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

A House Among the Trees

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  3,760 ratings  ·  606 reviews
From the beloved author of the National Book Award winning Three Junes. The unusual bond between a world-famous children's author and his assistant sets the stage for a richly plotted novel of friendship and love, artistic ambition, and the power of an unexpected legacy.

When the revered children's author Mort Lear dies accidentally at the Connecticut home he shares with To
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Pantheon 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 A House Among the Trees, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Carol Hartman Davis He did not like the pairing of his work with the graphic novelist in the propose childrens book museum. It expressed his appreciation of Tommy and his…moreHe did not like the pairing of his work with the graphic novelist in the propose childrens book museum. It expressed his appreciation of Tommy and his knowledge that she would know best what to do with his wealth.
The Greek vase of a surprise monetary value to Tommy as it was a knicknack collected from Mort's travels.(less)
Beth Grief...Grief runs very deep and one never knows the response. I think her response is also a foreshadowing of her response to the way she is portraye…moreGrief...Grief runs very deep and one never knows the response. I think her response is also a foreshadowing of her response to the way she is portrayed in "the film".(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,760 ratings  ·  606 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A House Among the Trees
Larry H
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
For me, reading a Julia Glass novel is like returning home after a long trip, or visiting close friends or family. You immediately feel so comfortable, so happy, and so interested in what is going on around you. I've been a fan of hers since her very first book, Three Junes , and while her books aren't always perfect, I love the way she unfurls her stories, and creates immensely memorable characters.

Tomasina "Tommy" Daulair was 12 years old when she first met beloved children's book author Mo
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
In A House Among the Trees Tomasina (Tommy) finds herself at a loss and in shock, following the death of her employer, children’s author/illustrator, Mort Lear.

Morty was much more than Tommy’s boss. She knew him for most of her life, meeting the author when she was just 12 years old. No, this isn’t a love story with a drastic age difference between the couple. It’s a story of love, in the sense of friendship and family. Tommy was Morty’s right hand woman, his rock. He admitted not knowing how h
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I may be one of the few people reading A House Among the Trees who didn’t know beforehand that the book was inspired by the famed children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak and his legendary book, Where The Wild Things Are.

No matter. This intelligently written, character-driven novel stands on its own merits, using Mr. Sendak as a departure point and then building a wholly original character in Mort Lear, who is cared for by his trusted assistant Tomasina (Tommy) Daulair – whose brother Da
Jennifer Blankfein
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
For more book reviews and recommendations please go to my blog Book Nation by Jen.

In author Julia Glass’s latest, character driven novel, A House Among the Trees, Mort Lear, a famous children’s author, vaguely reminiscent of Maurice Sendak, unexpectedly falls to his death off the roof of his Connecticut home in a fluke accident. His longtime, live-in assistant Tomasina (Tommy) is left to pick up the pieces, address his fortune, complete unfinished business
Dale Harcombe
Mar 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
This sounded an interesting story and I loved the cover of this book, which is about a loved children’s author. When he dies unexpectedly, he leaves his home which he shares with Thomasina Daulair to her. He also leaves her as literary executor. She is left to deal with an outraged museum curator as well as the actor chosen to play the part of Mort in a film. She must face issues in Mort’s life, and her own relationship with her estranged brother. It all sounded a recipe for an interesting read. ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was my first novel by this author so I wasn't sure what I was in for. But for some reason, I didn't care for this one. It felt long and that is never a good sign for me.

The author had some great descriptive strokes, and there was some humor....all things appreciated by me. But bottom line, I just wasn't pulled in by the story or the characters. It was a lot of telling. I will read another book by her just to compare.
switterbug (Betsey)
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you’ve ever read Maurice Sendak’s children’s books, you may recognize the central but now dead (mort) character in Glass’s new novel, Mort Lear. But don’t expect him to be modeled entirely after Sendak; this is not a bio or even a “faction” of the great artist’s life. Instead, this is Glass’s original creation, about adults attempting to actualize their lives in a continuum of age and experience.

