Alan Marchant's Reviews > Red House: Being a Mostly Accurate Account of New England's Oldest Continuously Lived-in House

Red House by Sarah Messer
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Jan 16, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: biography, historical, nonfiction
Read in January, 2012

Being the biographical history of the Red House, built on the North River at Two Mile, Massachusetts colony, by the puritan Walter Hatch and occupied by his descendents for over 300 years. Or rather, the book is a multigenerational love story of the owners' affection for this old house.

The book is structured as alternating vignettes of the Hatch families alternating with anecdotes of Sarah Messer's family, who bought the house from Richard Hatch and were in turn adopted by its legacy. A solid work of history, the book has a novelistic quality that is strengthened by Sarah Messer's clear-eyed attitude toward the house and its owners, her avoidance of nostalgia, and the slowly developed theme: that the value of a home derives from the attitude of the owner and has nothing to do with its structure, beauty, or historical authenticity.
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