The History of Us
Eloise Hempel could not wait to leave Cincinnati. She was successful in her pursuits and landed a job teaching at Harvard. Quite an accomplishment for a 28 year old. Her world falls apart with one phone call. The call, from her eleven year old niece, lets her know that her only sister and her husband have been killed in an accident. Eloise returns to Cincinnati to care for the children ages 2, 7 and 11 since her mother is unwilling/unable to do so.
Fast forward 17 years. All three children are now grown and Eloise, who has remained in Cincinnati out of obligation is ready to dump the historical family home and get on with her life. Of course life is not that easy. Her mother won’t sign the house over so she can sell it and the young adults do not want to move out. Eloise feels her life has been wasted in this city and feels the kids need to go elsewhere and have careers and lives. As the struggle plays out Eloise begins to reflect on if the sacrifice she made was worth it.
I felt the book was well written and explored the difficulty in family relationships and the expectations we have for each other.
From the critically acclaimed author of The Myth of You and Me, The History of Us is a heartrending story of love, loss, family, and the life you make in the path not taken.
Sometimes home is the hardest place to go
Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach her first class at Harvard when she receives the devastating news that her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident. Eloise leaves her life in Cambridge and moves back into her family’s century-old house in Cincinnati, pouring her own money into the house’s upkeep and her heart into raising her sister’s three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire.
Nearly twenty years later, the now-grown children seem ready to leave home, and Eloise plans to sell the house and finally start a life that’s hers alone. But when Eloise’s mother decides that they should all compete for the chance to keep the house and Claire reveals a life-changing secret, the makeshift family begins to fall apart and ultimately must decide what in life is worth fighting for.