The Keeping House

Written by Meredith Kazer
Review by Waheed Rabbani

In 1997, New Haven, Connecticut, young Lauren is in financial difficulties. Her deceased husband has left her with considerable debt. Hence, Lauren and her mother downsize and purchase a dilapidated century-old Victorian mansion. Lauren has eerie feelings about the house and its previous owners. She hires a handsome handyman to fix the property, particularly the dislodged steps into the strange basement. The renovation uncovers a secret that impacts their lives.

Charles and Sarah built the mansion in 1890. Sarah is from a prosperous family and accompanies her father on trips to New York. Although Charles and Sarah have a son and a daughter, they cannot get along. Charles dies when his boat capsizes during a hurricane, and his son disappears.

This novel, although presented as a mystery-romance, involves some elements of horror. The mystery aspects of the disappearance of a young boy and the romance’s presentation in a nonlinear narrative add, to some extent, intrigue into the plot. Descriptions of contemporary Connecticut life and in the 1800s are presented vividly. However, the addition of incest, abortion, premarital sex, and kidnapping into the storyline, which seem to have been included to enhance the appeal of the story, may disappoint some readers.