Cover Image: Like a House on Fire

Like a House on Fire

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Member Reviews

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book I’ve enjoyed this much. As a 40 year old married mom of three this book could not have been more relatable. Brayer wrote the bisexual representation that has been missing from all modern literature. Listen, being married to the opposite sex does not confirm one’s orientation, you can choose any spouse you want and still identify as bisexual. I loved this beautiful story as a  highlight the spectrum of love and the courage it takes to honor your heart even when the choice is against the momentum of your current life. I adored this touching capture of two friends, who discovered the depth of their affection and didn’t shy away from the possibility of a real and passionate, once in a lifetime love. Thank you so much for an advanced copy of this debut!
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Wow. Wow wow wow. I could tell I was going to love this book after the first few pages and it did not disappoint. 

A truly beautiful, heartbreaking, sexy, magnetic piece of writing. The relationship between Merit and Jane was captivating and hilarious and made me want to scream “GIRLS RULE” a bunch of times. 

The writing was also fantastic and the storytelling so vivid. The characters all had distinct personalities and it was so easy to picture each of them in this little world McBrayer created. It was also refreshing to read about characters who were all in their late 30s-60s as most of the books I read these days involve people closer to my own age, and are therefore usually more relatable. That being said, I still felt like I was able to relate to Merit in so many ways and really enjoyed following her journey throughout the book. 

If you are interested in a story about falling in and out of love, about being torn between who you are and who you want to be….read this book. You won’t be disappointed. 

Rounding up from 4.5 stars.
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I really liked the first half of the story, but without giving too much felt like the second half kinda dragged on after the pivotal decision was made. I gave this four stars due to the ending.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the chance to read and review Lauren McBrayer's Like a House on Fire.  This is a wonderfully character focused story of a woman, Merit, at a cross roads in her life as she examines her identities as a wife, mother, and artist/architect and mostly just who she is and who she wants to be.  There are timely and relatable themes on motherhood and the mental load that women, all women (stay at home moms, working moms, working women... all women) navigate at various points in their days. There are genuine examinations of complex relationships, particularly those that unfold at work but then outside of work and how to balance and integrate those experiences into one relationship, and there are timely details on women's lives and experiences in midlife.  

As a relatively new mom, and a working mom, I was very connected to much of how Merit felt while balancing home and work and emotional labor and how she felt great joy at being at work and the feelings of what that meant about her as a mother.  I appreciated this part of the story the most ( I could have written that whole first birthday party scene down the beer run) but I also enjoyed how Merit learned to understand herself in new ways, not just as a person in relation to others but as a person in relation to herself, someone with talent and ambition and a lot of opportunities to explore for herself and for herself with others.  I thought that was a subtle but present theme that stood out to me as it gave Merit important depth and dimension.  Ultimately this story to me is one of self growth, identity, change, and seeing opportunity and hope, that midlife is just a series of new beginnings for many women (what a wonderful theme).

This is an excellent book for book clubs, especially those seeking books about women's lives and representation of sexuality and love and as noted the ever present mental load and I think this will be a wonderful book for me to discuss with many working mothers who I value as friends, they too will feel seen I think in these pages.  Highly recommend!  A full review will be shared on my website and other social media sites in April near publication date; small preview review will be on instagram and my website soon to support pre-orders as well.

where to find my review around publication date:
and this one is already listed on some of my lists as a affiliate
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This is a romance - an unhappy, unfulfilled woman is looking to reset her life. In the process of reassessing a seemingly good life, her unlikable husband is replaced with a more likeable woman, a new approach to life and an honest evaluation as to what really makes life happy.
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This was written well- as in, the writing pulled you in and kept me reading. With that being said, it definitely fell short for me-merit’s husband was extremely unlikable and it made it hard to understand why she’d be so torn about leaving him. Also, the prolonged affair was just uncomfortable to read. I wanted to root for merit and Jane, but the constant deception was shitty and I just kept wishing for her to be honest with him and choose her happiness and her truth. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley)

It felt like the nothing really happened in the first half before finally picking up. I also feel like it was more a romance story which is probably why this one just wasn't really for me.
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Oh wow. This book surprised me. It was so real, and so beautifully told. That said I'm not sure I love the ending, but I will definitely recommend this one and read more from this author.
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5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I would definitely be recommending this book to readers on my Instagram bookstagram account.
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I'm sorry to say that LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE was not for me. I'm sure some readers will enjoy it.

First, let me be clear, I was pulling for Merit and Jane and enjoyed many aspects of their relationship. I felt they should end up together, so that means the author did her job there.

However, most of the narrative felt plodding and tiresome. I just wasn't all that interested in (for example) pages of complaints about a child's birthday party and that sort of thing. I understand the intent was to show Merit's day-to-day life, but I found myself losing interest.

Also, at times, the prose comes across as somewhat choppy or blunt.

The ending, while satisfying in some respects, doesn't really let the reader in. The jump forward in time means the reader feels left out. We don't know how the characters arrived there, which honestly, might have made for a more interesting story.
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Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so well written and I was highly invested in the outcome. It has been quite some time since I read a story that captures so well what can happen to a woman that has a life that so some seems enviable. Instead, she is unhappy and unfulfilled. When she returns to work and begins to feel like herself again, she meets Jane, her boss, and eventually the object of her desire. I won't give any more away, but I really loved how they delved into more than just her feelings for Jane. We get to see her dealing with what it means to be a good mom as well as a whole person and how relationships change over time. I really liked the gradual buildup in her attraction to Jane and I think it was handled well and realistically.
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I don't have the words to adequately express how much I adore this book. This might very well be the best book I've read in 2021.. and it doesn't even come out until 2022. I started reading it yesterday afternoon and finished before going to bed last night. I could not put this book down! Sometimes a story comes into your life right at the exact moment you need to read it. Like a House on Fire was that book for me. I'm so grateful I was given the opportunity to read it!

