Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Housewrights” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.82  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Set in a small Vermont town in the early decades of the twentieth century, Housewrights tells the story of Lily Willard, the town librarian, and her relationship with Oren and Ian Pritchard, housewrights who roam New England building houses for others though they themselves are homeless. Lily first meets the twins one magical summer when they are children, and the boys arr ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Penguin Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Housewrights, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Housewrights

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare"We Were Five by James BroughGingers & Wry by Dwayne R. JamesThe Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee HopeThe Twins at St Clare's by Enid Blyton
131 books — 43 voters
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoLirael by Garth Nix
Books About Librarians
369 books — 548 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  197 ratings  ·  35 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Housewrights
Carolyn F.
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book - it's about a love triangle but not really. Lily meets Oren & Ian when their father is hired to build Lily's family home. She's 8 and they're about 10. They get to know each other and become friends during that Summer with Oren promising to come back for Lily to marry her. 10 years later he does come back and marry her. Ian went to the Great War and returned shell-shocked. They all live together in a small town which means trouble with gossip. Lily tries to fix things but events ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I appreciated the author’s unique writing style, and I was rooting for Lily’s happiness. I was frustrated with the small-mindedness of the other characters and wasn’t satisfied in the end. Nothing wrong with the book, just left me feeling low.
Belinda M
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was actually looking for Corriveau’s YA novel, 13 Hangmen, for my son to read when I came across this. It’s a lovely and complicated love triangle but there’s so much more depth to it than that. I agree with one of the previous reviewers in that’s it’s also kind of weird, however, it’s still impossible to tear yourself away from it. I feel like Lily, Oren and Ian were born in the wrong era. She’s so independent and non-conformist, the brothers being twins are so in their own worlds and speak t ...more
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't remember where I heard about this book, but I'm glad I did. It was one of the best books I've read recently and maybe even in my top 20 of all time. I adored the way it brought out the innocence of childhood and how that was shown to influence us throughout our lives. It was a fantastic love story, but really so much more than that. ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Guess I was expecting a Sarah Waters story, and I got this weird tale of a woman who spent her life in love with two men, and ended up losing them both. Hated it.
Princess  Pottymouth
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Just too short.
Much was unrevealed with the pages of this book. Leaving the reader to paint the unknown in for themselves. Yes, the women are WOMEN in this book. Where others perceived "misogyny", I see simply a portrayal of women and men acting as women and men tend to act.
The magnetism that this book possesses lies in the harsh reality of life decisions. There is rarely a fairly tale ending and people tend to make life choices that they come to regret. Rarely is everything simple with all th
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
As a librarian, I am naturally drawn to books about librarians and libraries. This one did not disappoint. It's very well-written, and the plot ~ a strange love triangle ~ is amazingly unpredictable. ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it did not like it
I don’t know why I bothered to finish this book. The characters, especially the women, are barely more than caricatures. Lily’s character boils down to being Not Like Other Girls, yet her motivation throughout the book is mostly to keep up appearances to avoid being judged by her neighbors. If the author had allowed her to have a bit more interiority, this conflict may have been interesting, but as it stands, we just watch as she allows life to happen to her.

Overall, this book was claustrophobi
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jackie Wayman
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
read years ago enjoyed the intensity of the plot and characters.
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eloquent about the love and pride in hand-making things: houses, pies, communities. Features twin hunky carpenters and a non-conformist librarian.
Rich detail about 20th C rural Vermont.
Vaughn Demont
May 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas M.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction

Praise for Housewrights:

Publisher’s Weekly
"Corriveau concocts an unusual but convincing romantic triangle in his excellent first novel."

San Francisco Chronicle
"Corriveau skillfully chronicles the torments of those who don’t fit in but who have inhabited a magic, separate world since childhood. Housewrights is fresh, sweet, spare and wholely satisfying."

Boston Herald
"The 'Wright' Stuff... Housewrights is the story of Lily Willard, a young woman who feels stifled by the conservativism of her small
Jul 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Housewrights" a novel by Art Corriveau.

I read this several years ago, and have always enjoyed doing reader's advisory on it for library patrons. Several of the staff here at the library have also enjoyed this one very much.

