Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: House of Miracles by Ulrica Hume

Love is not effortless. Love fails. It causes pain. It fades into memory. It changes and fluctuates. Sometimes it's conditional. And sometimes it's not enough. But sometimes, despite all its flaws, it is forever. Ulrica Hume's collection of interrelated short stories, House of Miracles, examines love in all of these permutations.

Starting with an ensemble cast of seemingly unrelated characters, Hume eventually connects each of them through one of three characters whose relationship to each other and the others runs as a thread through all of the stories. Janet is a young woman living with her boyfriend, Jack, but having an affair with a co-worker and uncertain of the direction of her life and her heart. She is kind to her elderly neighbor Mrs. von Meurs, a woman at the end of her life who looks back on her experiences and her loves from a different perspective. Each of the short stories in the collection either adds another character or builds on Janet's, Jack's, or Mrs. von Meurs' past, slowly building each character and the reasons why they react to love the way that they do. The stories are full of heartbreak, sadness, and a poignancy for loves that don't end the way that movies do. There's a realism here, a quiet beauty in the writing, and an acknowledgment of the way in which the human heart continues to endure and strive for that forever love, whether it be between lovers or friends or family.

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of the book to review.

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