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The Boston Globe


Book review

‘The Carriage House’ by Louisa Hall

In her ambitious debut novel, “The Carriage House,’’ Louisa Hall takes on one of the giants: Jane Austen, specifically her 1818 classic “Persuasion.’’ Hall’s two epigraphs come from that novel, and there are many echoes throughout, both in style and substance. In particular, Hall’s characters struggle with the same emotion that Austen’s protagonist Anne did: regret. They pine for who they were, their younger, better selves. They rue the decisions they made. They mourn the losses.

But “The Carriage House’’ is not a page-by-page, 21st-century revision of Austen’s work. It has a much more intricate structure. Hall spins out her tale by dividing the novel’s 31 chapters into the alternating perspectives of the seven members of the Adair household living in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the summer of 2000.

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