At the beginning of the 1900's in a small town in Vermont, Lily Willard meets twins Oren and Ian Pritchard when her father hires their carpenter father to build the Willard family a new home. Ten years later, Oren returns to claim Lily as his bride. As the town Librarian, Lily
Jan 27, 2016 rated it did not like it
Housewrights tells the story of a young woman growing up in the first decades of the 20th century.
We meet Lily Willard in 1907 when she is age 8, the only daughter of a farmer in Cabot Fields, Vermont. That summer, Lily befriends Oren and Ian, twin sons of an itinerant housewright who has come to build a new home for the Willard family. Ten years later, while Ian is on the battlefields of World War I, Oren returns to Cabot Fields to woo Lily, now the town librarian. When Ian returns from the wa
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-lit
Housewrights is one of those books that I come back to every couple of years, and get something new each time. The first time I'd read it, I'd just begun working in a library and strongly identified with Lily, the main character who did the same. This most recently time, I found myself drawn into the brothers' (Ian and Owen's) relationship, as much unspoken as overt. I appreciate the subtle weights that each of the characters carry, and how they develop from youth through adulthood.

I am always d
Jenny Lynn
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This is an intriguing book. I liked most of the characters and thought the plot was very interesting, but sometimes the gaps in time between chapters threw me. It wasn't that I minded there being gaps in time, it's just that suddenly a chapter would end and the next chapter would take place three years later but I didn't immediately know that given that I forgot when the chapter before was supposed to be set. Maybe I'm just an inattentive reader. And while I sometimes liked the vagueness of the ...more
Pamela Pickering
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Maybe more of a 2.75 for me. Although I whipped through this quickly I'm a little ambivalent about it. I was interested fairly early on and then it just sort of lost me. Maybe because I never really understood the full relationship between Lily, Oren, and Ian. And perhaps that's what the writer wanted--for us to come to our own conclusions but I needed just a little bit more clarification. I also felt the author's antagonist character, Hallie, was a little too one dimensional--a charicature, if ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008-read
This was a wonderful novel that managed to bring to life early twentieth century rural Vermont. The protagonist faces her relationship with twin brothers and the approbation of the town. As her mother tells her, she can do whatever she wants in private, but the town will be happy to sit in judgment for what it looks like she's doing. These themes were poignant and relevant to modern audiences despite the historical setting. Very enjoyable read. ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful. I wanted to know these people. Have you ever wondered about the tie between identical twins? Imagine two that had been raised on the road, so that all they have is each other. Lily married just one, or did she?
My only complaint is that this author needs to write more books! Great small town setting and wonderful time period. His writing is sparse and perfect in his characterization.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-unowned
Housewrights was a very enjoyable slice-of-life book. I descend from carpenters who lived in small-town America, so the general story felt very personal to me. The specific story of what happens to the characters was less interesting. I saw nothing inspired in the story of the characters. Still, it was an enjoyable, quick read.
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed this book though it didn't awe me. The relationships between the characters didn't seem to be entirely justified, and some reactions seemed confusing, but it was well written (if a bit dry at times) and a lovely read all together. ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wonderful. Loved the characters and pace. Final reveal in the relationship between Oren and his brother Ian was a nice surprise. Can't wait to see what this author does next. Readers of Tawni O'Dell's novels will enjoy this book and vice versa. ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I would say 3.5 stars. I found it interesting because my husband is a carpenter, and owns a lot of the books referenced in the novel. I actually liked the ending, which is unusual - the last few books I have read I haven't really liked how they wrapped up. ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great story, well written, intriguing. Themes of the private vs. public self are interesting, comparing today and our social media selves with characters struggling with reality vs appearances many decades ago.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Parts were lyrical and moving, but there were odd paragraphs here and there that read like romance boilerplate and brought the magic to a grinding halt....
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Its sad how life turns out sometimes!
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book - partly because it is set in Vermont - always fun. The characters were good and I enjoyed the writing.
Nor Finn
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
it was sweet romantic different from a lot of other stories. fully developed characters. she was a cool chick. I liked the main character, time period, Setting and romantic interludes.
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is a story that is staying with me...liked it, interesting character study...
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
USA Geography Cha...: Houserights by Art Corriveau 1 1 Dec 29, 2014 09:50PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Burning Glass (Burning Glass, #1)
  • The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness
  • The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
  • Radiance of Tomorrow
  • Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)
  • The Lost and Found Bookshop
  • Scarlett
  • What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat
  • Walking the Appalachian Trail
  • H is for Hawk
  • A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America
  • The Food of a Younger Land: The WPA's Portrait of Food in Pre-World War II America
  • By Nightfall
  • The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)
  • An Ancient Castle
  • Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3)
  • God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #4)
  • Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master, #2)
See similar books…
Art Corriveau’s first adult novel, Housewrights, was published by Penguin in 2002, and was a “Book Sense 76” selection. His widely published short stories were collected as Blood Pudding by Esplanade Books in 2008. His debut middle-grade novel, How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog), is currently available from Amulet Books. He makes his home in rural Vermont and Zurich, Switzerland.

Related Articles

It's June, which means it's time to celebrate Pride month in honor of the LGBTQ+ community! This year, we wanted to highlight the...
263 likes · 56 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »