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My 4 year old daughter pulled Dream House by Valerie Laken off the shelf at the library and said I should read it. Turns out, she discovered a good book!
I was initially interested in Dream House because it’s set in Ann Arbor, MI, where I attended college at the University of Michigan. It was fun to read about locations and streets I know so well.
But beyond that, this was a good book. The book opens with Jay, who works at a company that cleans, among other things, crime scenes. Jay is called to a house on a quiet street in Ann Arbor where a murder takes place.
The story fast forwards years to tell the story of Kate and Stuart, a married couple who have hit a rocky patch. Kate’s father gives her money to buy a house, and when she settles on a dumpy house that had been parceled out into different rental properties, both her father and husband are upset.
The house, it turns out, is the house Jay had been called to years ago to clean up the crime scene.
After Kate buys the house, her life rapidly unravels. The only stable element in her life is her house, which she works devotedly to restore. When she finds out someone was murdered in the house, she works even harder to remove all traces of the way the house used to be.
Meanwhile, the murder, Walker, has been released from prison after 18 years. Walker fully, even proudly, admits to the murder because he was saving his mother from domestic abuse. However, he can’t let go of the past and continues to sit outside his house (now Kate’s). Eventually, he carefully maneuvers his way into her life.
That is when the story becomes truly interesting.
I won’t say any more for fear of giving the story away. This story is about people and the mistakes they make as well as how they recover from these mistakes.
4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.