28 January 2011

Book review in brief: House Arrest by Ellen Meeropol

This is an exciting blog post for me because it's the first time that somebody I currently work with has written a book. (I have a former coworker, Dayn Perry, who has written a few sports titles, and currently writes baseball news for Foxsports.com, but as I'm not sure I could read baseball books in their entirety and review them here, I just remember him with fondness from our good ol' days at Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, MS, and wish him well.)

House Arrest by Ellen Meeropol, published by Red Hen Press.  

On the surface, you would not think that Pippa and Emily have much in common--Pippa is a young, pregnant cult member from the Deep South, on trial for negligence concerning the accidental death of her infant; Emily is the reserved New England-born nurse charged with overseeing Pippa's pre-natal care. Beneath their facades, however, the reader gradually comes to realize a key similarity running soul-deep in both.  Orphaned either figuratively or literally, each woman is haunted by a childhood shaped by loneliness and guilt and left  on her own to grapple with the deeds (and misdeeds) of her parents. It's a testament to Meeropol's skill that the parallel stories of Emily and Pippa unfold layer by layer as their lives become inexorably more entwined with each other, holding the reader in thrall until the very end.

Ellen and I have worked together at the Odyssey Bookshop for four years, and I count it a great privilege that she gave me the book in manuscript form to read many long months ago.  When her advanced reading copies became available, I was first in line to get one inscribed (literally--it was the very first book she signed to anyone!).  It's been fun being along for the ride and sharing in her enthusiasm during the whole process, from getting the book contract to being interviewed and getting a starred review in Publisher's Weekly.  And just a few days ago on one of the book blogs I subscribe to, I read my first full online review, bringing the process full circle.  


  1. Cool! I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I hope more bloggers will be picking up House Arrest and reviewing it, and I wish Ms. Meeropol all the best!

  2. Very cool to have a book by someone you know. I saw this reviewed on another blog (I've lost track of which one) and they didn't know the author. I also talked to my local independent bookstore folks the other night at a party and they offered to let me raid their book of advanced copies. Yeah!

  3. Robyn, congrats on getting access to advance reading copies! Has the store asked you to write little blurbs or shelf talkers on new books that you borrow? I look forward to seeing what you'll review!


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