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“Clever and accomplished . . . A little Irving, a little Doctorow, a little Winston Groom—[The Irresistible Henry House] is storytelling for story lovers; realism with an enchanting touch of fairy tale.”—Newsday
“Sweeps along with such page-turning vitality that [Henry’s] story is indeed irresistible. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly
In this captivating novel, bestselling author Lisa Grunwald gives us the sweeping tale of an irresistible hero and the many women who love him. In the middle of the twentieth century, in a home economics program at a prominent university, orphaned babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For Henry House, raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. From his earliest days as a “practice baby” through his adult adventures in 1960s New York City, Disney’s Burbank studios, and the delirious world of the Beatles’ London, Henry remains handsome, charming, universally adored—but unable to return the affections of the many women who try to lay claim to his heart. It is not until Henry comes face-to-face with the truths of his past that he finds a chance for real love.
Praise for The Irresistible Henry House
“Like T. S. Garp, Forrest Gump or Benjamin Button, Henry House, the hero of Grunwald’s imaginative take on a little-known aspect of American academic life, has an unusual upbringing. Grunwald nails the era just as she ingeniously uses Henry and the women in his life to illuminate the heady rush of sexual freedom (and confusion) that signifi ed mid-century life.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review, Pick of the Week)
“A smart, enjoyable read that will leave you with a pleasing thought: Even for guys who just aren’t that into anyone, there’s hope.”—People
“Truly extraordinary . . . Get ready for a story, an adventure, and a cast of characters you’ll never forget.”—Liz Smith
“Imaginatively picaresque and often gut-wrenching.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Grunwald’s novel runs parallel to perfection.”—Chicago Sun-Times
Like T.S. Garp, Forrest Gump or Benjamin Button, Henry House, the hero of Grunwald's imaginative take on a little known aspect of American academic life, has an unusual upbringing. In 1946, orphaned baby Henry is brought to all-girl's Wilton College as part of its home economics program to give young women hands-on instruction in child-rearing (such programs really existed). Henry ends up staying on at the practice house and growing up under the care of its outwardly stern but inwardly loving program director, Martha Gaines. As a protest against his unusual situation, Henry refuses to speak and is packed off to a special school in Connecticut, where his talents as an artist and future lover of women bloom. After he drops out of school, Henry finds work as an animator, working on Mary Poppins, then on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. With cameos by Dr. Benjamin Spock, Walt Disney and John Lennon, and locations ranging from a peaceful college campus to swinging 1960s London, Grunwald nails the era just as she ingeniously uses Henry and the women in his life to illuminate the heady rush of sexual freedom (and confusion) that signified mid-century life.