The House of Dreams

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I reminded myself that this was a "young adult" read - but it felt even younger than that. It felt that way until midway through. Then it became more than just a young adult read. It became more intense, certainly because Maud's life became more complicated, she faced demons and was no longer the young author who had created Anne Shirley. So it makes sense the book became darker and more complex, but it felt so at odds with the writing style at the beginning of the book. I can only liken the beginning to feeling like this was an essay and the author had kept in all her research and forgot to trim the fat before submitting it to her professor.

That said - this is a super well researched book - you can tell that Liz Rosenberg has a love and appreciation for not only the books written by Maud Montgomery, but also for the person. She treated her subject with the utmost respect. If this had been edited a little stronger I believe I would have given this a 4 star rating. Thank you for the advanced read in return for an honest review.

Aug 13, Vicky Guthrie rated it really liked it Shelves: young-adult , biography , non-fiction. Montgomery, so naturally I developed a growing curiosity for the woman behind Anne Shirley, and all her other delightful characters. I have always loved her stories, but one thing I began to criticize were their light-hearted natures and convenient happy endings. They all felt like sunshine and roses all the way through, even in the midst of tragedy.

The House of Dreams

And I was feeling, they are just too happy to be realistic. I read this book in a day; it was deeply absorbing. This lady went through hell, and through everything, managed to remain positive and optimistic on the outside for a long time. She poured these feelings into her writing. She struggled with severe depression for the majority of her life, and I truly believe her writing and her stories were the only medicine that actually sustained her and kept her sane for as long as she lived. She probably would have left this world earlier if not for her writing. Essentially, the result of suppressing a creative mind is madness.

Luckily, L. Montgomery fought and rose above oppression and other obstacles for the majority of her life to succeed in having a solid career. The result of which has lived on through the ages for us all to love and enjoy. I learned a lot from this book and I heartily recommend it for anyone interested in her stories, her life, or the career of a woman author in a time where that was almost unheard of. She is truly a Canadian gem. Oct 20, Becky rated it liked it Shelves: librarybook , reviews , cybils , goodrule-new.

First sentence: On a late June afternoon in , Maud Montgomery sat in her grandmother's kitchen, writing. She sat not at the kitchen table, but perched on top of it, her feet set neatly on a nearby sofa, her notebook propped against her knees. From here she could jump down if someone stopped by for their mail, as was likely to happen--for the kitchen doubled as the post office of Cavendish, a tiny seaside village on Prince Edward Island. Montgome First sentence: On a late June afternoon in , Maud Montgomery sat in her grandmother's kitchen, writing. Montgomery is a new biography of Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Montgomery is best known for the Anne series though she was also a poet and writer of short stories. My thoughts: L. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors. Around the age of eleven or so I discovered the Anne and Emily books. It was LOVE.

House of Dreams Museum

I reread these books often. And I do mean often. At some point I began reading her other books as well--Tangled Web, Blue Castle, various short story collections. I entertained the fantastical notion that if I had a real, live Anne Shirley in my life, my life would be so much better. Not only did I see Anne as a kindred spirit--but I imagined L. Montgomery to be one as well. I would not allow my eleven year old self to read this book. I wouldn't.

There's a time and place perhaps for illusions to be shaken perhaps. I am not saying I regret reading the book as an adult. Montgomery had mental health issues. She struggled throughout most—if not all of her life—with mental health. She was married to a minister who had severe mental health issues himself. He had several complete nervous breakdowns. Unfortunately, both Montgomery and her husband lived at a time when there was not much—if any—help for mental health disorders.

For a minister and his wife it would have been an impossible situation. But even if she had come forward and sought help and sought help for her husband, would the medical community have been of any real good? What prescriptions Montgomery and her husband were taking—for various things—were way more harmful than helpful. We like to think that we know all there is to know--that medical science has made great advancements. That a doctor's advice is always good advice.

That prescription pills are safe. That when a doctor prescribes something it will make us better--not worse. Only time will tell. It will always only be time that tells. Still even if we don't know everything there is to know about every mental health disorder today--we know so much more than a hundred years ago. It can be outrageous to stop and think about what "treatments" were recommended for the mentally ill--even sixty or seventy years ago.

