So, I’m reading this book, The Coach House by Florence Osmund. I’m 200 pages into this 351 page book (57% of the way through), and here’s the thing that is really standing out to me: there has yet to be a single mention of a coach house. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even see the word coach by itself in this book yet! So I’m very confused here.
I can’t even say for sure if I like the book or not. In fact, I don’t think my confusion is limited to just where the title came from. What I know about the book: The main characters are named Marie and Richard, and they are married. They live in Chicago in the late 1940s, and she works at Marshall Field’s. And…that’s it. The rest is confusing. They live in a house that is sometimes an apartment. Time doesn’t run in a straight line, and you can bounce back and forth between their present day and their past…or maybe it’s still in the present, but then there’s mention of the wedding that still has to happen, so maybe it’s the past after all. I really don’t know.
There’s a guy that lives across the street that may or may not be a cop, and Richard may or may not be selling medical supplies or actually running a gambling ring or something like that. Marie isn’t sure of…well, anything, really. Maybe that’s why I’m so confused? Maybe I’m supposed to feel as confused and disoriented as Marie does?
To be honest, I don’t even know what genre this is supposed to be. My first thought, from reading the blurb when I got it, was that it was a mystery, or maybe a romantic suspense. But there’s no suspense, at least not for me. There’s a lot of mystery, but it’s not the kind of mystery I’m used to. It’s more like a lot of confusions and misunderstandings that could be cleared up if Marie would just grow a spine and talk to her husband and ask him just what the hell is going on.
I’m still reading the book, but at this point, it’s mainly because I’ve come so far that really want to finish, just to be able to say that I did. I feel like I’m being dragged through the story, really. There’s so much that’s just about the usually daily parts of life – there’s literally even a scene that includes her using the toilet! I realize we all use the bathroom, but I don’t think I need it spelled out for me that the characters in the book do, too. Interspersed with all this daily life is the occasional tidbit that starts to build toward suspense or mystery (such as the scraping sounds upstairs in an otherwise empty house), but then she immediately drops that to go back to boring daily details.
There are plenty of loose ends in this book that I’m waiting to see tied up. But I think, right now, my biggest question is: Where the heck is this coach house that was apparently so important the entire book was named after it?!
Tell me, have you read this book? Will I ever find the coach house or is this a fruitless search? Will I be happy when I get to the end – and I don’t just mean happy that I got to the end, but happy as in satisfied with the book and its ending? Or should I just get drunk to finish stumbling through?