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The House by the River

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  19,266 ratings  ·  1,211 reviews
The first novel by acclaimed Greek writer Lena Manta to appear in English translation, The House by the River is an intimate, emotionally powerful saga following five young women as they realize that no matter the men they choose, the careers they pursue, or the children they raise, the only constant is home.

Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at hom
Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 1st 2017 by Amazon Crossing (first published May 2nd 2007)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  19,266 ratings  ·  1,211 reviews

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Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin Kuhn
This was a freebie from Amazon for World Book Day. I was in the mood for a novel set in another country and was looking forward to Greece. However, it was a DNF at 15%. I was hoping to get lots of descriptions of the city, the food, and the intricate details of a small Greek village. Instead, I got many older men falling in love with young girls. It starts with Gerasimos, a 47-year-old man who decides to die rather than lose his leg, which became infected from stepping on a nail. He’s stubborn a ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A emotional and poignant Greek family saga following five young women as they pursue their dreams, only to realize their home by the river is a healing place.

Life was simple in the house by the river at the foot of Mount Olympus in Greece. Theodora and the tall, handsome Gerasimos kept goats and chickens and a vegetable garden in the years preceding World War ll. And during this time they have five bright, beautiful and talented daughters: Melissanthi, Julia, Aspasia, Polyxeni, and Magdal
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I kept reading and reading thinking this book would get less melodramatic. But it got worse. Totally soap opera type plots that are in no way believable. Dialogue that is unreal. Repetitive descriptions- how is it that each of the 5 sisters “suddenly “ realized they were bored? Story lines that were begun left unfinished. Yikes. I’m almost angry this book was so long and took up so much of my reading time.
Skip this if you have a low tolerance for sappy, over the top stories that make your eyes
This is the story of a mother with her five daughters and their lives. It is a family saga built around the sisterhood of women, supporting and caring for each other.

Kyria Theodora lost her caring, wonderful husband, Gerasimos, when he refused to have his leg amputated. "My soul will be crippled if I lose my leg," he said, and then just died.

It left her with five head-strong, iron-willed daughters to take care of on a small piece of land, nestled against Mount Olympus in Greece. In alternating
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully captivating

I loved this book from start to finish. Recently I moved back to my small hometown and felt myself drawn to this powerful story of these women who no matter their life journeys always had their roots pulling them back. I laughed and cried and marveled at how if I hadn't had been told this was a translation, I never would have guessed. It flowed smoothly and drew me completely in.
Betty Adams
This family saga started out quite promising, but it was the same story told five times. It made me wonder how two matriarchs who were solidly grounded raised such self-focused daughters. That disappointed me no end.
Brittany Howell-Blaszczyk
This is one of the best books ive read in A LONG TIME!!!!!!! This book is so captivating!!! I got it with my KindleFirst choice on Amazon and I do NOT regret it at all!!!! I wasn't sure how it would be when I read the description but it pulled me in from beginning to end. It has a lot of character development as well which I love and it also has multiple points of view which I also am a fan of as well. Would highly recommend!!!
Sue Prince
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my free monthly book from Amazon Prime and I was very surprised at what an excellent book this was
Greece's hottest village is the homeplace of the characters in The House by the River! This book has everything: aliens wearing meat suits and pretending they really can act like humans, racism, the dialogue that reads like it had been copied and pasted from one of those 1970s' BBC daytime soaps where the sets were so cheap they wobbled every time an actor opened a door, the Mafia, misogyny, eroticised marital rape, Nazis, gaslighting, dead babies, so many dead babies, supposedly smart women act ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s very long. It’s very repetitive. You know what’s going to happen. But you keep reading. And reading. And reading.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I absolutely loved this book. While it is not of a genre I normally read this book kept me reading from the first page to the last. I do hope that more of the author's book will be translated.
Judi Easley
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of women's lit and family life
Recommended to Judi by: ...
The House by the River