After an accident that kills Lear, his live-in assistant, Thomasina “Tommy” Dulair, is named Execu
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Julia Glass novel. It felt like a slog most of the way, although there were chunks that I really enjoyed and kept me reading.
retronerd  Steinkuehler
Jun 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this and I didn't. Well written but a oh-so-boring story.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A little uneven, but very good character development.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
"A House Among the Trees," while it was certainly well-written in a conventional sense, offered no surprises, no moments of thrilling "I wish I'd written that!" revelation. Is it possible to be too proficient a writer? At a certain level of competency, polished metaphors and technically adroit sentences just seem predictable and boring—even though the writer might be talented and accomplished. Julia Glass's words are so carefully chosen that I went from nodding at her success to rolling my eyes ...more
Jackie Rogers
Jun 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Gave this book 162 pages and 5 days and still don,t know what was going on. Could not spend another minute in it and its strange characters. See it has good reviews, but just could not see it. Thanks to Goodreads.
Connie G
Tonasina Daulair was watching her younger brother in the neighborhood park when she noticed Morty Lear sketching her exuberant brother. He was the author/illustrator of children's books. Years later, Morty later gave Tomasina a job as his live-in assistant. She did not have much of a life of her own since she devoted her time to managing his life, even helping to nurse his gay lover as he died.

Morty experienced a fatal fall from the roof of his Connecticut home. Tomasina was surprised to inherit
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
The sudden death of an elderly wealthy and famous author/illustrator of children’s books in the middle of the shooting of a film about his life, sets into motion a minor tug of war over his literary and personal legacy. I am sure that many readers will find this to be insightful and erudite. I thought it was tedious and pretentious. It was incredibly over-written, words lined up, pearlescent balls strung together, opalescent teeth, enamelized decay, so many shiny similes like Mylar bubbles atop ...more
Bonnie Brody
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have loved every book I've read by Julia Glass and this one is no exception. Her writing is exceptional, her story line fascinating, and the literary quality of her novel is superb.

Morty Lear, the protagonist of this book, is a world famous author of children's books and appears to be modeled after Maurice Sendak. His most famous creation, 'Colorquake', features a young character named Ivo who is much like Max in 'Where the Wild Things Are'. As the novel opens, Morty has just died and his love
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Reading a Julia Glass novel is like entering another lifetime for a few hours. I tend to favor character-heavy books, and this one does not disappoint. Meredith, Nick, and Tomasina are people whose lives were pulled into the orbit of Mort Lear, a beloved artist and author of best-selling children's books. Tommy has been especially close to the man, having served as his assistant and live-in companion for nearly all her adult life. After Mort's sudden death, she, who thinks she knows Mort the bes ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I have Loved 3 of Julia Glass' books: Three Junes, The Whole World Over, and And the Dark Sacred Night, mainly because I love her character Fenno McCleod. I enjoyed reading all her other books, too. I was looking forward to this one, but for me, it never really clicked. Reading it required more work than I anticipated. I just didn't love it. I feel bad about that. This one just wasn't my cup of tea. I never really read anything in it that made me care about any of the characters. Maybe there wer ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: could-not-finish
Another set of unlikable, unsympathetic characters here. I could feel the author trying so hard on every page to make the characters come alive, but it just didn't happen for me. It is not this author's fault, but I have really had a string of bad luck with my reading material lately.
Eileen Maloney
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I usually enjoy Julia Glass novels but this one never pulled together for me. Too many self-centered characters who were either whiny of self-sacrificing martyrs that they were not very compelling.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Much has been written about Maurice Sendak being the inspiration for Glass's central character, Mort Lear, and I suppose that was one initial attraction for me. But more importantly, I was hoping for another emotionally resonant story like "Three Junes," which sadly, "A House Among the Trees" is not. There is plenty of beautiful writing: rich descriptions of the Connecticut estate and cottage, tumultuous inner monologues, and Lear's fantastical illustrated books (which I wish existed!).

The most
Mary Lins
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
Ever since "Three Junes", I open any new novel by Julia Glass with a long sigh of pleasant anticipation. I did so with her latest novel, "A House Among the Trees", and was richly rewarded with another wonderful experience with Glass' beautiful prose and stellar story-telling. It will be on my Top Ten of 2017 List for sure.

