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House Arrest

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  158 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Home-care nurse Emily Klein can’t get out of her new assignment – weekly prenatal visits to Pippa Glenning, a young Isis cult member under house arrest for the death of her daughter during a Solstice ceremony. But she takes her work seriously and plays by the rules, so Emily is determined to take good care of her high-profile and unconventional patient.

With two other cult
Paperback, 216 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Red Hen Press (first published January 31st 2011)
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Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
HOUSE ARREST engaged me with complicated well drawn characters and page-turning plot, and impressed and hooked me with the compassion and depth of understanding the author showed towards extremely complicated circumstances. She amazed me with her ability to present a 'cult' with fairness, shaded in ways that avoid all the usual stereotypes.

I avoid reviews which give away plot points, so suffice it to say that this book will hold you, make you think, and take away any ability you have to think o
Julie M
May 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
I might have liked this book if it were a short story. Might.

The story seemed interesting to start, but the characters grew more annoying as the book went on .. all the SELF talk!! ("Be careful, he told himself," . . Sam wondered what actually happened . . how could you get over something like that?" "Would they have been able to save her? Would Tian ..? Would they have waited together, sitting for hours on these molded plastic chairs . . ? And what about this new baby? Who would wait with Pippa
Apr 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Chris by: BOTNS Retreat
Shelves: 2011-reads, own
This is more like 3 1/2, not quite 4.

Any book that distracts me from life and its surroundings I think is terrific, and this book did that for me. Hurrying to work one morning because I read longer than I had planned, I stayed up later than usual, and dinner had to wait while I finished reading the last 30 pages. I was sitting on pins and needles to find out what was going to happen next. Meeropol delicately wove this story together in four voices: The nurse who takes care of the woman under hou
I'm a sucker for first novels. Most of my reading friends know that, and will often send me premiere works of an author to sample. House Arrest would have appealed to me for that reason alone, but it was the writing, and the shaping of characters and story that won me.

This debut novel explores aspects of friendship that often are ignored. The two main characters come from completely different backgrounds, and each are reluctant to trust another individual, to move out of the comfort zone each ha
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This truly original and compelling novel is full of courage and complexity. First-time author Ellen Meeropol gives us a diverse cast of sensitive characters with rich, storied lives that are unfurled slowly, almost delicately, as the novel progresses.

Emily Klein, an agency nurse in Springfield, Massachusetts, provides care to home-bound patients, who help fill the painful void left by Emily’s parents. When the novel opens, Emily has been assigned a new patient, Pippa Glenning, a young runaway f
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reading a debut book is sort of like Forrest Gump’s proverbial box of chocolates. You never know what you will get. The good news is, with House Arrest, you get something that’s very savory indeed.

Ellen Meeropol is a self-described “literary late bloomer” – even more enticing. House Arrest focuses on home-care nurse Emily Klein an her charge, Pippa Glenning – the young cult member under house arrest for the freezing death of her young daughter during a winter solstice ceremony. As the pregnant w
Colleen Clark
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A spare but intense story. Emily is a visiting nurse and Pippa, a young pregnant woman, is under house arrest. Emily is assigned to monitor Pippa's pregnancy and accompany her to medical appointments. In brief chapters Emily tells her story in first person. The other characters - Emily's cousin Anna, Anna's ex-husband Sam, and Gina, another nurse - have their stories told in the 3rd person.

Emily's father went to prison when Emily was 10 because of a 1960's anti-war arson and Emily went to live w
Celine Keating
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
HOUSE ARREST is a terrific book. The novel is full of heart and deeply felt, with characters you care about immediately. It's also an unusual and involving story that effortlessly takes on weighty and important issues. What I loved best about the book is the author's warmhearted acceptance of all kinds of people. Nurses and cult members, divorced parents and political activists, are all presented as flawed yet thoroughly lovable. The story itself is gripping, with real life quandaries and choice ...more
Jacqueline Sheehan
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel tackles several topics that sometimes go sideways, but not so in this book. Just say the words,"religious cult" and most people will respond with well-worn beliefs. Thankfully, the main character of House Arrest takes us beyond this point and lets us into a fresh and surprising world. And she presents us with questions about one of my favorite topics; what constitutes a family? The characters are fascinatingly flawed. I am eager to read this author's next book.
Steve Carter
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This short novel is packed with ideas and actions. Actions in the present and feelings and results of actions that reverberate from the past.
The story is told primarily through the first person of Emily, a nurse who works at a for-profit visiting nurse agency in Western Massachusetts. Then in other chapters it switches to the third person voice to be with other characters and witness their movements and thoughts that are out of the view of Emily.
This is an effective mechanism in that it gives
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: botns, read-in-2012
I really struggled with what to rate this book but based on its sheer ability to keep me reading, it's 4 stars. However, due to a few quibbles I had with it (including a certain police action near the end that makes no sense the more I think about it), I knocked this down to 3.