I do think it is important to talk about mental health. To be compassionate and empathetic--not only to those suffering directly from mental health disorders but also towards the caretakers--the friends and family of those impacted. It is nothing to be ashamed about. It shouldn't be something to hide, a burden one bears alone. Did Montgomery commit suicide? She was certainly VERY unhappy and life was a burden to her. She was worried and anxious about her oldest son. She was miserable with her husband.

Recent injuries made it difficult for her to write by hand. She'd endured many losses in life. But did she overdose by pills intentionally or unintentionally? It could have been an accident. She was taking SO many different prescriptions, and the combination would today be considered dangerous. Even if she was following doctor's directions precisely. It could have been suicide. It wasn't Montgomery's mental health problems that troubled me so much as it was the breaking of the illusion that Montgomery was a [Christian] woman of faith.

She may have grown up at a time and in a place where church attendance was a given for respectable families. But by the time she was an adult, by the time she was a minister's wife, she had lost her belief in God. Or at least her belief in the God of the Bible. She denied there was a heaven or hell, a day of judgment. She believed instead in reincarnation. She maintained an appearance of orthodoxy--as did her husband--for appearances' sake.

After all, would he be kept on as minister if he openly rejected God from the pulpit? But she held unorthodox views privately. Some of this creeps in subtly in her works. Aug 18, Michelle Gray rated it it was amazing Shelves: kids-biography. Very thorough but easily readable. I found Maud's life fascinating and learned so much about her, her relationships, and the world she lived in. I never knew she dealt with depression and mental illness and to watch her battle and overcome it at different points in her life was a window into what kind of determined person she was.

Apr 26, Ms. Yingling rated it liked it. E ARC from Netgalley. Since many of Montgomery's stories are largely autobiographical, readers who are very familiar with Montgomery's work will find this to be extremely informative. It is also an interesting look into the life of one women in the late s and early s. Montgomery was far from the only women not raised by her own parents at this time, and the fact that she was able to get an education was rather remarkable. She was able to get a decent number of teaching positions, even if they weren't exactly to her liking.

Her struggles with finding a life partner are interesting, because they seem so atypical of the time. She had many men interested in her, but they didn't suit for one reason or another, and the man she eventually married was not a particularly good fit. By the time she married, she was well on her way to a solid writing career, but she didn't particularly seem to enjoy her extremely good fortune in this regard.

There is an informative time line at the end of the book, and this is as complete a biography as I have read on this particular author. I read a digital ARC of this; perhaps the final copy has photographs? It seems odd that there wouldn't be any. There are a few things that should be kept in mind-- there are a couple of passing mentions of sex, and frank discussion of the various mental illnesses that both Montgomery and her husband are said to have suffered from.

While nothing is graphic or disturbing, some younger readers might be confused or disillusioned. Just something to keep in mind. View 1 comment. Feb 06, Rosemary rated it really liked it. This illustrated biography of Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, is a must-have for middle school and up biography readers. Her mother died when she was a toddler; her father left her in the care of her grandparents, and Maud grew up wanting more: passionate love and affection; education; a career as an author.

She dealt with anxiety and depression throughout her life, and married for security rather than love. Drawing on correspondence and her unpublished journals, This illustrated biography of Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, is a must-have for middle school and up biography readers.

Drawing on correspondence and her unpublished journals, Liz Rosenberg draws a picture of a woman who led an often difficult life and who struggled against her circumstances to create one of the most memorable literary characters of all time. It's not always an easy read.

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Reading about Maud's struggle against greedy publishers and her own gold-digging son can be rage-inducing, as is her fight to continue her education against the grandfather who refused to help her. Her callous uncle left Maud and her widowed grandmother to live in horrible conditions, waiting for his own mother to die so he could inherit her home, left to him by his father. But we also read about Maud's devotion to her Prince Edward Island home, her lifelong love of writing, and her success at being able to sustain an income by writing.

Montgomery was a complex, conflicted woman and her struggles with mental health and financial independence make her more real, more three-dimensional, to readers who will understand and be inspired. Jun 25, Lana Shupe rated it it was amazing. I picked this book up in the year old section at the store where I work.


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I think it might need to be moved to the teen or adult section. It deals with all aspects of her life and I'm not sure some things need to be read by a year old. The book reads like L.

