Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

Three cousins with birthdays all on the same day have grown up and found that at 28, life is not what they thought it would be.  Lizzie is a soccer star with dreams of the Olympics until she badly injures her leg.  Elyse has started a variety of careers, but can’t seem to find success in either life or love.  Isobel was a famous child actress, but has not been able to find much success as an adult.  All three cousins get together in Lizzie’s hometown of Memphis to help her to restore her Grandmother’s house, the three story Spite house.  

The novel explores the restoration of not only the house but of the three women’s lives.  The book is split into three sections as in the “three story” house with each woman getting a turn as the narrator of the story.  I enjoyed this unique take on the tale.
I will admit that it took me a bit of time to immerse myself in the novel.  I felt it was rather jumpy at the beginning. For instance Lizzie would get ready to go on a date with TJ (yeah she is dating!) and then it would suddenly skip to a few days later.  My greatest annoyance with the skipping was the Lizzie learned a shocking secret about her family and then it didn’t give the reader any details.  I was fascinated as the book ended though that in the extras in the back of the novel was included a short story that was the basis of the book.  The short story about the construction of the Spite House and Lizzie’s grandparents gave the back story that I was so yearning for and answered all of my questions.  I was glad it was included.

As the book continued, I found myself more and more immersed in the story of the characters and wanting to know how it would end.  Santo created wonderful characters and a wonderful story for each of the characters.  I wish it could have continued on, but I was happy with the extras included in the back especially the short story about Lizzie’s grandparents.  The acknowledgements and book club questions were wonderful as well.

Overall Three Story House was a wonderful character story as well as a great story of a house, its history, and its restoration.

Book Source:  Review copy from William Morrow – Thanks!


  1. Quite a few books seem to have a house as a forceful and pivotal part of a story.

  2. Terrific review! The three stories of the house relate to the three stories of the characters--this sounds interesting, Laura!

  3. This one sounds different as a book. I enjoyed reading your honest review.