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The Hills at Home: A Novel

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  200 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
While always well-stocked with clean sheets, Lily Hill is not expecting visitors. At least not in the numbers that descend upon her genteely dilapidated New England ancestral home in the summer of ’89. Brother Harvey arrives first, thrice-widowed and eager for company; then perennially self-dramatizing niece Ginger and her teenaged daughter Betsy; then Alden, just laid-off ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Anchor (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 437)
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Ron Charles
Nov 14, 2013 Ron Charles rated it it was amazing
Finally, the Books section has a scoop: Jane Austen is alive. What's more shocking, the grandmother of social satire has moved in with Jonathan Franzen, and the two of them have produced a love child called The Hills at Home.

How else to explain this allegedly debut novel from an unknown New Hampshire writer? Nancy Clark - if she really exists - has just published what is surely the wittiest family portrait in years.

There is an immense audience waiting for a book like this. It includes all those
Cathleen Hockman-wert
I'm late to the party on this one -- published in 2003 but I just found it randomly at the library. It's billed as a mix of Jane Austen and Jonathan Franzen, which is apt enough. A good long light read -- terrific travel book. Big cast of characters, funny, nice wry tone and style. Starts a bit slow but give it a chance. All the threads eventually come together, and that's always a pleasure. I enjoyed it more than three stars might suggest.
Jan 27, 2016 Goose rated it liked it
Wanted to give it a 2 1/2 stars but goodreads doesn't do half stars. At points gently amusing and other points overly detailed and annoying. Various family members move into the ancestral home much to the dismay of Lily, not that an upstanding New England woman would let her visitors know that blatantly. I had given up on this book once but decided to finish it while traveling to Maine. It was the perfect book to travel with. It put me to sleep when I wanted to rest and it didn't take lots of co ...more
Jul 21, 2008 Aileen rated it really liked it
I am on a New England reading spree this summer. I liked this book about a crazy family that descends on their poor old maiden Aunt Lily at her fabulous MA homestead. It's very funny.
Virginia Markhart
Apr 06, 2015 Virginia Markhart rated it it was ok
Very very pleased to be finished with this book. The concept was fine...a elderly woman living in a huge family home with her also elderly brother. Family starts arriving by the carload. And with family comes lots of characters and situations.

The whole thing was so wordy I had trouble figuring out what the point was, usually there was no point. Also, two of the women had very similiar names and I constantly got them mixed up. Frustrating.

I was happy to finish the book. I think at the end I was
Jan 05, 2010 Linda rated it it was ok
The first visitor to arrive at Lily Hill’s home in an old New England town was her brother, Harvey. Next came their niece Ginger, separated from her husband, along with her daughter Betsy. Soon came Ginger’s brother Alden and his family – Alden had lost his job. Next there was Harvey’s grandson and his girlfriend, and it went on like that all through the summer and in to the fall. All of them seemed to settle in for an indefinite time. One of the last “guests” to come was Andy, a sociology stude ...more
Nov 04, 2013 Kate rated it it was ok
"While always well-stocked with clean sheets, Lily Hill is not expe3cting visitors. At least not in the numbers that descend upon her genteelly dilapidated New England ancestral home in the summer of '89. Brother Harvey arrives first, thrice-widowed and eager for company; then perennially self-dramatizing niece Ginger and her teenaged daughter Betsy; then Alden, just laid-off from Wall Street, with his wife Becky, and their rowdy brood of four ...

