House of Fragile Dreams

Fiction - Social Issues
212 Pages
Reviewed on 07/20/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

Anne Moose opens House of Fragile Dreams with a brief chapter in which the protagonist, Rachel, is sitting in a police interrogation room, desperate to talk to someone to ‘explain her actions’. We get well into the story before we learn why she was there, but Moose had me hooked right from the opening sentence. I couldn’t put the book down. The story is told in the first person, with Rachel as the narrator. She quickly wins the reader’s empathy as we learn that she is struggling to recover from a divorce and a tragic loss. Her chance meeting with an African-American veteran, Nate, who is raising an adorable five-year-old son, stirs Rachel’s hope for a new beginning.

Rachel inherited the beautiful ‘House of Fragile Dreams’ from her mother and an African-American step-father, William, who was her guide and mentor. Even after his death, William’s ghost is a constant companion and wise adviser. But Rachel’s much older brother, Dan, didn’t adjust well to their mother’s remarriage and grew to be a deeply troubled man. He presents serious problems for Rachel, who can’t bring herself to abandon him. His actions and Rachel’s own ill-advised choices in response put her new relationship with Nate at grave risk. But Rachel eventually learns that it was much more than her relationship she put at risk for Dan.

In House of Fragile Dreams, Anne Moose explores issues of love, grief, racial hate, social division, and violent white supremacy. It’s a love story, but one filled with suspense. It is also a deeply thought-provoking work that tackles some difficult issues in a sensitive and compassionate way. I loved this story. I have no hesitation in rating it five stars and giving it the highest recommendation. I will look for more works by this very talented author.

Viga Boland

There are so many good things one can say about Anne Moose’s House of Fragile Dreams that I almost don’t know where to start. When I think of the characters, the plotline, the underlying themes, and the author’s writing style, all areas register as 5 stars for me. If you’re a woman, how you would feel if you and an unknown man step into an elevator, start your ascent or descent, and suddenly the power goes out…and not just for a few minutes. In the pitch black, you discover neither of you has a cell phone. Your dual calls for help go unanswered, and one of you desperately needs (not really funny) a toilet? A great way to get readers turning pages, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, the protagonist, Rachel, and her elevator companion, Nate, are eventually freed, but in the ensuing days, while their lives become romantically entwined, they also become frighteningly complicated thanks to Rachel’s loathsome, slightly deranged brother. His domestic terrorist involvement ultimately gets Rachel arrested as she tries to explain a large cache of military-grade guns in her car trunk. She is innocent, but how can she prove it? And what will become of her recently burgeoning relationship with Nate now? Talk about an exciting plot with unexpected twists!

While the plot is gripping, it’s the characters themselves that steal our hearts. Anne Moose has done a stellar job of making Rachel and Nate realistic. Hearing their words, watching their actions, knowing what they are thinking, and seeing ourselves in their insecurities endears them to us. Then, on top of all those pluses for this novel is how, through the plot and characters, we can sense the author’s own misgivings and concerns about the important issues dominating today’s news: white supremacists, racial profiling, and basic human rights to name a few. So, all up, if you’re looking for a read that checks all the boxes for excellence, read House of Fragile Dreams. Wonderful!

Grant Leishman

House of Fragile Dreams by Anne Moose is a bitter-sweet story of second chances and rediscovering life after a tragedy. After her parents passed away, Rachel bought the other half of their childhood home from her estranged brother, Dan. Recovering from her divorce and the death of her parents, she lives there alone. When Rachel meets Nate, an African-American veteran, and his lovely five-year-old son, Isaiah, the attraction between the pair is instantaneous. Rachel dreams of a meaningful future together. The surprise reappearance of her brother puts everything she is building for herself at risk. Somehow Rachel must balance her perceived obligation to her brother with her desire for a future free of his spiteful and menacing behavior. She must walk a fine line and balance some dangerous options along the way.

House of Fragile Dreams is a social depiction of some of the deep fractures and schisms currently dividing American society. Author Anne Moose uses this story to highlight racial equality and inter-racial relationships. A more inclusive and representative community is a cherished concept facing increased threat and danger within our current society. The rise of white supremacy and the freedom of those who advocate such views has, recently, opened a divide that has propelled America back to discrimination and prejudice. At its heart, though, this story is a romantic love story about two fragile human beings, both wounded physically and emotionally, who find a chance to start again and rebuild their lives. I particularly loved how both Rachel and Nate were flawed and broken. But both saw they could piece parts of their lives back together and provide a loving, safe and healthy environment for little Isaiah. I despaired, at times, at some of Rachel’s poor decision-making, and yet her character was a reflection of both her mother and her beloved step-father. These aspects made her more endearing and identifiable as a character. I highly recommend this charming and exciting tale of love and morality.

Pikasho Deka

House of Fragile Dreams by Anne Moose is a thought-provoking drama novel about an independent woman caught amid events far beyond her control. Rachel Hayes is a successful writer recovering from a failed marriage and her parents' deaths in her family home in Long Beach, California. A chance encounter in an elevator with an African American man named Nate leads to a burgeoning relationship between the two. Nate is a mechanic trying to provide a good life to his five-year-old son Isaiah but feels traumatized by his two tours in Afghanistan that left him with a lifelong injury. Rachel dreams of a happy life with Nate and Isaiah, but things get complicated with her brother Dan whose arrival turns her life upside down, throwing her into the midst of a dangerous white supremacist conspiracy.

House of Fragile Dreams is an insightful exploration of how radical ideologies split families apart, brainwashing gullible people into becoming messengers of hate. Author Anne Moose's masterful portrayal of the impact of terrorist organizations on innocent lives feels authentic, with plenty of parallels to real-life events. The characters have subtleties and depths that give them a realistic quality. Rachel's complicated relationship with her brother and Nate's PTSD makes them relatable, and I found their relationship one of the primary highlights of the book. There are also some twists and turns in the plot that you never see coming, creating an unpredictable yet satisfying ending. If you enjoy well-written drama novels that explore relevant social issues, House of Fragile Dreams is the book for you.

Deborah Lloyd

When Rachel and Nate found themselves stuck in an elevator, neither had any idea how much their lives were about to change. Rachel, a divorced white woman, lived alone in her parents’ home. She was still grieving over the deaths of her mother and stepfather, as well as the end of her marriage. She only wanted a peaceful, happy life. Nate was an African-American man who lived with his mother and five-year-old son. Rachel's life became more complicated when her demanding, angry brother reappeared after a lengthy absence. She discovered he might be involved in a dangerous endeavor, placing her in a threatening situation. It also had strong adverse effects on her relationship with Nate. In House of Fragile Dreams, crafted by Anne Moose, a compelling story unfolds.

The plot is reflective of present-day problems such as white supremacy, racism, social injustice, and violence. How these issues affected these families in California is eye-opening; white supremacy does not exist only in certain regions of the country. The author has skillfully addressed these major concerns within the context of a romantic story, revealing how these struggles can affect personal lives. Another fascinating feature is Rachel's ongoing communication with her loving stepfather who continued to provide parental guidance during difficult times. There are many exciting moments and unexpected twists and turns throughout the book. Author Anne Moose has penned a page-turning novel in House of Fragile Dreams. It is an exceptional, unforgettable read, providing many thought-provoking moments.