Lena Manta

Translated by Gail Holst-Warhaft

Psichogios Publications 2007

Amazon Crossing 2017

546 pages, ebook, paperback, audiobook, MP3 CD

Women’s Lit, Family


I honestly cannot remember how I acquired this book. My Amazon account says I paid nothing for it, so it may have come from a rep or I may have gotten it on one of those sales. However, this is my honest review and I am not being compensated for it in any way. However I got the book, I am sincerely glad I did. I put
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 100books2017
I kind of liked this rather sweeping novel about sisters that left their village home and set out through the world because it was set against a background, Greece, that was unfamiliar to me. The situations faced by the young women were all too familiar, however, and by the time five sisters had struggled through their lives, things started feeling an old story retold. The sentimental ending was foreshadowed throughout the individual stories and the happy ever after felt sort of contrived. The f ...more
Cynthia Sillitoe
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't like panning books, least it was free. This is one where I thought it would be 4 stars, and then I accepted it was three stars, but still interesting, and then it got bad, and then I wanted a second chance at my October free Kindle book.
Linda O’Connor
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was predictable and I hated the format of the book...but I loved every story within this book so much! Touching, exciting... many mixed feelings about this book but ultimately I couldn’t put it down, which is why I rated it 4/5.
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 Stars.......I think.
This book was so promising in the beginning. I was having such a good time, I began recommending it to my reading buds. After, about50%, however, I began sending out apologies. Talk about a good story gone bad! The story is about five sisters who are born and raised in a small country town near Mt Olympus. When they become young women, one by one each sister leaves their home town and the remainder of the book follows each sister’s journey.
So, the focus begins with the ol
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too long and a bit tedious

The story would have benefitted from less daughters, less lovers and a few more boys. The moral of every daughter's story is don't cheat on your husband, live according to your morals and only bad things happen when you move away from your home town. Ho-hum.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Im only halfway through and keep debating on whether to finish it. There are things about it that drive me crazy yet I keep reading for some reason so I'm giving it 3 stars so far. I'm reading the English translation.
It drives me crazy that it is supposed to take place in the twentieth century yet a lot of the women characters seem to continually faint! And there is much discussion about arranged marriages and dowries which might be a geographic thing. Maybe parents still liked to choose their
DNF at 12%

Too much drama and too little Greece for my taste. The dialogs are unbelievable. There was also a couple of things in the plot that I hated, for example already 3 girls of around 18 years old got married with men at least 20 years older than them. In one of the cases the love story started (although only in a platonic level) when the girl was 12. If it were only ONE case in the story, I would have taken it as "the case in the book", but three already? WTH? And there are still three sin
Mar 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group-books
One of the worst books I’ve ever read. Don’t go near this garbage. Don’t trust Goodreads reviews. Read negative reviews as well as the positive to get a full picture. Waste of time and money. Characters one dimensional, formulaic story, melodramatic, too many words.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
It is a story about five sisters from a small Greek village who yearn for the city lights, and is the story about their consequences of their decisions. Story and characterization are painfully predictable, written in readable prose, but I do think that this one can be nice/okay beach read ...
May 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joann 'bartunek' prashek
Glad I listened on audible, otherwise I'm not sure I could have kept the names and locations straight as they were very foreign to me. What an amazing story of the family's life. Almost 20 hours and I never tired of listening to the have narrator. Wonderful how she changed her voice so I didn't have to hear her say who was talking. It really bothers me when I have to hear over and over again, Sally said and Tom replied.
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I gave this book a very generous 3 stars. It started out promising, even giving me a Pearl S. Buck-ish feel, with concise, unadorned narration that still effortlessly evokes emotion and wisdom.

The first section of the book centers on the meeting, marriage, and starting of a family by a couple in a small village in Greece. The couple has five daughters that are still young when their father meets his untimely death early in the story. Now their mother, Theodora, is
Jennifer Hughes
May 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Another disappointing free Kindle selection. Lots of "tell, not show" with what looks to be high melodrama ahead. I'm disappointed; Greece in WWII had the potential to be really interesting. Is the translation getting in the way? Maybe, but that's surely not the cause of everything wrong here. I'm quitting this one early and moving on.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oy this book was so long (and so is this review!). And horrifically preachy and moralizing in all the wrong ways (particularly around suicide). And apologetic of rape in "it's just men being passionate" and "it's culturally appropriate for a 20 something dude to have the hots for a 12 year because we're Greeks in the early 20th century" way. And also kind of racist.

The book starts off with Theodora and her husband (the aforementioned pseudo pedophile, who I guess "technically" didn't do anythin
Jenn "JR"
Another selection from Amazon's free offerings for some promotion or other - and I finally tried getting into it. I hoped for more descriptive details about village life, of the food, the surroundings -- even signs that we were approaching the 1970s (right?). The author seems to intentionally avoid talking about time -- the only tie to historical events is Nazi occupation.

I read through the first couple of chapters, and then the first chapter focusing on one of the daughters - and then the last
I dearly love a sob fest and that is just what The House by the River is. When reading be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Manta a Greek author writes about a family of 5 daughters and we follow them. Each has an abundance of heartache.

The House by the River was one of the books chosen by Amazon in 2018 as a giveaway for their World Book Day. Manta was twice chosen by Greek Life & Style magazine as Author of the Year, so she is a well respected author in Greece.

While this novel was a tad mau
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Librarian Note: This is the name variant in the Latin alphabet. See the author's profile in Greek: Λένα Μαντά. ...more

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