Mia Gladwell’s life is going nowhere. The media has skewered her debut novel, her fiancé Carson, a successful Hollywood producer, has jumped ship, and now she’s living in her sister’s carriage house―unattached, unemployed, and uninspired. Then she learns that the Los Angeles estate of iconic author Ray Bradbury is up for sale, and she feels an immediate urge to buy the wonky old house, convinced that moving into the late author’s home will inspire her to create her best work yet.
Life in the Bradbury house is not what Mia imagined, however. Soon after moving in, to fulfill a debt she owes to Carson, she agrees to take in a pill-popping young actress as a tenant, and suddenly she finds herself in a balancing act between her needy ex, an unpredictable starlet, and her disapproving sister, who’s keeping a close eye on her. Add to this a series of mysterious sketches left at her doorstep by a stranger, and Mia’s life is more complicated than ever. As she searches for clues, though, Mia discovers insights into her own life. Maybe moving into Bradbury’s house was a big mistake―but maybe not.
I will start this post by saying I had never heard of Ray Bradbury in my life – I know – shame on me, right? I have an excuse – I’m not a big reader of American fantasy, science fiction, horror or mystery fiction at all, and that’s what he’s about. When I searched him on Wikipedia, I saw he was famous for a book called The Martian Chronicles and I know that I’ve seen that somewhere – the library, the internet, I’m just not sure.
Anyway, about this book: The main character of this story is Mia Gladwell. She’s in a bit of a funk trying to come to terms with the fact that she feels that she’s got some serious failures in her life both professionally and personally. She’s determined to make a fresh start and try to find something to jumpstart her life, so when the home of famous author, Ray Bradbury goes on the market and becomes available to purchase, Mia borrows money from Carson, her ex-fiancé to buy it.
Of course the money comes with a condition – Carson is in need of a place to live for his star teenaged actress fresh out of rehab. Sounds easy for about a second. When Zoe moves in, she’s seems quiet and dark and Mia isn’t quite sure how to handle it, having never had children of her own. Her sister has lots to say about everything in a very negative way and things get pretty messy before they get better.
I love how the author tied the history of the home to the story without making it the actual story. I felt that the story moved along at a very nice fast (but not too fast) pace keeping readers very attentive to the characters and their perspectives. The notes and the pictures on the door and the whole story line there was great – it was subtle but ongoing and kept us wondering whether it would be sinister or crazy. Without a spoiler, it didn’t turn out to be either of those, but something else entirely.
It was great to see the story move through the repair and restoration of her broken relationship with her sister despite the horrible event of Thanksgiving. As Mia was able to get stronger and find herself and her own voice, it seemed her sister also began to listen. I don’t have a sister but I could imagine how awful I would feel if I felt like my sister was against me.
Overall, this book makes for a fantastic summer read! I read it in two days and the story kept me engaged cover to cover! Since this is her first novel and I loved it, so I’ll surely be on the lookout for Ms. Meier’s next book!
Nicole Meier is a native Southern Californian who pulled up roots and moved to the Pacific Northwest. She works as a freelance travel and lifestyle writer. She lives in Oregon with her family. The House of Bradbury is her first novel.
Keep checking out BookSparks’ Summer Reading Challenge 2016! There are so many more books you’ll want to put into your beach bag! This is going to be the “best summer ever.” #SRC2016 #BestSummerEver #BestSRCEver!
I received a complimentary hardbound copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks as part of the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.