The Muir House was sent to me by Zondervan Publishers as a review copy. It is by Mary DeMuth and takes place in the small but growing town of Rockwall, Texas. Willa Muir, recently of Seattle and fleeing a proposal from her boyfriend, returns to her hometown of Rockwall amid some interesting circumstances.
The house Willa grew up in is being turned from a funeral parlor into a bed and breakfast by the caretaker. Willa’s father passed away several years ago, and Willa’s mother is currently in a nursing facility where she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. The main reason for Willa’s return, however, is to once and for all find out the truth of her childhood.
An old friend, an old boyfriend, and a surprising new friend all play a role in Willa’s search to find home.
Let me say first that I enjoyed the setting for this book. The town of Rockwall was small (everyone knew what everyone else was up to) and Southern (…mmm…sweet tea…) without being over-the-top. I have never lived in Texas, but I have lived in the South, and I appreciated the author’s honest portrayal of small town Southern life without it being too stereotypical.
I also enjoyed many of the characters in this novel. Willa’s Seattle boyfriend, Hale, was fun, quirky, and outspoken about his love for Jesus. The other supporting characters in the book were very interesting, as well.
My excitement over the supporting characters, I think, is what made the rest of the novel somewhat uninteresting for me. While the other characters were good, I found the main character, Willa, to be one-dimensional. She was so obsessed with finding out what happened in her past, that she was not living her life in the present. However, maybe that was what the author was trying to portray: how being consumed by one (possibly bad) thing can take your entire focus away from what can truly bring you joy in life. Even though this might be true, Willa’s voice in the novel was still depressing, and she was constantly switching her feelings back and forth about her ‘boyfriends,’ which for me just got old after a while. I just thought the endless back and forth plus the constant whining from Willa was boring.
Luckily, the ending of this book, I thought, was pretty good. I enjoyed the author’s portrayal of forgiveness and also of the true meaning of home.
Overall, I thought The Muir House had a plot that was a little too drawn-out but that was redeemed somewhat by the setting and the secondary characters.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”