The House That Made Us by Alice Cavanagh | #bookreview #blogtour | @JulietStories @TeamBATC @SimonSchusterUK

I’m delighted to share my review of a book that has won a place on my Top Reads list for 2023 and whose characters won a place in my heart. The House That Made Us by Alice Cavanagh was a joy to read from start to finish and has given me the biggest book hangover!

About the book

One Day meets UpThe House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs and based on a true story
When Mac and Marie marry and find a home of their own, Mac takes a snap of themselves outside their newbuild bungalow, the garden bare and the paint on the front door still wet. It becomes a tradition, this snap, and slowly the photographs build into an album of a fifty-year partnership.
Every year they take a photo and though things change around them – the garden matures, the fashions change, they grow older – the one constant is their love. Every year, come rain, come shine, from the Seventies through the decades, every photo tells the story of their love.
Until the last photo, where the couple becomes one, and their story comes to an end…

My Thoughts

I’m not sure I’m going to be able to express how big an impression this book left on me. On the face of it, it’s the simple story of a newlywed young couple moving into their first home and starting a family which then follows them through the next fifty years or so. And yet for all it is a simple story, it’s a big beautiful story of love.

I absolutely adored Mac and Marie. Their strong and steadfast love for each was apparent on every page and their support for each other through the ups and downs of life was wonderful to read about. Alice Cavanagh wrote so beautifully about how they supported each other and how they always believed in each other. It reminded me very much of my own parents’ marriage. They were married in 1966 and together until my dad’s death in 2018. I was born in 1970, the year Mac and Marie got married, so a lot of the book was like a trip down memory lane.

Mac and Marie seemed so opposite to each other. She was loud and enthusiastic and loved bright colours. Yes, those Seventies brown and orange swirly carpets featured, as well as avocado bathroom suites! Mac was much more placid and not a fan of loud colours but quietly supported his wife’s choices anyway. Their families were so different as well. Marie came from an exuberant big Irish family whereas Mac was brought up by an aunt. What makes a family is a big theme in this book and what is shown to be so important isn’t necessarily blood ties but love.

And that’s the word that keep coming back to me when I think about this book – love. Love shines throughout the book and is shown in so many different ways. One of the characters says at one point that Mac didn’t need to say he loved someone, he showed it every day. This too reminded me of my dad. This was such an emotional read for me and would have me giggling on one page then with a big lump in my throat on another. I’m not ashamed to say that certain points had me in bits.

I can’t recommend The House That Made Us highly enough. It’s a tender, emotional and uplifting story of a family, a home and the love that fills it. Mac and Marie are wonderful characters and their compelling love story will remain with me for a long time.

There’s a lovely article on the Simon and Schuster website about the author and part of the inspiration for this book. It’s well worth a read:

Big thanks to Sara-Jade at Simon & Schuster for the invitation to take part in the blogtour and for sending a
copy of the book for review. The House That Made Us is available now in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

About the Author2

Alice Cavanagh was born in Fulham and still lives in London. She writes under a variety of names, including her real name, Bernadette Strachan, and as Juliet Ashton.

9 thoughts on “The House That Made Us by Alice Cavanagh | #bookreview #blogtour | @JulietStories @TeamBATC @SimonSchusterUK

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