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THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis Power


THE CLOVER HOUSE is an interesting first novel which takes us on a journey to Greece; not only present day Greece but how life was lived during World War II. It is a story which indicates how a vibrant landowning, wealthy family can be completely changed by war and how it proceeds to change the family patterns in the next generations.

The story centers on a family secret that no one is sharing with the youngest member of the present generation – Calliope.  When Calliope’s only uncle dies she must dive into the contents of his home to figure out what message he is attempting to relay to her.  Calliope has a tough relationship with her Greek Mother and has spent the majority of her formative years living in the New England area of the USA where her American Father brought his new bride.  Summers were spent with her Mother’s family in Greece, where Callie has developed a close relationship with her Aunts, Uncle and one cousin.  Calliope has a problem with attachment to people, particularly her mother and since the death of her father her close knit family in Greece.  It is causing problems with her recent engagement also.

I do not think THE CLOVER HOUSE is about PTSD carried to the next generation, I think rather it is about SHAME from childhood confusions, teenage rebellions, fear and survival carried over from the experience of War into the future.   While I was reading this novel, I read these three quotes shared by Brene’ Brown, a psychology researcher, on her Blog and I thought they clarified this behavior extremely well.

“Shame diminishes our capacity for empathy.“   “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”   And from the book Shame & Guilt by Tangney and Dearing “ …feelings of shame are so painful that it pulls the focus to our own survival, not the experience of other”.

I had a hard time feeling the rhythm of the writing in the beginning of the story, then when the story began unfolding and I found the pacing; I could not put the book down.  I loved the cultural differences showcased and explored by the cultural bi-participant.   I have empathy for my parents leaving closely tied family to live far away in another country and yet how my mother particularly grew closer to her siblings as they aged.

I enjoyed the descriptions of farm life and business during the war and the contemporary Carnival experience of Lent played out as a metaphor for the resurrection which brought about atonement – enlightenment- understanding.   There was need of a great many of the details and fine tuning to create this layered story allowing for healing; maybe even redemption and connection.

This book goes on sale April 2, 2013 and I was sent an uncorrected eBook by Ballantine Books/Random House and TLC online Tours. It was a good read and there is a giveaway being offered by the Publishers.   You need to make a comment to win a copy of THE CLOVER HOUSE.

I would truly appreciate if you would share this book review with your social media friends by using the buttons below.  Thank you.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site or Google Ads, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Other Words To Enjoy:
Capital of the World
30 Days With My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

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21 Responses to “THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis Power”

  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea Says:

    I would read this one. I like the cover as well.
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    Patricia Reply:

    Diane. I liked this one a great deal and all the new rhythms and cultural patterns were refreshing

  2. Talon Says:

    I liked the title immediately. I’m glad the pacing straightened itself out for you, Patricia. I’d give this one a try based on your review!

    Patricia Reply:

    Talon,
    I liked all the differences in this book and it turned out to be a good read. I had to free up my original thoughts about the story and explore the metaphor and the feelings.
    I think you would like it and discovering what the Clover House is.

  3. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – They say a writer has less than 30-seconds to catch a potential reader’s attention. Hence, the book’s cover and jacket flap are of vital importance. I’d grab this book off the shelf based on the cover alone!

    Patricia Reply:

    This book has a great cover Laurie – though I read a proof copy and did not have that luxury until the post details came through.

    It is also about coming of age during the War….so many interesting insights…

    I am sure you will enjoy this one…
    Found all the things in your picture when I clicked and made it bigger – and put it on my PC monitor and put on my glasses for the computer! ha ha on me – no the phone was not possible to see much detail.

  4. suZen Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    This sounds good – well, ALL your reviews are! I’m in the new home now, surrounded by BOXES and boxes of books – can’t imagine what it will be like to be living in some fashion of organization here but I know this too (the chaos) shall pass! At least I’m ALL here now and that in itself is great progress!
    Hugs
    SuZen

    Patricia Reply:

    Suzen,
    We just moved my youngest across the state for a job promotion – wow it is a big job and I can just picture you amidst all the boxes and boxes and boxes.

    Thank you for the kind words. The book is a good read and different – I like it – I would like my book group to read it.
    Patricia recently posted..THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis PowerMy Profile

  5. Sara Says:

    Patricia,

    I also noticed what you said about the pace of the book. I’ve run across this in books and, like you, have found the book will eventually settle and I will get the pace. It reminds me listening to music and the first time you listen to a song and it doesn’t quite win you over, but then listen again and suddenly you realize how much you like it.

    Your descriptions of the books you read are well done, as is your honesty about them.

    Another excellent review, Patricia:~)
    Sara recently posted..The teller’s lore of the cellar’s doorMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Suzen,
    We just moved my youngest across the state for a job promotion – wow it is a big job and I can just picture you amidst all the boxes and boxes and boxes.

    Thank you for the kind words. The book is a good read and different – I like it – I would like my book group to read it.
    Patricia recently posted..THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis PowerMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Sara,
    I think the author has a different rhythm to her language at home too – I liked the different pacing and thinking shared in this book – refreshing
    The cover is a great hook and although I had to start the book about 3 times, I knew it would be worth the read.

