A Fatal Car Accident That Leads to Startling Truths About the Home Gina Left Behind
Gina balances between her current life in California and her past in Maine. Torn between the two, she does what any architect will do. She deconstructs her old childhood home piece by piece and with it, the secrets it carries.
In the months following her parents' fatal car accident in Maine, architect Gina Gilbert is coming apart: anxious with her two young children, alienated by her clients' grand house dreams, and no longer certain she feels at home in San Francisco.
While she and her sister Cassie are cleaning out their childhood home on the coast of Maine, they stir up painful memories and resentments over family possessions. A legendary collection of historically significant letters is missing from the artifacts they unearth, supporting a decades-old suspicion that their aunt or estranged cousin has stolen them.
Threatened by the loss of the old house and its extraordinary seaside landscape, Gina finds her heart swinging wildly between Maine and California, creating conflict with her husband, Paul. To learn what the Maine house means to her, she approaches it objectively, as an architect, bringing it to life on paper. Her family's story unfolds room by room: the darkroom from which her gentle but passive father, Ron, ran his photography business, the kitchen where her volatile mother, Eleanor, toiled under the weight of dashed dreams. As children, Gina and Cassie warily navigated rooms permeated with toxic secrets hobbling Eleanor and Ron's marriage.
As Gina deconstructs the house, startling truths are revealed, changing family history and allowing Gina and Cassie to begin healing family wounds. Gina has the chance to search the recesses of her heart, too, discovering within her a vitalizing compassion and an awakened understanding of what makes a house a home.
If you enjoyed books like The Dancing Girls, The Murmur of Bees, or Little White Secrets; then you'll love Dream House.
About the Author
Catherine Armsden's intrigue with architecture was ignited during her childhood growing up amongst the weather-beaten 18th and 19th century houses in Maine, where she was raised. She was educated in New England and then moved with her husband, Lewis Butler, to San Francisco in 1984 where they co-founded Butler Armsden Architects, a residential architecture firm. This is her debut novel.