"As summer fades into fall, it becomes clear that
Mar 13, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
"All his life, or at least all his life that he could remember since discovering his hands and feet and, spontaneously, Newton's Third Law, he had been told not to damage Mr. Baskett's paint and not to swing from his lintel posts, whatever they were. If Glover had known what they were he would have bounced off them like a tetherball. His parents seemed to think Mr. Baskett was a god, watching over every speck of paint that fell, instead of a fat old guy who had lucked into a sweet rent-control d ...more
Barbara Snow
Jan 18, 2015 Barbara Snow rated it really liked it
There are some who won't enjoy the style of this book, but those of us who do will find it witty and entertaining. The characters are quirky, the situations that arise unlikely and the dialogue and thoughts somewhat off kilter. But everything fits together; the several individualistic members of an extended family live together for a year, joined by strangers who become part of the family and friends and lovers (or would be lovers) who cause havoc. I enjoyed the people and the story.
Jun 11, 2015 theresa rated it it was amazing
wonderfully dense prose. i felt like i was right there with each member of the family as they spent a year living with "aunt lily" in her antiques stuffed, rambling old house. some reviews complained that "nothing happened" which isn't really true! Plenty of stuff happened, general (more or less) living day-to-day stuff happened, just nothing monumental happened! it's more about an extended family and each members existential "crisis" of the moment. i loved it and will seek out the author's othe ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Lauriann rated it it was ok
The central character, Lily, is a not-young woman who opens her home one summer to a stream of relatives who bring their quirks and issues and make themselves at home. I was immediately put off by Lily's "hospitality." She was a gracious hostess but she did far too much for her guests who were completely capable of doing for themselves or pitching in to help Lily. No wonder they stayed! I confess, I only made it through 100 or so pages of this book. If I had been on a vacation with no other book ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book and the wonderful Hill family! What a cast of characters, Lily is the best, thinking what we all think when our families descend on us, and i became so fond of them all, especially the women; Ginger's self centered craziness, Becky's practical dreams, little Becky's secret hopes, and Betsy trying to survive with choir and patience. I can't wait to read another!
Jan 19, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
What a delight!! As the jacket (and other reviewers) have said, the Hills trilogy of novels is Jane Austen-esque, a social comedy of manners for the 21st century ..... I discovered the 3rd in the series first (July & August) in a used bookstore, and too it on a whim, having never heard of writer Nancy Clark. About 20 pages in, I realized what a gem this and upon finishing, immediately went to Amazon & ordered the first 2. A quietly satisfying, droll and amusing portrait of an American fa ...more
Sophia Musgrave
I still liked her most recent novel more, but this first in the series actually explains a lot more. I think it is fascinating to be able to create so many rich characters that each have such personality. It is a real depiction of a real family, with all their flaws exposed and with the most elemental quality of that which makes us all family. I have to admit if I was Aunt Lily I don't know if I would have been so accepting of having all my family move in on me for a year, she loves them of cour ...more
Jan 14, 2009 Kerfe rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It took me half the book to get interested, but the second half was pleasantly diverting, and occasionally amusing. Part of the problem for me was the characters--they were just too exaggerated, not exactly stereotypes, but not far enough away from them. And I didn't like them , or sympathize, or identify. Alden reminded me of W. who is no more endearing when not President. Ginger was beyond annoying, as was Little Becky. The interactions and situations were just a little off, they tried a bit t ...more
Jul 26, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
I was not going to read this book because I've been so annoyed by the writing in so many "debut" novels that I'd sworn off of them (at least until after being reassured by later novels). BUT I kept hearing about this, so I gave it a chance, and I'm so glad I did because it was so entirely pleasant! I very much enjoyed the writing style (which was NOT all stupid debut-novel-y, after all), and I loved how NICE it was! Nothing too bad happened, and everything ended with super happy endings! I loved ...more
Aug 27, 2013 Sharron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, feel-good
I'm not a fan of family sagas but this one about an old time Yankee family and, in particular, the family matriarch, Lily, was enjoyable. It was what I think of as a "find a comfortable chair, pour yourself a cup of tea, and settle down for a day with likable characters" kind of story. The prose isn't memorable nor for that matter is the plot. What makes this story work is the characters. No violence, no sex, no obscure plot lines, no time travel, no tragedy. Nothing weird or trendy here. Just a ...more
May 16, 2011 Sterlingcindysu rated it really liked it
You might need a cheat sheet to keep all the family members straight here, but I loved all the characters and the town of Towne. There's probably as much mental action as physical action going on, so the characters have it over the plot. Really, how would anyone handle having 12 family members come and stay for a whole year? Looking forward to reading A Way from Home: A Novel to follow the Hill family.
Sep 11, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jill Majers
Recommended to Amanda by: My Book-a-Day Calender
This book was a beautiful story about a family going through tough times and the strain that causes in familial relationships. "The Hills at Home" brilliantly portrays a WASP family's ability to hunker down and whether the storm. This book is described as similar to a Jane Austen novel. I don't think this description is accurate. This book is a window into WASP society, but it in no way resembles the grace and wit of Jane Austen's portrayal of the society in which she lived.
Jul 22, 2010 Valerie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like Anne Tyler, Maeve Binchy, Margaret Atwood
Recommended to Valerie by: Anne Tyler in an interview
Why hadn't I heard of this book? It's fantastic! Quite a simple plot about different members of a family all arriving back at the family home for extended visits. But the way they get on each other's nerves and play out their own personalities is brilliantly done and very funny.
I'm happy to know that she's written at least two more books that I must read at once.
Meredith Henderson
Jun 23, 2013 Meredith Henderson rated it really liked it
Perfect summer read if you are the kind of person who has lake cottages in your past. This is the sweet story of generations of a family sharing the same summer life. What happens when some family memebers want to continue and some do not. How does a family move financially forward together? And is it the summers that bound them?
Gentle easy read with profound questions
Colleen O'grady
Oct 23, 2010 Colleen O'grady rated it it was amazing
A charming story of extended family sharing a home for one year with their Aunt during tough times and managing to be a knit and reasonably happy family, despite the age differences. Clark managed to weave brothers, sisters, neices, nephews together living under the same roof and actually being studied by an outsider as an unusual family
Aug 26, 2009 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I keep expecting to hear more buzz about this book. I think it is just as well written as the more popular Corrections, and much funnier. Clark has promised that this is the first in a trilogy about the Hills. I look forward to reading the other two.
Jan 17, 2010 Angie rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I really wanted to like this book , the story , the characters . I really wanted to enjoy reading this book . * sigh* I struggled , I strayed and I wanted to scream . I found the wordy writing distracting and painful to get through .
Sue Daniels
Sep 13, 2008 Sue Daniels rated it liked it
Well written, but hard to get into. Read for book group and it makes for a lively discussion. And the characters come alive, they annoyed me but also interested me and what becomes of them and what they make of their lives.
Oct 06, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lilly Hill's various and sundry relatives come home to roost for a year before departing as suddenly as they appeared. Nothing much ever really happens in this book, but it's a very enjoyable read.
Jan 31, 2008 Joyce rated it really liked it
This book cracked me up -- a "compendium of Yankee curiosities" indeed. Nancy Clark has really pegged the well-heeled dowager and her family in all their eccentricities. A good-hearted book.
May 23, 2008 BeckyKay rated it liked it
Shelves: alreadyread
A bit slow, but still very pleasant. The characters are very unique and really grow on you as you progress. By the end, I was totally engrossed. Definitely some very funny moments!
Sharon Klotz
Jan 27, 2011 Sharon Klotz rated it did not like it
Had a very hard time getting into this book - after 28 pages I skipped ahead - still hard to get into it - gave up. Could not find a story line to keep my interest.
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
I love a story about a large family, but even more, I love a story about a house. Clark did a great job of evoking a strong sense of place and home.
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