daughter, Eliza, are boarding a train from St. Louis to Andersonville on their way to what they hope will be a fresh start. Within a short amount of time, Leah had lost her husband to a freak accident and infant son to illness. Grief-stricken and newly homeless, Leah has accepted an invitation from her husband’s aunt, Marigold, to come stay at her boardinghouse in Georgia in the hopes of rebuilding her life, and, just maybe, rediscovering the faith she has lost.

Six-year-old Eliza senses Providence at every turn, from the kindly old woman on the train who gives them an orange to the mysterious stranger who offers her a helping hand at the depot when they arrive. Leah is not so convinced and doubts everyone.

This novel offers a variety of memorable characters, not the least of which is the kindhearted, God-fearing Aunt Marigold. The prose style is simple and direct. This is a tenderly written novel sure to lift the spirit. It is, however, lacking much by way of historical reference; one does not get much flavor of the period by reading this book. Recommended nonetheless.