What’s Your Favourite Book Jackie Maxted?

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Author: Marilynne Robinson

Jackie Maxted is the woman behind www.beautyheaven.com.au and this week we asked her about her favourite book of all time which is Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.

“I love it for so many reasons! I first read it about two months ago. After reading and absolutely loving another of Marilynne Robinson’s books, Home, I just had to get my hands on this, which is her first novel. It’s a beautifully told tale of various characters within a family, over three generations, struggling to cope.

It starts with the death of a young father – he is in a tragic train accident which sees it plunge into a deep lake never to be recovered. From there the story weaves through to his grandchildren who are left motherless after she commits suicide. Various other family members look after the two little girls but eventually they are left with an inept aunt who, although well-intentioned, simply doesn’t have the skills to look after a family.


It’s understated, intelligent and thoughtful. It’s one of the most gentle stories you could ever read yet deals with tragedy and loss without emotional over-indulgence. It always maintains a childlike innocence but is deep, rich and difficult at the same time. Sometimes you just have to read one of her sentences out aloud because they are so poetic. I found it challenging as a parent too. The book portrays a highly unorthodox approach to looking after children. The book also delves into notions of family history and connection with our elders – how much do we follow them and how much are we ‘of’ them. It’s sad, but somehow light and hopeful too.

It’s not an easy book to get in to, in fact I had to read the first forty pages twice! I’d recommend freeing up a good couple for hours to get involved with the characters but after that it is just such a great book that no other author quite hits the mark for a while!”

Get it from Amazon: Housekeeping: A Novel

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