Title: The Hoarder
Author: Jess Kidd
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd.
Date of Publication: 01 February 2018
Number of Pages: 352
Rating: 5 stars
Summary: Maud Drennan is a dedicated caregiver whose sunny disposition masks a deep sadness. A tragic childhood event left her haunted, in the company of a cast of prattling saints who pop in and out of her life like tourists. Other than visiting her agoraphobic neighbour, Maud keeps to herself, finding solace in her work and in her humble existence–until she meets Mr. Flood.
Cathal Flood is a menace by all accounts. The lone occupant of a Gothic mansion crawling with feral cats, he has been waging war against his son’s attempts to put him into an old-age home and sent his last caretaker running for the madhouse. But Maud is this impossible man’s last chance: if she can help him get the house in order, he just might be able to stay. So the unlikely pair begin to cooperate, bonding over their shared love of Irish folktales and mutual dislike of Mr. Flood’s overbearing son.
Still, shadows are growing in the cluttered corners of the mansion, hinting at buried family secrets, and reminding Maud that she doesn’t really know this man at all. When the forgotten case of a missing schoolgirl comes to light, she starts poking around, and a full-steam search for answers begins.
Packed with eccentric charms, twisted comedy, and a whole lot of heart, The Hoarder is a mesmerizing tale that examines the space between sin and sainthood, reminding us that often the most meaningful forgiveness that we can offer is to ourselves.
Review: The Hoarder sucks you into the narrative with the first sentence.
I will sometimes read the first few sentences of a new book just before I go to bed (dangerous I know) and most time I’m able to go, yep, this is going to be good, or no, think I’ll pass and put the book down. This time, I nearly made another cup of tea so that I could curl up on the couch and get started.
There’s a magic that flows out of The Hoarder. It swirls around you. You’re convinced what you’re reading must be based in fact and not coming from the brain of someone far smarter that you can ever hope to be. This is also helped by the believability of the characters; the strangeness of the house that Maud is sent to help clear; the mixed meanings of life and the metaphors that lead us into problems.
The use of Saints is also an intriguing inclusion. I did develop a soft spot for Saint Dymphna and Saint Valentine.
I loved every page of this book and I’m grateful to Netgalley and Jess Kidd for granting me an advanced reader copy.