Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

Title: Three Story House   
Author: Courtney Miller Santo    
Published: August 2014, William Morrow & Co  
Format: ARC Paperback, 416 pages    
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours  

Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel from the author of The Roots of the Olive Tree that is reminiscent of The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kristin Hannah’s novels.

Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi.

As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins.

Told in three parts from the perspective of each of the women, this sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite, but filled with memories of love is also an account of friendship and how relying on each other’s insights and strengths provides the women a way to get what they need instead of what they want.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Courtney Miller Santo and I really enjoyed it. I had heard great things about her first book, The Roots of the Olive Tree, and have it on my ever-growing TBR list, but just haven't gotten around to reading it, so of course, I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the blog tour for her latest book and I'm so happy I did.

Divided into three parts, with each cousin telling one part, the book follows the three girls as they not only come back to Spite House to help Lizzie get the house up to code and prevent it from falling into auction, but they each undergo their own renovation, if you will, having come to their own crossroads in life. As each cousin told their story, we would occasionally flash back to the past to fill in necessary information, giving us the full picture. 

I loved the interactions between the characters. It felt so realistic - these girls were cousins, yet had a bond so deep it was almost like they were siblings. They would argue one day, yet have each others backs the next day. They were the perfect support system for each other, especially when it came to their families. But, these characters are by no means perfect - they are flawed. They make mistakes and need to figure out how to move past them or how to fix them. I love characters like that - they are so much more relatable and realistic. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing swept me away and I found myself devouring the book.  As the girls worked to rehab the house, uncovering layers of problems, they also uncovered hidden secrets that seemed to bring them even closer to together. 

I had never heard of Spite Houses before reading this story. In the back of the book, Courtney tells a brief history of Spite Houses and now I'm curious to know if there are any in my area. I'll definitely be doing a little research to check on where some are! I love when an author's imagination is sparked by something that they hear about from an ordinary conversation. She also includes a brief short beginning to Three Story House...

I can't wait to go back and read Courtney's first novel and will certainly be keeping an eye out to see what comes next from this author!

About the author: Courtney Miller Santo teaches creative writing to college students and lives in Memphis with her husband, two children, and retired racing greyhound.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   


To see who else is participating in Courtney Miller Santo's Three Story House tour, click here




  1. I am very excited to see this book is enjoyable and worth the read.

    Her first book is so good. This book is up in my queue in about two books.

    THANKS so much for sharing your thoughts and wonderful review.


  2. I've got this one waiting for me....great review!

  3. Definitely putting this on my want list. If you liked it I believe I will to.

  4. I have never heard of Sprite Houses before and I'm curious to know more now!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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