I recently read the The House With The Wraparound Porch by Mary Pay Hyland, a Finger Lakes-based author (@cailinAolain on Twitter). Despite quite an abundance of books (of all genres) written locally or by local authors, reading Finger Lakes-based books isn’t something I normally do. Reading in general is one of those things I love to do, but rarely set aside enough time to actually do it (maybe I’ll put that on my list of goals for 2014).
What do they say about judging a book by its cover? I happened to see a tweet by Mary Pat Hyland linking to her book on Amazon, and I recognized the house (217 E. Main St. in Penn Yan) on the cover. I drive by it every day, and (as I later tweeted to @cailinAolain) it’s on my list of homes I’d like to buy (it stole my heart with the Porte-cochère [I can’t pronounce that, I just copied and pasted from wikipedia] which isn’t even pictured on the cover. heart=broken.). The house was owned by Mary Pat’s grandparents, and much of the book was inspired by her time spent there.
This book paints a picture of a family and it’s history over a span of a handful of generations. It moves rather quickly and every time I thought I’d met the “main character”, the story fast forwarded a couple of decades. I didn’t like that at first, but it’s part of the story.
I almost didn’t read the whole book. I actually tweeted to the author at one point and she encouraged me to keep going (Is it just me, or is it awesome that you can tweet an author as you’re reading their book? Like, realtime?!).
But I did finish the book, and I really, really enjoyed it. It’s a great story (several stories, really), and since I’m a family history nerd myself, I loved that aspect of it.
My favorite thing, I will say, about the whole book, is that it feels real. There is no fluff, no unnecessary serendipitous, that-would-never-happen-in-real-life moments. If anything, there were parts that were too real. And it didn’t end with a happily-ever-after, it ended with real-life-ever-after. That’s how all books should be.
So once I had finished it, I emailed Mary Pat. I had some questions, but mostly I wanted that recipe for fried cakes. I got that, and answers to other questions too. I’m not going to spoil anything for you though! I’ll post the recipe here at some point when I have time to try it out, but I will tell you: flood brandy really happened.
So, if you are expecting to get a new kindle or gift card to amazon.com for Christmas, I recommend you buy this book. Or pop on down to your local book story and buy a paper copy.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and but the book, I get a small kick back.