Author: Anjuelle Floyd
Divorce is final. Two people separate and decide what happens to their assets. Assets can include material things, houses, insurance polices and funds to care for their children and former spouse when all is said and done. Anna Manning has been waiting to finally her divorce from her husband Edward. The final meeting was amiable. The house they lived in was now hers and the papers were going to be finalized. Why was she suspicious of Edward’s change of heart? Why did he finally acquiesce and sign the papers? What was behind his change of mind? As you read my review of author Anjuelle Floyd’s outstanding and heartbreaking novel, The House, the answers to these and many other questions will be answered.
Many people measure their life’s worth by the material things they have and their value. People equate their status in a community by the cars they drive and the houses they live in. But, when tragedy strikes and your health is in jeopardy, all the treasures and jewels in the world cannot fix or pay for what you need in order to remain alive and live out your years in good health. One man and one woman who wanted the things we all do. One man who felt the way to provide for his wife and family was not with his time and presence but with a HOUSE= material things and a home that was truly just a shelter from the cold and not filled with love and warmth. So, why keep it and hold on to it?
Edward Manning was anything but a stellar husband. Frequently away on business trips, disregarding his marriage vows, he enjoyed the pleasures of other women while his wife Anna cared for and brought up their four children. Anna’s only desire and wish was to finalize their divorce, sell their home and move on with her life with another man. Inman really loves Anna and wants to create a new life for them. But, circumstances do not always allow you to get what you want; things happen that will change your life, and forgiveness and understanding come into play when you least expect them too.
Edward Manning has been dealt a bad hand. He has 6 months to live and is frustrated, angry and feels betrayed by his doctor. Unable to save his life and give him the time and years he so greatly desires, he pushed aside his words, disregards his wishes and lashes out at everyone in his wake. I really can’t blame him. Edward is no different from anyone who has been given the death sentence by a physician or has a family member given the same. I learned that doctors are not infallible; they definitely do not know everything. Most, if you are lucky can diagnose an illness; few can find a cure or fix the problem. Anna has a huge decision to make. After having her home signed over to her and her divorce papers signed, she rescinded having the house sold and tells her lawyer to forestall processing the final papers. Would you take care of a spouse that treated you poorly, was loved by his children, and sacrifice your own needs for a dying man? Author Anjuelle Floyd puts these questions to the test as we learn more about Anna and Edward and their past relationship and what will happen to both in the future.
The family drifting apart even further and many other tragedies added to this group of people with diverse attitude, personalities and opinions of their own. Added to this is the fact that Anna’s son David is married to someone out of his race and her daughter Serine seems torn between two men: both of different races. Anna is set in the middle of her daughter’s arrogance, feelings of neglect and disregard for her status in the family and her own personal conflicts dealing with Edward and the rest of her children. This makes for an intriguing and very eclectic plot. When Anna confides in her priest yet another perspective is given and things about herself, her true feelings are brought to light and now she must face many more emotional obstacles while caring for a husband who is dying but provided little or any emotional support for her in the past.
Edward was unfaithful to Anna throughout their marriage as her mother was to her father. Her children seem to follow in Edward’s image as Serine; the youngest is playing the same game with two men and her son’s wife with him. Edward spent his entire married life looking past what was in front of him, pretending to provide for his family, but money is not the only thing a wife needs. David, Theo, Anna all lacking the true love and commitment they signed on for when getting married. Trusting their spouses and having faith in their marriage was not in the cards for all three. Anna’s marriage turned into a mirror image of her parents. Millicent’s reasons for marry Theo the same as Anna’s for marrying Theo. Heather has drifted away from David. Four children that are different yet the same. Two very self-absorbed and into their own needs and wants. Two learning life’s lessons from following in other ways. Mirrored lives and mirrored images that were clear in the glass before and cloudy and tarnished over the years. What will the final outcome be after Edward is gone? What will the final images that are seen in that huge mirror look like when all is said and done? What about Inman, the one person who truly cares for Anna? What about Serine? So many lives changes because of one man. So many lives torn apart by blaming one woman who just needed love, caring and her husband’s attention. Children do not always see things like adults too no matter what their age might be. David, Serine, Linda and Theo each had their own vision, thoughts and opinions about Anna, who needed to rebuild her own self=worth and self=esteem to continue to fight to become the person she needed to become.
Anna has spent her entire life seeking the acceptance of others. Her mother cold and distant never really accepted her or her marriage to Edward. Edward, a carbon copy of her mother and Millicent’s dad, concerned themselves with their own superficial needs, work devoid of any real family commitments. Anna learned the rules of hard knocks from her mother and how to deal with love and marriage be becoming cold, distant and unfeeling. Anna escaped her life with her parents by marrying Edward and Millicent by marrying Theo. How far can you run and escape the truth about people and not face the realities?
Surprises and twists to this plot that you will never forget. One man whose life created much unhappiness, uncertainty and distress to his wife and children. One man whose dying wishes will astound and surprise the reader. One man who felt that one house was his life, his legacy and more. A house is not a home unless the people in it love and care for each other. You cannot make a home with bricks and mortar alone.
To appease Anna or to compensate for his guilt he turns over his company to her, which she reluctantly accepts. Undergoing to scrutiny of the shareholders and investors Anna learns more than a lesson in business acumen. As the meeting gets out of her control in walks Inman and things begin to change. What follows is not unusual when shareholders and stockholders uncertain about the qualifications of the new President and hasty moves are made.
Boxes kept two men in business. Boxes that can be tightly shut and taped so that their contents will not spill out when delivered. As the tape wears off and the edges of the boxes fray eventually you retape it or get a new box. Edward Manning’s life frayed at the end and the glue that kept him together withered from use and the true meaning of his life came full circle upon his death. With a mother who had to invent ways to stay afloat and a husband who was not there for her, Edward became a mirror image of something who truly was not: cold, distant and hurting. He spent his entire life searching to find his mother and then back to Anna. Unfortunately, some things are too late for words. One man whose family was holding on for dear life as the edges of the box frayed and began to fall apart. Rediscovery is vital and Anna with the help of one man learns the true meaning of forgiveness, loyalty and understanding. Sometimes what we think we see is a veiled truth that hides are true selves from others in order put up a protective shield preventing us from getting hurt. Like a vaccine that allows us to become immune from a disease lives journey needs its shots, its shields and its hugs and love too.
Take this journey along with Anna and her family and find out the true meaning The House. Some people live life dealing with work, their accomplishments and alone. Others like Anna, David, Serine, Theo, and Linda learn the true meaning of life and family.
Misconceptions, secrets revealed, lies that unfold and misunderstandings and a family that needs to heal their unseen wounds that will bind them together and make them stronger. This is a heartfelt, heartbreaking and enlightening novel that brings to mind what happens when people don’t listen, when voices are not heard and the strength of one woman to bring it all together. What happens to this family you will have to read for yourself? What happens to Manning Ventures and Anna you will learn as you turn each page shed your tears and allow this family to come into your life and remain with you even after you turn the last page and read the last word.
This is a must read for everyone who wants to learn the true mean of The House and the value of it contents.
Fran Lewis: reviewer