First things first, cheers to the excellent Books on the Nightstand podcast for recommending this book, published by the small indie press Red Hen, that I doubtless would never have heard of otherwise.

The novel is the st
Aj Sterkel
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A home health care nurse, Emily, has to care for a pregnant woman, Pippa, who was put under house arrest after her young daughter wandered off during a religious ceremony and froze to death.  

This story seems simple on the outside, but it raises a lot of interesting ethical and legal questions about medicine, religion, and the American justice system. I love the way that the author handled the cult in this book. The fictional cult members are treated as humans by the author and not stereotyped o
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Paul by: BOTNS Retreat
The novel opens with the death of two small children during a night of celebration welcoming the winter solstice. The tikes wander off and succumb to the elements. But since these were the children of cult members, the situation isn’t quite so easy for society to determine: Were the parents guilty of neglect (or worse, murder), or was this simply an accident that occurred during a ritual ceremony? Pippa, the mother of one of the children, is sentenced to house arrest because she is pregnant. The ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Christina passed this along to me. It was an advanced uncorrected proof (though I didn't actually notice any errors), so it didn't have the provocative cover photo. It tells the story of a home nurse, Emily, assigned to care for a pregnant woman on house arrest, Pippa. Pippa is confined because her 14-month-old baby died of exposure as Pippa and other members of the Isis cult celebrated Winter Solstice in a blizzard. Will Emily help Pippa escape for one night so she can dance at this year's ritu ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I saw the cover to this book, it kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. Then when I read a little of the fly leaf I realized the book is loosely based upon an incident that happened here in Massachusetts a few years ago. When a local cult came under public/police scrutiny, it turned out that two of the children in the cult had died and no members had reported the deaths to authorities.

I never heard what happened in that case but Meeropol's novel could be based on truth or perhaps she did a "wh
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This first novel by a self-described late-bloomer is wonderful. I read it during a weekend when I was sick with a cold, and it distracted me from my symptoms. A home health nurse is assigned to visit a young pregnant cult member who is under house arrest pending trial. Her toddler had died from exposure during a winter solstice ceremony.

The nurse, Emily, has her own family of origin issues she has not come to terms with, including the imprisonment of her father for protest activities during the
This is a very interesting portrayal of an ethical dilemma invvolving religious beliefs, best interests of society, as well as best interests of children and medicine. Told in alternating chapters by different characters it is the story of a mother whose child died during a Winter Solstice religious ritual and the subsequent fallout from that night. She is now pregnant again and under house arrest for her safety as well as that of her unborn child. Meeropol carefully threads together the many el ...more
Helen Dunn
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Red Hen Press
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On the surface, House Arrest tells a simple story. A visiting nurse is assigned to provide prenatal care for a woman who's accused of a crime and facing pretrial incarceration, but because she's pregnant, instead of jail, she's allowed house arrest. But under the surface, the characters inhabit a world swirling with secrets and complications. The narrator's father was imprisoned for burning a draft board during the Vietnam War. The women under arrest fled home because of a very different crime. ...more
Melissa W
Originally reviewed at Jayne's Books

I found the book to be a bit dry at times, which made this a challenging read for me. Found that only one of the characters to be at all interesting and I honestly didn't like how the book ended, which was ambiguous at best. Thought that the book just sort of ended and there was nothing to indicate as to what happened to Pippa and her baby. My heart just wasn't the book, probably because the main narrative jumped around so much and there wasn't a single narrat
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Saw this on the New Books shelf-seemed interesting. This is the first novel by Ellen Meeropol, and while it's got some flaws, it's not a bad first effort. Maybe 3.5 stars is more accurate but I thought I'd round up.