    Yes music is like that too –
    It is a good read Sara and I hope we can pick a great winner of a copy –

    Next week I do not have a book to review – I am feeling a bit lost about what to write! I like the reviews as a prompt.
    Like your prompts..
    But then in May I have several back to back reviews…how lucky am I?
    Patricia recently posted..THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis PowerMy Profile

  6. Alexis Says:

    Patricia,

    Thanks so much for your review of this book! I am glad people are talking about this topic more and things are out in the open. I grew up in a Greek household and it was really tough and I had to find myself on my own. You are very sheltered and overprotected, not allowed to be yourself, as you are constantly scolded and even hit. that is how Greek parents do things, so even if you accidentally spill something, you are hit, because that is the only way mom knows how to deal with the situation. She was always angry and had wrinkles from a very early age. She sacrificed everything for her children and left nothing for herself, which I find very twisted. You are also raised with superstitions and beliefs which are not true and the constant fear of things. Not cool for a younster.

    Greek women are forced to marry and divorce is out of the question for the past generations, so I think older couples are stuck with each other no matter what and the kids suffer in part due to this. Most of life is lived for appearance’s sake, because what will the others say and think of you?

    I know I said a lot here, but you hit a cord and I think I had to let this out, as I have been dealing with this very thing lately. But thank goodness I ragained my sanity and just look at my mother as another soul and laugh off her weird ways, because they are not true! I have come a long way from my sad childhood.

    patricia Reply:

    Alexis,
    Yes there was a great deal of hitting and yelling in Calliope’s childhood and it was a part of the book.
    Also her cousin was attempting to change this with her 9 year old child. Lots of attachment issues and figuring out where one belongs.

    Welcome, welcome and you helped me make some sense of parts of the story. I had a good friend in High School who was Greek living with 2 generations in OHIO. She could only be friends at school – but I cherished her for reaching out to the newcomer in 11th grade.

    Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. It is a very healing book. Welcome

  7. Alexis Says:

    Thanks Patricia. I apologize for the typos. I’m on a smartphone and the autocorrect.

    Greek culture is very, very complex. Though it is rich with the best cuisine, the wisdom of the ancients and really good, healthy living, it’s also very tiring keeping up with all that you say to everybody, gossiping, which includes burying the person gossiped about. The gossips never understood that it is mostly a reflection on them and not the one gossiped about, but they live in their own bubble spitting own venom it seems one day they will choke on that. For an orthodox culture, they are far from that, for Jesus taught not to gossip in the first place. Part if the shame comes from this aspect and I remember the first time feeling embarrassed when I went to Greek school because you just can never be yourself there, you have to be like them. This taints your sense if self and you spend most of adulthood finding yourself.

    I’m so glad and relieved things are changing within the culture now like dating (you are allowed to date only the person you will marry) and guys can do what they want but most are mama’s boys and end up living with her and don’t marry at all. Women don’t either, if they don’t find a Greek man. At least the cases I know.

    The Greek Independence Day parade is coming up, so now you have a glimpse of what it is like on the inside of the Greek-American dynamic. It is actually more free in Greece, since Greek Americans still hold onto the culture from the turn if the 20th century.

    I am still very proud to be Greek, don’t get me wrong, I have scars to prove it!

    patricia Reply:

    Alexis,
    I am certainly appreciating all your good sharing on this book – have you read this book?

    You have added greatly to the Mother character in this book – who withdraws into herself in the USA life and is ignored by her sisters when she is in Greece for the summers because she just wants to appear beautiful and poised and not talk about anything or gossip. I think her SHAME comes from what she did as a teenager during the war – that cost her family a great deal, including their business – changed their whole future ( It is even bigger than this statement what she did, but it would be a spoiler to mention it here)

    I think the author was about finding herself too as a Greek American. You make me want to visit Greece to understand even more – and taste the cultural and food delights.

    I know how hard it is to comment from a smart phone! I am not so good at that myself… and I have trouble correcting the voice memos

    Alexis Reply:

    Patricia,

    I highly recommend to everyone to visit Greece! It certainly is a magical, mystical place and I had a wonderful time while I lived there. you will love the food, as it will be the best you have ever tasted. And, generally, the air and sun do a lot of good to the body. I remember my acne clearing up while there and I was free!

    No, I have not read the book because, being Greek- American myself, do I really need to be exposed to any more sorrow than I have been already, just when I regained my mental health? These are deep issues for us, as we experience the “Greek pain”, as they call it. We may seem to party all the time, but we have to deal with each other and in that dealing, doubt ourselves in the process and then need to find ourselves again. I am not saying there is absolutely no support of sorts, but it is hard and you get bashed before you get supported.

    I am just adding to the picture as a Greek- American myself to second what the author is saying (I do not need to know the details, because I know the attitude). Also, it is very cathartic for me to write this and add my comments here, proving that I am in a much better place than I was not too long ago, so I have come a long way!

    And, yes, Greek mothers have their issues. But I learned to see mine in a new light.

    Thank you for your blog!

    Patricia Reply:

    Alexis,
    Thank you for your nice words about the blog – I work at sharing something I would like to read.

    I appreciate all your extra information about being Greek and a Greek-American. Your words make me want to visit and to re-read this book at a future date so that I can understand at a deeper level.

    Thank you so very much for sharing so generously with me and all the readers of this blog.

  8. Fanny Cordero Says:

    This sounds like a fascinating story. The mystery of the family secret, and the mother daughter relationship, is reminiscent of certain traditions in the Latino culture. I want to read this book!

    patricia Reply:

    Fanny,
    Thank you so much for dropping by and making a comment…It is a great book and I think it would be fantastic read for you book group. :)

  9. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    I have to admit that don’t know a great deal about Greek history so this would be a great way for me to learn something new.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    You are welcome Heather J and it is always a pleasure to find your check in here on the tour !

    I think you would enjoy this book very much and want a trip to Greece upon finishing it.