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The House on Seventh Street by Karen Vorbeck Williams with Interview

The House on Seventh Street by Karen Vorbeck Williams with InterviewThe House on Seventh Street by Karen Vorbeck Williams
Published by Booktrope Editions on September 1st 2015
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 302
Format: Mobi
Source: Publicist

I received this book for free from Publicist in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Winna returns to her father’s last residence, an 87-year-old mansion in her Colorado hometown, to settle his estate and sell the house her grandfather built. As Winna shares memories with her married daughter, reconciles with her disinherited sister Chloe, and becomes reacquainted with old classmates, the old house gives up its secrets. A handwritten will, old love letters, an unfinished story in a notebook, and a diamond ring hidden among her childhood marbles, call into question everything Winna knows about her beloved grandmother. Then come footsteps on the stairs, numerous break-ins, her car’s brake failure on a mountain road, a fall down the basement stairs. Someone is trying to kill Winna. She can’t begin to think it is her sister or Todd, Chloe’s handsome new husband. Could it be her high school boyfriend John or the local handyman she’s hired? Genre: Literary Fiction/Mystery

Author Interview – 

1) What was your inspiration for House on Seventh Street?

It is, to some extent, inspired by my family, but I’ve FICTIONALIZED it. The stories I tell are only the skeletons of my family stories. I’ve taken the characters and events and exaggerated or changed them to make a better story.

The Nancy Drew stories I read as a kid were another inspiration. I decided to use the iconic images Carolyn Keene used to tell her stories. I knew my book was going to be a grown-up story with subjects never explored in Nancy Drew mysteries. But I wanted to capture that old trunk in the attic, the packet of saved letters wrapped with a gold cord, the footsteps on the stairs in the dark of night and the way the crime is solved and the perp revealed.

2) Did Genealogy interest you. Have you done genealogy on your own family?

How did you guess? When I was in my twenties I asked both of my grandmothers to answer questions about their histories. I had typed out the questions with spaces for them to fill in. Both knew information all the way back to their great-grandparents—even birth and death dates—so that got me back to the early 1800s.

3) I loved how you weaved Winna in an out of the two time-lines. Was it hard
to keep the two times straight?

First I worried about the reader, hoping I had given them enough information in the chapter headings to understand where each chapter was taking them. But, as far me finding it hard, it was not. I was really steeped in my grandmother’s life because she was a vivid storyteller. I was there for the rest. Winna’s life was set in the same time period as my own. I even gave her the same birth year.

4) What is your go to writing snack?

Ha! Right now I’m looking at the crumbs on my keyboard. Coffee, of course, but, I am ashamed to say, too often I eat breakfast and lunch while I’m at the computer. That’s because I get hungry at the very moment I have a “brilliant” idea or am under the illusion that I will get one soon.

5) Do you have any plans for upcoming books?

I’m working on two things right now. One is a collection of short stories and another historical novel set in 17th century New England. Other than my own era the 17th century seems to hold a fascination for me. To me it is a time like landing on the moon. Only those Europeans coming to the New World set up camp and made the “moon” their home. Nothing was going to stop them.

6)The House on Seventh Street ends with an epilogue describing a mysterious event discussed often throughout the book. It’s a surprise ending. None of the characters in the book know what really happened—only the readers. Why did you write it that way?

We do not, nor will we ever truly know, the people who raised us—not our parents, and especially not our grandparents. Their secrets die with them and our memories are often ephemeral. However, the objects we live with—the grandfather clock, grandma’s engagement ring, the family house—remain solid and real. After our deaths no one, especially our children, will truly know who we were. They will know only what we let them know and what they experienced and misremember or who they “dreamed” we were. I wanted to illustrate that premise by ending the book that way.

The Review – 

In an Oyster Shell – This is a very intricate story of multi-generations, and how they all interact. I think people interested in family history would love this book.
The Pearls – The writing of this book was very intricate. There was no detail unturned by this author. It showed great talent in her writing.
I really liked the MC Winna though she is old enough to be my mother she had a good balance of being independent and matronly. I liked that the author through in a little romance. I always like reflective stories.
It is not often I come across a character that is as complex as Juliana. Her story from beginning to end, was absolutely unpredictable. I am impressed with her character development.
The Sand – Sometimes something’s strengths can also be its weakness. The author was intense on every detail I found it overwhelming at times. I also felt like there were too many sub-plots going on all at once, it was a lot to keep up with.
I give this 3.5 Pearls
3.5 Stars

About Karen Vorbeck Williams

Karen Vorbeck Williams is Author of My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton, a historical novvel based on the life of her eleventh great-grandmother, who was accused of witchcraft in 1675.  She is a prize-winning photographer and Master Gardener living in Rumford, Rhode Island.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • aimee September 23, 2015, 2:23 pm

    Thank you Jessica for your lovely review!! Even I loved reading Karen’s answers on her interview!! :)

    • Jessica September 25, 2015, 8:10 am

      Thanks for getting a hold of me, it was fun!

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