House of Miracles

Fiction - Womens
218 Pages
Reviewed on 11/19/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ulrica Hume is an award-winning writer. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Examiner, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Bloomsbury Review, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. An Uncertain Age, her debut novel, was longlisted for a Northern California Book Award and selected as a literary fiction finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. House of Miracles, her collection of interrelated tales about love, was a finalist for the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship; the title story was selected by the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project and broadcast on National Public Radio.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite

Anyone picking up Ulrica Hume's latest book, House of Miracles, is in for a treat. The author chooses to focus on three major characters and interweave them through the lives of others, as well as the limitations of time and place. We meet Janet, an indecisive woman with an ugly past. There is Jack, Janet's sometimes boyfriend who seems to lack a direction in life. Lastly, there is Mrs. von Meurs who is filled with eccentricities, life experience, and wisdom. There are many lessons contained in the book, the most prominent of which might be that negative and noxious life events may simply be the difficult gifts offered by life so that the desired consequences can be even more deeply appreciated. This is a no-nonsense book, rich with joy and sadness. At times, it reads like a work of prose. The simplicity of many of the author's statements must be consumed and digested so that the full depth of the story is revealed to the reader.

Although most readers would conclude that Hume's writing is earthy, there is also a nearly ethereal quality at times. House of Miracles is a seemingly simple and yet poignant story of life, love, and taking chances on personal need and personal growth. Sometimes, you know you are at the right place and the time is ripe to act. Sometimes, you just understand the person you are with is one with whom you could share a lifetime of memories. Sometimes, you simply comprehend that love is such a personal preference that no definition or explanation can steer you in the right direction. And yes, this book makes you think about all those things - and so much more!


I loved this book. I read it some time after reading Ms. Hume's earlier book, the extraordinarily complex, incredibly well-researched, fascinating literary tome, An Uncertain Age. That book was a pure joy to read, took me quite a while to digest, and made me constantly think, turning over thoughts in my head about what she'd said. A magnificent book. Now, this book, House of Miracles, is gossamer-light, in comparison...or is it? I read it much faster; indeed, I couldn't put it down, but when I'd finished it, it, too, made me think. What is love? The question every single person comes up against in life. How are our lives meant to be lived? What is important? What does it all mean? Ms. Hume has a delicate touch, but she "gets to you," "gets to you deeply," thereby forcing you to question, and I really liked how she does that in this book. I got completely wrapped up in her characters. With every seemingly separate story I quickly found myself searching for a connection. When would one of "my" friends now, "my" characters, show up in this particular story I was on? How would their story connect to an earlier story? The writer is very clever at this sort of thing, entwining lives and characters, making it all make sense in the end, but making you ponder on it all. I found myself sighing when I put it down; it had touched me deeply. Janet, Jack, Mrs. von Meurs. They seem simple-enough characters, but...who are they deep down? Why that couple's connection to Mrs. von Meurs? It's a book full of stories but also a book unto itself. And the writer's way with words! The very first line in the first story (Poppies): "I was born upside down, the umbilical cord looped twice around my neck." Okay, she'd roped me in immediately; I had to uncover how this was going to affect this character. Who is this character? And later on in the book: "...he raised the film to the sun, setting free all the images." Butterflies. Goose-bumps for me. See what a gossamer touch the author has. Well done, Ms. Hume!