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The House at Lobster Cove

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  35 reviews
He was Boston's largest taxpayer with little interest in civic affairs. He was listed in the Blue Book but joined no clubs. His magnificent dining room at Kragsyde, his house at Lobster Cove, rarely entertained visitors. If George Nixon Black was mentioned at all, it was almost as rumor. His greenhouses boasted rare plants, his collection of antiques and paintings were ext ...more
Paperback, 377 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Benna Books
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I remember first learning of Kragsyde in a college art history class, a visual that has stuck in my mind since. The author had a similar experience, it seems, but she then went on to build a mirror replica of the house with her husband, and also researched and wrote this fascinating book. I love the genre, which I describe as fictional biography rooted in deep research. It really is a treasure of a book, especially for those who are fans of Kragsyde (and/or Peabody & Stearns architecture). It te ...more
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book of all time. For sure and for so many reasons. It’s going to be my “read it once a year book.” George Nixon Black is now one of my heroes and I am so glad that his story, his life and truest self can be shared with the world with the creativity, care and compassion of Jane Goodrich. I hope I have the chance to visit her Kragsyde at some point in my life.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gentle and restrained, perhaps like Black himself, and that's the beauty of a book like this. You can imagine what you want of him, because what do we know? Goodrich's interpretation is as good as any, and compelling and satisfying.
Donna Dawson
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow - where to begin? This book is a novel, historical fiction, that follows the life of George Nixon Black, who lived from about 1840 to 1928. Nixon, as he was known, grew up in Ellsworth, ME, and then in Boston. (These are two of my favorite places to visit, so what's not to like about this book?) According to the author, Nixon, a very private person, left very few papers about his life, so her research included letters and events from history, as well as interviews with descendants. The House ...more
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up "The House at Lobster Cove" after reading a piece written by author Jane Goodrich in a recent issue of Yankee Magazine. I was intrigued by her own story and connection to George Nixon Black and his beloved Kragsyde—by the impact each has had on her and how both have motivated her to preserve and create.

Goodrich brings to life and gives voice to a man she's been fascinated with for a good portion of her life, and what a wonderful story to get wrapped up (and lost) in. She has created
Erika Brown
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Started this book by Jane Goodrich and realized quickly it's not really a traditional novel but rather a "historical memoir" in that it's a true account -- at least in its broad elements -- of the life of an intriguing and private man, George Nixon Black who was at one time (early 1900s) the largest taxpayer in the City Of Boston. He'd built an important home in Manchester-By-The-Sea (on Lobster Cove) which the author has meticulously rebuilt on an island off Bar Harbor in Maine near where Mr. B ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The book kept me interested. I liked how it shifted between past and Nixon's present time. I liked how it shifted between characters. It was moving and insightful at times. I think that the description for the book tells more than what's actually in the book, or perhaps you are to infer what is written in the description. I kept waiting for more Ah-ha moments, and none of that really happened. If I hadn't known that Nixon was gay, it probably would have taken me half ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is so beautifully written and tells the life of a marvelous man, George Nixon Black Jr., who has been largely forgotten . It all began with the author's obsession with his summer home Kragsyde, which, alas, was demolished soon after Black's death in 1929. The author writes with such passion and draws you in so completely that every moment of joy, despair, and in between become awfully real. It has inspired me to tour the places that were important to him in Ellsworth, ME, Boston, Naha ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow this was such a wonderful read on so many levels. The fact that it is Jane Goodrich’s debut novel on top of all the other joys about this book makes me hope there is the possibility of another book. The premise of the novel - the fictionalized biography of a man who was once Boston’s single largest tax payer is not the most attention grabbing subject but as a native Bostonian myself that was enough to peak my interest. George Nixon Black Jr left 12 pieces of correspondence and a will and fro ...more
Kenneth Speth
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sensitively written and poignant story of the life of George Nixon Black, Jr. who built the magnificent seaside summer home "Kragsyde" along the rugged Massachusetts coast in the early 1880's. The story takes the reader on a well-researched and sensitive journey through a time-period which now seems like an entirely different world....a time where one's social position usually determined your path in life. You will be totally engulfed by the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The House at Lo ...more
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Well-written biographical novel. Goodrich introduced me to a man I knew almost nothing about--I had really only heard of him because of my proximity to his childhood hometown and his grandfather's house--and portrayed a well-researched and realistic narrative of his life. The side-characters and their stories were also fascinating, like the one of the priest John Bapst.

A great debut novel, and well-worth the read.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been very fortunate that the last two books I read, John Boyne's The Hearts Invisible Furies and now The House at Lobster Cove have been such incredible reads. The House at Lobster Cove is so beautifully written with so much heart. The attention to detail and the rounding of the characters are so well thought out. The story evolves seamlessly. It is a book you cannot put down and don't want it to end. Not a quick read but you really don't want it to be.
I bought this book after hearing about it on NPR and reading positive reviews. I made it approximately 30% through and had to put it down because I really wasn't enjoying it. I couldn't help but notice typos and grammatical errors that detracted from my enjoyment of the story, and the story itself just wasn't captivating enough to counteract my annoyance at what I consider to be insufficient copy editing. I may pick this up again later when I'm more in the mood.
Grace Hoffmann
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice fictionalized account of the original builder and owner of the author's house in Maine. George Nixon Black lived from about 1840 until about 1928. He was wealthy and gay, and extremely private. Interesting as social history and nicely imagined and written.
Kathleen Oliver
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable biographical novel about Nixon Black of Ellsworth, Maine, his conventional yet unconventional life and his many bequests to Boston and Maine. It is both thoughtfully and sensitively written.
Cathy Harriton
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most beautifully written book I have ever read.
Christine Seaver
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Beautiful story, well written and lovingly researched.
Candis Joyce
Amazing....well done Jane! I recommend it highly.
Sue Danskin
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Longish historical fiction novel about a man and a house through his very long life. I enjoyed some of the writing.
Kelly H
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of history packed into a book. Interesting perspective of religious conflict, civil war and same sex relationships.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting historically and as social insight into the times.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely exquisite novel--quietly but beautifully written--that follows the life of and equally quiet but beautiful man. This turned out to be one of my favorite reads of recent years.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
thank you Bas Bleu for bringing this gem to my attention.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. I was sad that it ended - but I feel like I really got to know the main character and local history.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book for the history and the ocean, and magnificence of the house. its seems to me that Nixon was a recluse, I felt sad through out and at the end...I thought this book was amazing
Larry Sidwell
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book now holds a place among my all time favorites! Highly recommend.
Susan Parent
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book... and then liked it even more when I realized it was a [sort of] biography. With liberties.
Nancy Anderson
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was interesting from the historical perspective. Tedious to read.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting and well written historical fiction, however it could have benefited from some editing. It was overly long and repetitive at times.
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