The House of Dreams - City Secrets - Time Out London

Montgomery's private journals which have been edited and published since her death. I have read those journals and they made me profoundly sad, just as this book has made me. Montgomery led such a harrowed, sad, repressed and lonel I picked this book up in the year old section at the store where I work. Montgomery led such a harrowed, sad, repressed and lonely life. It is hard to believe she was able to pour so much joy into her books and characters, when she herself was so neglected and misunderstood. Liz Rosenberg has done her research. The book is organized and descriptions are kept well-informed and brief.

You will want to have tissues at hand and will feel a weight in your heart when you close the book at it's end. If you are a Montgomery fan then you will need to read this book. If you know nothing about the author herself then this will make a first great read for insight into the life of a prolific and beloved Canadian author. Anne of Green Gables is my favorite work of fiction and Anne is my favorite female book character.

I have loved her from the moment I first met her when I was 11 years old, reading the book while lying in a hammock in the backyard of my Maritime childhood home. Apr 30, Heartbreakdiet06 rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography , anne-of-green-gables , ya-non-fiction , literature.

More of a YA book than a middle-grade reader, this is essential reading for any lover of Anne of Green Gables! I learned so much about the author and her background. I did not know a Prime Minister had visited her there!

House Of Dreams: This London Artist's House Will Blow Your Mind (And Break Your Heart)

This biography is inspiring partly because it shows the many struggles that L M Montgomery went through, and how she was able to create great art even in really daunting circumstances. It reminded me how much I love this author's books and made me want to go back and re-read them. Jun 30, Leonard Kim rated it liked it Shelves: newbery-eligible , non-fiction. Both are well-written and as a fan, I was happy to read this.

May 07, Becca rated it liked it Shelves: reviewed-by-me , in-de-library-catalog , nonfiction , biographies-autobiographies-memoirs. Montgomery had a very sad life. I looked around and there was the shrine. Photographs, candles and things on this little table. I cried, because I'd seen this before. I knew this house. In Mexico, Stephen had found a new way of looking at death.

There it was, open and explored, celebrated in expressions of colour, art and humour. It spoke to Stephen. He returned to England with materials for the house: cases full of religious ornaments, glass eyeballs, handcrafted figurines, dolls' heads, discarded family photos and many other things in startling colours. He became increasingly influenced by cultures that dealt with loss in much more visceral and spiritual ways than Britain.

Places where the burden of bereavement was explored and expressed; where people didn't dress in black and avert their eyes; where grief was not expected to be kept behind closed doors. He went back to Mexico. He studied Haitian vodou and began to incorporate some of its exuberance into his art. He went to India with Michael, to Varanasi, and to the banks of the Ganges, where they both watched as families publicly bathed their lost loved ones, wrapped them in linen and then cremated them on a wooden pyre.

In our society, everything is taken out of our hands. If it's a loved one, why would you want to hand them over to a stranger? England is in denial in so many ways. Everything is private, not spoken about, black, tight, controlled. It's fucked up, really. Throughout the passing of Donald and his parents, Stephen had kept diaries. One day he put some thin wooden boards on the floor of his living room and began transcribing onto them with a paintbrush. The diary entries he chose were graphic and honest.

One huge board focused in detail on the day Donald died. It seemed important to him not to block anything and just allow the work to come through. The boards would eventually line the corridor of the House of Dreams.

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The act of making was a way of getting rid of it. I learned that. I didn't know that. But it's true. What an awful way to learn it. A word tries to escape his mouth, but he pulls it back in and pauses. He never simply nods or shrugs. At first, he opened it for six days a year. On those days, around 20 visitors would arrive. That was fine: he had no desire to advertise it anywhere, and the intention was never to make money.

Strangers started tossing stuff over his wall. One day it was a bin-bag full of manky wigs. Another time it was the head of a decapitated ceramic leopard. Once it was a deer skull with antlers and a note that said "For you". It seemed the house had become known as a place where unwanted objects could be given a new life or purpose. Stephen loved it. He put the deer skull above the fireplace in his living room. The leopard became the head of a mosaic goddess. When the manky wigs came, he and Michael spent the day trying them on.

Then he glued them all to a door in the house. Hair door. It looked interesting, very interesting, but it was an impractical covering for a door. I mean, you couldn't see the handle at all. So, rather reluctantly, he removed them. But as word of mouth spread about the House of Dreams, a demand began to swell. Six open days a year became one day a month. Twenty people a day became per day, which became selling out in advance.

As I write this, the house is fully booked until July, and is receiving bookings up until October. In June, the Royal Academy will be doing an exclusive excursion for its members. They come with their wife or their partner, they stand on the doorstep, gasp and say, 'This is not for me,' and go to the pub. One day, a visitor called Elizabeth came. It was her second time, and she wanted to speak to Stephen. Her mother had died. It had been completely unexpected. While clearing her mum's house she kept coming across pairs of spectacles of various styles, shades and shapes. Elizabeth: "The glasses were part of her being.

Stephen took her downstairs, and they picked a spot together. About a metre-and-a-half up the wall in Stephen's corridor, surrounded by felt tip pens and a pillar made of Coca-Cola bottle tops, there sits a shrine to Elizabeth's mum, a woman Stephen never met. It's a spiral made from all the spectacles, with her name written in the centre. I find myself staring at this shrine for a while one afternoon while Stephen potters in his studio. For the first time in years, I think of my aunty Angela's bookcase.

She died before I was born, killed in a car crash at 21 years old. She had been a pillar of the family, the oldest of five, and had helped my grandma raise the others. When grandma got up in the night to bottle-feed the newborn twins my uncles , Angela got up with her to feed the other. There has always been a bookcase of Angela's books in grandma's house, exactly how she left them.

As I grew up, and got old enough to read, these books became how I got to know Angela, and I learned things about her nobody could ever tell me. The spines were crinkled, pages were marked with spilled tea, margins were filled with annotations around lines she found interesting. In my own books, I still mimic the messy and cartoonish way she always wrote her name in the inside cover. In the same way Elizabeth's mum's personality beams at me as I stare at her eccentric and excessive spectacles collection.

I join Stephen in his studio at the back of the house. His laptop is playing "The Gate" by Bjork. The choral harmonies mix eerily with the drumming sound of rain against the corrugated plastic sheeting on the studio roof. I open it. They were all sent to Stephen by past visitors; possessions of their deceased loved ones. They want them to be part of the House of Dreams. I pick up a photo of a smiling woman called Penny, who looks to be in her late thirties. She had been a children's author until she died of cancer. Stephen turns Bjork up a little.

It sort of goes there, doesn't it," he says, pointing to his chest. I love it. It's about being human. We are all here to support each other in some way. So it's not a problem. My heart is big enough to do that. Last summer, Stephen had a meltdown. Thirteen years later, the trauma still stalked him like a pack of wolves — this felt like their last stand.

He phoned Michael, and also his friend Ted. Within half an hour, all three of them converged on his doorstep. He talked through everything with them: Donald, his dad, his mother. Life and death made them go. That was a turning point, really. Ever since then, I've felt completely different about everything.


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It's like a cloud has gone. I am healed. As the novel progressed, there were several twists that I totally did not see coming. Many novels today are so predictable, and I love it when an author is able to surprise me with a good plot twist. Providing such wonderful details about the actual lives of individuals included in a historical fiction novel adds so much more to the story, and I was so glad she took the time to provide all of that information. In addition to all of her research, Kate Lord Brown actually consulted with two of the characters that are in the book which I am sure help make the story that much more authentic.

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I highly, highly recommend this book. There are many books written about this time period, and this is certainly one of the best I have read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review. I am finding it difficult to reconcile my thoughts on this book. The story, revolves around Gabriel Lambert, who escaped France and has kept many secrets about his past hidden, but a journalist is trying to uncover the truth about his past.

May 18, Cindy rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley. This was a very interesting and entertaining read. It is an aspect of WWII relief work that I was not familiar with prior to reading this book and the current day and historical stories both had many twists and turns. I definitely recommend this book and I thank NetGalley for providing me with an early re This was a very interesting and entertaining read. I definitely recommend this book and I thank NetGalley for providing me with an early release.

Mar 16, Barbara rated it it was ok. I thought I would really like this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. I didn't find the characters interesting or sympathetic and I gave up after pages. I won this book on Goodreads and really don't like posting a negative review, but I want to be honest.

Apr 07, Laura Harrison rated it really liked it. Historical fiction isn't usually my thing but Kate Lord Brown is a terrific writer. Interesting, smart read. As long as you don't have a problem moving between very different time periods- you will love it! Mar 03, April rated it liked it. The point of view changing and the slow story that seemed to b going nowhere. May 19, Rachael Burrows rated it it was amazing Shelves: , wwii-related-my-favorite-time-perio. What can I say about this book? It was amazing! It started off a little slow, but I promise, if you stick with it, you are in for a wonderful treat.

I am a WWII history nerd. This story is based of real events and people during WWII.. You can guarantee I will be reading Varian Fry's book! I loved the characters Gabriel pulled at my heart. I am a Wow! I am a teacher and I finished this today on the school bus coming home from a field trip. I wanted to cry and cry, but when you have children all around you, you can't! Of course, I do cry sometimes when I read to them. I love art. This book had many I have heard of before. I am visiting the MoMA and the Met next month and I can't wait to see if I see some works of art from some of these characters.

Kate Lord Brown is a great writer I love her style!!! Great read!!! Mar 15, J. Ewbank rated it really liked it. This book by Kate Lord Brown is a very interesting book. Varian Fry, an American is tasked with getting artists out of the dangers and to America. This story is basically about him and one of those he got out. A journalist is on the story because she believes there is more to the artists story than is presently known, and she is right, but because of This book by Kate Lord Brown is a very interesting book. A journalist is on the story because she believes there is more to the artists story than is presently known, and she is right, but because of circumstances will she publish it?

Well conceived. Mar 31, Ellen rated it really liked it. When fiction interweaves with non-fiction, the result is an absorbing read. Based on the life of Varian Fry and his efforts with the American Relief Center in Marseilles in the early 's, the author tells the story of artists helped to escape the Gestapo. Gabriel Lambert is the fictional protagonist, remembering his past while living out his old age in Montauk in I really liked the historical parts of the book but Gabriel was a hard character to warm up to. Varian, Mary Jayne and the ot When fiction interweaves with non-fiction, the result is an absorbing read.

Varian, Mary Jayne and the other heroes carried the story for me. This was a Netgalley offering. Feb 25, Kristal rated it it was amazing. I received this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway and it was absolutely breathtaking. You can't help but enjoy Varian, Mary Jayne, Mariam, and other members of the ARC as they work for not only their freedom but that of many others.

And what a pleasant surprise when reading the author's notes to find out how much of this story rings true! So many unexpected twists and a beautiful ending for all. Thanks St. Martin's Press and netgalley for this ARC. Surprising ending that will leave you laughing and make the whole book as surreal as the awesome bunch of artists in this unique novel. So much of this book seems like fiction but it's based on true events and that makes it even more awesome.

Oct 07, Kate rated it it was amazing. This book knocked my socks off. A beautiful love story and I also learned so much-I had no idea who Varian Fry washow is that possible? So-a love story, a little mystery, WWII, artists-who could ask for more? Mar 23, Chantale Canadian Book Addict rated it liked it. I wasn't expecting to really like this book but I am happy to say that I did. It isn't one I just couldn't put down but it was very nicely written that I am glad I took my time to read this book.

I do recommend this book. Mar 16, Beth Olson shultz rated it really liked it. I loved Gabriel. A book to read slowly. I received this book from Goodreads giveaway. Apr 07, Roxanne rated it liked it. I had high hopes for this book, but all I can give it is 3 stars. I enjoyed the storyline and characters.

It transported me back to France and the war efforts. I was caught up til the last page. This book was nothing like I expected it to be. I thought it would be a sweet ish love story but nope. I was pleasantly surprised. The story is about Varian Fry and all he did for the effort of setting people out of a France during WW2.

You get to meet a band of his colleagues and clients as well. Not all of them but a few. The trials they must go through in order to obtain visas, passports, identification papers. Whether Jew or not. It is amazing to me how quickly a day can change in this This book was nothing like I expected it to be. It is amazing to me how quickly a day can change in this line of work and how he never gave up and took it upon himself to save everyone he could. Whether getting them out the country, prison or gestapos.

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