I feel sad for everyone who has to wait until release day to experience this beautiful, complicated story that made me laugh so many times while also ripping out my guts. It's worth the wait, though.. I promise!
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Interesting story with a fast-paced, page turn feel. Whilst this seems to be marketed as a literary novel, I feel in would be better suited, marketing wise, as a romance. I couldn't stand the husband and he seemed to have no redeemable qualities.  It was a good read, but nothing in particular stood out to me.
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Family drama at its best. Great read.

Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it..
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Like a House on Fire is like no other book I have read. The storyline was beautifully authentic and complex: a married woman navigating the dualities of life, sexual fluidity, and love, but what captivated me the most was how the author wrote Merit’s character. I have never been so different from a character but also able to identify with one in so many ways. Merit’s thought process, how and why she chose certain things to say and other things to keep to herself, and her raw humor and at times incomprehensible emotions made her so lifelike that at the very end of the book, which I had to re read because I was so shocked, I was reminded she was only fiction.
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I burned through this book, like a house on fire! I thoroughly enjoyed Lauren McBrayer's debut novel about a woman about to turn forty who has lost herself in her marriage, spurring her to return to work and therefore find a woman who causes her to question everything.  I loved Jane's character, strong, witty, self assured and I enjoyed the banter between these two female characters.  Much of the time I was paging through this plot, wondering how it would all work out, expecting to hit the point of destruction, so I felt the ending was a bit anticlimactic, even though I enjoyed the twist.  Overall, a fun read that I am sure readers will be looking forward to!

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group for the ARC!
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Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer was okay. It felt underdeveloped in some areas, but overall, it was a strong story.
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Well, I have some complex feelings about this book: firstly it seems like more queer romance story than contemporary fiction.

 I loved the real struggle of the main character Merit who suffers to find her place in the earth, questioning her marriage, her life choices, doing everything to handle the high stress of her profession and compelling family management tasks at the same time. She keeps questioning her own happiness and identity. Those facts help us connect and empathize with the character.

  Merit starts to live a stranger’s life after being married with the most dislikable man in the fictional world for twelve years , raising two kids as stay at home mom. 

After five years of absence, she decides to return back her job as architect, applying positions at several firms. She’s finally accepted by older-wiser- attractive Jane’s company. Two women’s friendship blossoms into something deeper which pushes Merit out of comfort zone and make radical changes in her life. 

  But the love story part of the story needs more development. I found Merit and Jane’s love story a little far fetched and instant just like a Cupid threw its arrows to their hearts and they magically realize they are right for each other! And somebody has to convince me why the hell Merit doesn’t dump her scumbag husband’s ass who can win thousands of trophies as the most irritating and despicable fictional husband of literature world! 

  I found some parts a little haphazard and underdeveloped. The conclusion was also semi satisfying. The plot idea was good enough to keep my interest intact and the pacing of the book was fast. I never got bored. But I didn’t enjoy everything I read. There were some missing pieces including the development of love story, contradictions and final conclusion. 

  So I’m giving  three neither I hate or love it, I’m standing at the Switzerland zone stars! 

  It’s still interesting, fast pacing, pop corn read if you ignore cheesy and over dramatic parts!

Special thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP PUTNAM/ G. P. Putnam’s Sons for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
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Rating: 5/5


Two woman architects? gay relationship? finding true love? sign me up. 
I was so excited to find this book because 1. I'm an architect major who loves seeing books about the main characters being architects, especially women, and 2. gay relationships. This book did not disappoint. While Merit was struggling to find who she was after having two kids and being a stay-at-home mom, she applies to work at an Architecture firm to make sure of the Bachelors degree she got at Cornell. When she goes for an interview, she finds this riveting 60 yr old architect who goes by the name of Jane who she takes to an immediate liking, and the two hit it off. The story goes into how Merit got back on her feet and how her relationship or friendship with Jane developed and started to turn into something more. I loved how this story didn't rush their friendship or how they got involved, it made everything seem more real and exciting. Getting to see them develop feelings for each other slowly, but also tackles hard life lessons like Merit questioning if she should leave her husband, or questioning her validation as a mother of two. It was a bit heartbreaking seeing her struggle to want to be selfish and be with Jane, but also not wanting to break her family apart and separate from her husband. The author did an amazing job and telling this story and I just loved everything about it. 

A big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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First, thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was just absolutely not what I was expecting it to be.  I was really expecting a contemporary fiction on marriage and how difficult it is.  Times change, things change - you can stay in or out, but from the synopsis I got those vibes.  This is what I wanted.

It's just not what I got.

The husband was dreadfully unlikeable.  Which, I realize those husbands exist, but it didn't make the book readable to me.  Merit also got on my last nerve.  She was so naive, and for her, it was a knock in the believability category.

In regard to Jane - the entire relationship felt predatory.  From the hiring of Merit to how they began.  I didn't get further, because I had to DNF, but I felt very uncomfortable.  If Jane was a man, I would have been just as uncomfortable - it would have been very much a position of a man taking advantage of a subordinate.  I did not like this storyline.

I read there's a twist; is a twist necessary in a book like this?  I don't think so.  Who's to say though?  I didn't finish.
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