House Arrest is the story of Pippa, pregnant and on house arrest for the accidental death of her daughter during a cult ritual to celebrate the winter solstice. Visiting nurse Emily is assigned the case and, big surprise, the two develop a friendship.

There are definitely flaws here a
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a new fast-paced, plot-driven novel by nurse/activist Ellen Meeropol. (Who, interestingly, is married to the son of the Rosenbergs. Yes, those Rosenbergs.) I believe it's due to hit bookstore shelves at the beginning of February.
I really liked the medical aspects and I was definitely drawn in to the story. But I didn't love the writing and I thought most of the characters were pitiable, not likeable. So hence the three stars. Here's my full review at The Blue Bookcase: http://thebluebook
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in ethical and moral decisions
Recommended to Mary by: I found out about it because of Goodreads!
Shelves: political, fiction
A very well written first novel. I love getting inside people's heads and she does this well. The story of two women who each carry baggage from their past, and how their unlikely friendship unfolds. It's got some great chances at making decisions based on doing what's right, despite the consequences. Pippa is in a "cult" and under house arrest. Emily is the nurse assigned to her case because Pippa is pregnant. Their story unfolds and Pippa asks Emily to help her do something illegal and risky. ...more
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it
The story of Emily, a home nurse who gets assigned the case of Pippa, a pregnant cult member who is under house arrest in connection with a tragedy that befell her daughter. Told from many different viewpoints, the story shows how the situation Pippa is in would be taken at face value, and why it would be wrong to do so. The characters are lovely and well drawn (apart from the character of Sam, who I had a hard time remembering who he was and why he was given a unique perspective, instead of Ann ...more
Dori Ostermiller
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual and surprising read that slowly heats to a boil; by the last third, I was having trouble putting it down! Meeropol's characters are well-drawn and sympathetic; she creates psychological complexity and back-story in precise, elegant strokes, while never losing sight of her plot. Nicely paced and nuanced. A satisfying and thought-provoking story that allows us to examine the ways in which we judge each other and ourselves, and the circumstances under which true compassion can be ...more
Naomi Blackburn
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of two books that I am wrapping up right now that I am going to have to think on how to review it...Normally, I form an opinion on a book within the first 50 pages that rarely changes. The book def. earned 4 stars..the confusion in my review comes as to why the 4 had a main character who should have disgusted me, yet she didn't...and the one that shouldn't have disgusted me, made me ill. Crazy world...craaazy!
Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe this is a first novel! It is mesmerizing. Fantastic, page-turning plot. I especially appreciated the range of diverse characters, all with flaws, but all understandable and sympathetic because of the shifting points of view and the insights we gain into these people. I am a former social worker who really identified with the dilemma the main character faces with her "client." Highly recommended!
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
A strange book. I read it for a book club, and I doubt I would have ever read it on my own. I think it could have been better if it had delved further into Emily's and Pippa's past. Their past defines each of them, and you do know what happens. But it could be explained further. Especially with Pippa.
Tamiya Bates
Nov 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
so I bought this book because it had been on my to read list for years. I was very disappointed with it. first off I feel that the writing style was awful. way to much extra that was unnecessary try the storyline, like it was just page filler. second every time I picked up the book I could only read one chapter before I was so bored. ugg i hate rating books like this but it's how I felt about it.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Read this novel after hearing the author talk about her 2nd novel. Intriguing story with a moral and ethical dilemma. The character Emily is draining and it seemed that the conclusion quickly resolved many of the issues described in the first 5/6 of the book. Would be a good novel for health care practitioners to read.
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Ellen Meeropol is the author of three novels, Kinship of Clover (2017), House Arrest (2011) and On Hurricane Island (2015). A former pediatric nurse practitioner, Ellen began seriously writing fiction in her fifties. She holds an MFA from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. Her stories and essays have appeared in Guernica, Bridges, Portland Magazine, Pedestal, Writers Chron ...more
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