Moms, especially "Boy Moms", will immediately recognize that the main character, Mort Lear, is loosely based on children's lit writer and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, and that
Loraine Despres
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All readers of literary fiction
Shelves: literature
What a marvelous book! I have read all Julia Glass' novels and her exploration of character never disappoints. "A House Among the Trees" starts simply: "Today the actor arrives." And we enter into the mind of Tommy (Tomasina Daulair) one of Glass' wonderful, stanch, competent women. This one knows how she ought to feel, but doesn't, and that annoys her. "Awake too early, too nervous for breakfast (coffee alone makes her more nervous still), fretful over what to wear (then irritated at caring so ...more
The Short of It:

Strong story potential that fell flat for me.

The Rest of It:

From Indiebound:

When the revered children’s book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will.

This book is said to be a tribute to Maurice Sendak, the beloved illustrator and author of children’s books and the inspiration b
Marne Wilson
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: partnerships
I rank this book right up there with The Cookbook Collector. Like Allegra Goodman, Julia Glass has a knack for telling complicated stories about multi-faceted people and making it all seem simple and obvious. Not a lot “happens” in this book plotwise, but we learn a tremendous amount about the four point-of-view characters, as well as the figure who unites them, esteemed children’s book author and illustrator Mort Lear, whose unexpected death a few weeks before the book opens drives whatever p ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Altering between three different time periods, a famous children's author dies and leaves his assistant of many years to take care of his estate. The book looks at his childhood, bits and pieces of his life throughout his career and then after his untimely death. Many characters with good character development and and interesting story line.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Character heavy and slow moving but beautifully written (if occasionally a bit overwritten). That said, the characters are staying with me, and the many layers of this beautiful book are fascinating and thought provoking.
Apr 03, 2018 added it

The deeper in I got, the more disinterested I found myself. Just not a good match for me.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love the way Julia Glass writes. I have been a fan since I read Three Junes years ago. Her characters are always memorable.

Tommy was 12 when she first met children's book author Morty Lear. He sketches her younger brother. Years later she discovers her brother became the inspiration for the main character in one of Lear's famous books

Tommy becomes Lear’s assistant and confidante. Lear is gay, is very dependent on her, and her life remaims small and closed in by his all encompassing personali
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Mort Lear wrote the ultimate children’s book that withstood time. It was on most children’s book shelves.
Then he died.
His assistant Tommy (female) then had to deal with his estate, plus a movie being made about his life. Mort met Tommy when she was 12, and they reconnected when she graduated college and she became his assistant. She never married. She moved in with him. He was gay.
This book delves into what motivated Mort to write, and what he kept hidden and did not write. It was a journey for
Patty Shlonsky
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A House Among the Trees” is a story of the fictional Morty Lear. Morty Lear is a famous author of children's stories, best known perhaps for his novel "Colorquake". Colorquake is a story about Ivo, whose "mother kept a perfect house, a house among the trees." Ivo is "utterly beguiling", an artist, a painter of fantastic creatures, all of which come alive off the page. Everyone loves Ivo and Morty Lear is renowned. By the way, Morty Lear is not his real name--try Mordecai Levy.

The thing is, when
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Redhead by the Side of the Road
  • Who are You, Calvin Bledsoe?
  • The Dearly Departed
  • Olive, Again
  • The Distinguished Guest
  • Âme brisée
  • Art et décès
  • Wives of the Fishermen
  • Modern Crochet: Crochet Accessories and Projects for Your Home
  • Scottsboro
  • Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930
  • Profanes
  • The Turtle Warrior
  • Chances Are...
  • Clock Dance
  • Independence Square
  • Liv Maria
  • The Dutch House
See similar books…
Julia Glass is the author of Three Junes , which won the 2002 National Book Award for Fiction, and The Whole World Over . She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her short fiction has won several prizes, including the Tobias Wolff Award and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society ...more

News & Interviews

Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
60 likes · 8 comments
“Everybody, will you please just sit for a minute?
Like children in a game of musical chairs, Tommy's three guests immediately reach for the nearest chair, pull it out from the table, and sit---even her brother. Well, says Tommy. Something in my life goes according to plan.”
“At least pretend we have a standing date, someday, for that mother-son field trip we never got to take, thanks to Sam’s draconian call sheets. He should’ve stayed on to run Italy itself. They’d be a superpower!” 0 likes
More quotes…