The House on Fortune Street

Margot Livesey
Feb 2, 2016

The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey is a beautifully written novel that explores the lives of four interconnected characters, each with a very different perspective on taking control of their fate versus succumbing to what luck (or misfortune) has to throw at them. 

Sean wants to finish his dissertation on Keats but abandons it to write a commercially commissioned book on euthanasia with his old friend Valentine. His life is disrupted even more when an anonymous letter hints that his girlfriend, Abigail, might be having an affair with Valentine. 

Cameron wants to repair the relationship with his daughter, Dara, that was critically damaged when his wife threw him out twenty years before. Dara longs to know what happened and believes their relationship can't be repaired until she does, but Cameron knows just as certainly that she will not want a relationship with him at all if he ever tells her the truth.

Dara wants a permanent life with her boyfriend Edward, but is shocked when--despite all of the promises that he's made her--he tells her that he still lives with his ex-girlfriend because he can't bear to leave behind his daughter. A chance meeting on the street reveals that he might be hiding even more from her. 

Due to all the upheaval and instability in her childhood, Abigail is now the epitome of independence and self-sufficiency. Although she loves Sean, she doesn't understand why other people (like her best friend, Dara) allow their relationships to limit their choices and tie them down. 

Though the novel might seem light on plot, it's rich in psychological insights. Through the four interwoven tales, we see each of the main characters from a variety of angles and gradually come to understand more about what is important to them, and what motivates them. Readers may also enjoy The Rest of Us by Jessica Lott, Life Drawing by Robin Black, and The Water Children by Anne Berry. 

Written by Heather B.

Pumpkin toadlets can jump, but they cannot control their landings.