Alba is wandering around Cambridge England. Her love life is not going well, and she is having problems with her academic career. She might even be facing an abrupt end to her studies. She is naturally distressed, and does not know what to do. While wandering, she finds herself in front of number 11 Hope Street. An older lady named Peggy invites her to stay on the condition she turns her life around in ninety-nine days. Alba decides with the way her life is going, why not? The house is not a regular one. Alba discovers through talking pictures on the wall famous people such as: Beatrix Potter and George Eliot have stayed there when they needed help too. Alba hopes if they could find help in this house, perhaps she will as well.
I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads Program*. I found the synopsis of the book really intriguing. A magical house inhabited by an older woman using mysterious forces to help people who have lost hope discover it again. Combined with a lot of literary references along the way, what's not to love? I was very curious to learn more about this world. It sadly did not meet my expectations. The plot was very slow, which is not necessarily bad, but it was so slow nothing ever happened.
It was difficult to identify with any of the characters beyond the love of books Alba displays. It seemed to be a rushed hodgepodge of hopeless people, with things suddenly turning out alright in the end. I did not really get to know any of the characters. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if there had been more focus on the house and how it helped people, and with more emphasis on the magical portion of the story.
I thought there was a lot of potential for this book, but it did not follow through. I would recommend reading a different book.
*Winning a copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.