The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
Abigail and Dara became friends in University. Now they are both living in a house on Fortune Street in London that Abigail purchased with an inheritance from her aunt. Abigail is an actress and theater manager living with her boyfriend Sean, who left his wife for her. Dara is a therapist living in the downstairs flat, hoping that her boyfriend Edward will be able to move in with her sooner rather than later.
Both girls have some serious issues, particularly around men, eventually resulting in tragedy. The story of the girls’ lives and the tragedy that ensued is told first through the perspective of Abigail’s boyfriend Sean, then of Dara’s father Cameron, and finally of Abigail. This was a fascinating method of telling Abigail and Dara’s stories. Sean and Cameron were really telling their own stories, through which we learn about Abigail and Dara through their interactions with whomever is narrating. This really confused me initially, since the back of the book says that it is about Abigail and Dara and Sean was telling me about his life. Eventually, though, I got into this style of telling the girls’ stories. Hearing the stories of important men in their lives gave me a greater understanding of where Abigail and Dara were coming from.
Although it took me some time to get into “The House on Fortune Street,” mostly because I wasn’t quite sure what Livesey was doing with Sean’s narration, I really enjoyed it. The psychological issues faced by the characters seemed authentic and made the book very interesting.
This would probably be best described as women’s fiction, but it is definitely smart and not the least bit saccharine. I liked it.