HousekeepingTitle: HouseKeeping
Author: Kim Fielding
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link Publisher Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary Novella
Length: 98
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Review by Zac D

Review Summary: A pleasant, unchallenging read.Perfect for a train journey home.

Blurb: When Nicky Hauser walks in on his restaurant-owner boyfriend having sex with a waiter, Nicky loses his lover, his job, and his home all in one night. Although he’s nearly thirty, he’s never settled on a true career, and he has nothing to show for his years with Tom. Depressed and unable to find work, Nicky ends up couch-surfing with friends until he lands a house-sitting gig for a wealthy family.

When Nicky’s clients discover that he loves to clean, demand for his services skyrockets. Word of mouth leads him to Spencer Cartwright, a busy computer consultant and a slob. Spencer and his wife divorced when he came out, but he’s never found the time or courage to settle down with a man. As Nicky sets Spencer’s house to rights, the two men find friendship. But Nicky’s past experiences make him wary of risking everything on love.

Review: Housekeeping is a well written, pleasant novella. Nicky Hauser is a young waiter, working and cohabiting with his boyfriend, Tom. One day he comes home from work to find Tom ‘balls deep’ in another man. It’s a classic conflict set up, but the author manages to dodge a big blow out and instead have Nicky pack his paltry possessions into some bags and slink away. The way this first plot point is written sets the tone for the whole book. This book is mild, easy reading, and everything plods along at a sedate pace.

After the break up with his lover, Nicky couch surfs for a while, disillusioned with life, until he somehow, and fortuitously lands a few housesitting jobs. Though I found this arc slightly ridiculous, I did appreciate the fact that Nicky was one of those folk you meet in real life, who don’t have a clear idea of what their role in the world is…a vocation, or an undeniable skill. In reality, most of us are like that, falling into jobs by accident, or muddling along in jobs we hate, and I liked Nicky’s ordinary backstory and point of view. His penchant for cleaning was as exciting as it sounds, but it somehow worked, and he was rather endearing.

His would-be love interest is Spencer, a single man who lives all alone in a great big house, who Nicky eventually ends up cleaning for. Spencer didn’t click with me. He was just there as someone for Nicky to fall for. He was dull, and uninspired, and I feel with a better character, this book would’ve been far more interesting.

The lack of sex bothered me too. I’m not saying every book has to be awash with smexin’, but with the absence of any substantial plot, the lack of physical interaction between the characters was a big problem. Nothing happens in this book. Literally, nothing.

On the other hand, I did kind of enjoy it. I read it after a crazy busy week, and it was just the thing to send me off to the land of slumber.

A good thing, or not? You decide. I’m not digging that cover, either. Try not to picture it when you think of Nicky.

2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.5 for the excellent technical quality of the writing. If only well placed commas made a captivating plot.




1 comment

  • Hi Zac D,
    I really hope I don’t step on your toes, but I have to give my two cents here. 😉 I read Housekeeping one or two weeks ago and, what can I say, I enjoyed it a lot. Yes, the novella is mild and nothing big really happens, it’s neither dramatic nor angsty, and the main characters are very much normal. They are everyday guys, just a little bit on the boring side and I think that’s the reason I liked both so much. I found it refreshing!
    After all the big and beautiful and musclebound guys (and all the cute little twinks), after all the adventures and mysteries and the big drama I read about, I found myself chuckling because of Nicky’s only talent: to clean. About his knowledge how to erase scuff marks (with a pencil eraser and toothpaste) and about his shock that there were people who had almost no cleaning supplies! 😮 But best of all were his thoughts, which you could read all along – his very dry thought, like “He mentally created a list of cleaning supplies he was going to need, maybe starting with a flamethrower”
    One of my favorite quots is this:
    “So, that’s about it”, Spencer said. “I haven’t scared you away, have I?”
    “I’ve seen worse.” That wasn’t exactly true.

    Perhaps I liked them so much for one reason alone: even slightly boring people find the one true love! You don’t have to be overly clever or extremely talented to find your missing half.
    So, once in a while it’s really sweet to read such a story and I very much enjoyed it.
    It’s a very different story than Kim Fielding’s other books like Brute, Good Bones or Speechless. But really, I think it’s great that she always tries other plots and people, in this case real everyday people. So sue me, I liked it! 😀

    About the lack of sex……
    I can remember a post here on this site, about this issue. About stories with so much sex, that there is no place left for plot. Okay, here is a story with almost no sex. I didn’t miss is very much. I think in this little story it worked just fine.
    But this is only my opinion. 🙂
    I would have given this story a nice 4.


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