I am writing to introduce my novel, House Dreams, for your consideration.
House Dreams is a work of women’s fiction about mothers and daughters, and about the sometimes destructive power of the imagination.
The main character, Lillian, is a home health aide who has built her career around choosing assignments that allow her to live briefly in the houses of people much wealthier than herself. Her devotion is lavished on the houses she can pretend are hers for the duration of her stay, while her care for her patients is chilly and efficient.
As the novel opens, Lillian arrives at a new house, inhabited by a demanding, bed-ridden elderly woman, Ellen Whitmore. But this house is different: from the moment she arrives, Lillian finds the house and everything in it strangely familiar. As the days go by, she is drawn deeper into her fantasy of possessing the house.
The arrival of Ellen’s daughter and teenage granddaughter is an unwelcome interruption for Lillian. Ellen and her daughter, Carlotta, have been estranged since Carlotta’s marriage, and Ellen has never met her granddaughter, Maggie. Carlotta’s relationship with Ellen remains remote but Maggie is entranced by her grandmother’s stories of her youth. Maggie also tries to befriend Lillian, although Lillian is irritated by Maggie’s mannerisms, intrusiveness and aura of privilege.
Life for the four women settles into a routine of fragile alliances until a sudden crisis in Ellen’s health forces Lillian to realize that the imaginary home and family she has built for herself are necessarily impermanent: Ellen is failing, and Carlotta and Maggie will be leaving in time for Maggie to start school in the fall. Lillian will have to return to her life of brief sojourns in other people’s houses.
Carlotta and Ellen have several confrontations about Carlotta’s marriage and about Carlotta’s unhappy childhood. As her relationship with Carlotta deteriorates, Ellen starts to hint that she may leave the house to Lillian. Ellen is hoping for Lillian’s attention and loyalty, but that temptation, and her passion for the house, lead Lillian down a very different, and dangerous, path.
House Dreams is my first novel. Portions of my first book, a short story collection, have appeared in Kalliope and PMS, and in the anthology Prompted. I have had other short fiction published on line. I am currently at work on my second novel.