The Good House by Ann Leary (St. Martin’s, Jan.) absorbs through your skin. From page one, I was pulled into the lives of the people in this small coastal New England town where each person has known each other’s families for generations. Each is intertwined in the history of the other. The main character, Hildy Good, justifies her escalating drinking problem and denial as part of the natural order of things. She is witty, intuitive, and intricately connected to the fiber of the community. Her problem is no secret to anyone, and many do their part to help her address it, but hoping for her wakeup call does not keep the reader from loving her or this book. The characters are intimate, the book moves along, the family is real, and I like them all. I didn’t want this book to end.

Alice Hutchinson, Byrd’s Books, Bethel, Conn.