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A HOUSE FULL OF WINDSOR by Kristin  Contino


by Kristin Contino

Pub Date: July 13th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-948018-99-9
Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

A TV presenter navigates her relationship with her hoarder mother in this novel.

Sarah Percy is a 30-year-old New Yorker with a tidy career plan and a strong fan base. Still, life isn’t nearly as easy as Sarah makes it sound in her “Sarah Says” lifestyle advice segment on Good Morning New York. Back in suburban Philadelphia, Sarah’s mother, Debbie, struggles with hoarding British royal family tchotchkes and memorabilia dating back to Prince Charles’ wedding to Diana Spencer. It’s a decadeslong issue that’s wreaked havoc on Debbie’s safety—she has to clear paths to get through the house—and, more significantly, on her relationships with her three adult children. When Sarah’s younger brother, Will, lands an associate producer position on the popular hoarder intervention show Stuff, he promises the higher-ups he will convince Debbie to star in an episode. Sarah takes time off to assist with the segment—much to the chagrin of her new boss, who is all too eager to replace her with the latest Bachelor runner-up. Sarah finds herself reluctantly enamored with the handsome, empathetic Stuff showrunner and host, Pierce Thompson. Meanwhile, Debbie takes stock of her house full of possessions, reflecting on how one drink with a charming stranger while studying abroad in 1981 London got her to this point, lonely and clinging to the past in her home. The impressive and enjoyable novel alternates between Debbie’s and Sarah’s points of view, giving sensitive perspectives of a hoarder who can’t stop shopping and the effects it’s had on her loved ones. Contino never reverts to reality TV stereotypes of a very real psychological issue, instead exploring the complex origins of Debbie’s compulsion, including an ill-fated shotgun marriage with a very sad end. But there’s plenty of genuine humor in the story, not to mention an abundance of love, as Sarah and her two siblings, twins Will and Anne, band together to repair their broken family once and for all.

A spectacular and addictive family tale that’s equal parts charm and depth.