Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

I received this book from The Next Best Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

“Her blood ran red like any other warm-blooded American woman, but Bunny knew her insides were inky black, a mixture of oil and water she’d never be free of. Oil tied her to Texas, to her oil baron family, to her husband, a barrel-chested man as big as the state itself. Water tied her to her mother. And the two co-existed inside her like a quiet disease,” (Stewart 3).

Bunny lives in her gorgeous Dallas home as the perfect housewife, making pot roasts for her husband and that the home is fit and perfect as everyone else’s on the street. Actress Jessica moves to Dallas hoping to escape the LA life, and perhaps cause a little drama and excitement in the process. Amanda buys the old house as a contestant on a new house-flipping reality TV show. All three women are from different times, living very different lives in the same house in the American south.

The concept for Foundations intrigued me. I liked the idea of seeing the lives of three women from different times live very different lives in the same house. It was interesting seeing how different Bunny, Jessica, and Amanda’s lives were from one another as well as how they furnished and kept the house to each of their personalities and times. I liked how each character’s perspective referenced the house as it was before in some way, whether it was acknowledging the previous owner or some design of the house that the current owner changed to suit her interests. I understand the significance of it all, of how these three established and found an understanding of themselves in this house that worked to who they were as a person, and I think Stewart did a great job laying down the groundwork. I just wanted more.

Of the three women we follow Bunny is the most developed. A barren housewife in the 1950s/60s, her life consists of living the way she is expected and keeping up house and appearance to appear as the good little housewife she is expected to be though she longs for more. Bunny has a great backstory, her own struggles and grief and journey that felt complete in the end. I expected more from Jessica’s story, an actress who buys the house to escape from LA. She was an interesting character, mysterious, and Stewart kept a lot of her backstory hidden for a kind of twist/shock value that I understand, but I would have liked a bit more pieces to put together before the big revelation. While I understand that Jessica’s story wasn’t set during the time of the #MeToo movement (I think it was the 80s/90s), I wish Stewart had gone deeper into her past. Even though it wasn’t during the #MeToo movement these things have been happening in Hollywood for so long that so much more could have been said! Amanda had the least amount of character, a modern-day influencer participating in a house flipping reality TV show. I will say that I loved how Stewart wrote her, from the bullet journalling and daily manifestations, I think Stewart did a great job in showing the dangers of influencer culture and losing oneself in the image we create for public consumption.

Stewart lays down some great foundations (I know) for these characters, but each woman only gets about fifty pages for her story to be told, which is fine, but there was so much potential to dig deeper with these characters. It felt like just as I was getting to know these women I had to say goodbye and be introduced to a new one. I would have loved a bit more time in their world, in their lives, to really appreciate their journey into who they become.

To be a little nit-picky, there were some spelling errors (taught instead of taut, Lady MacBeth instead of Lady Macbeth), but I was also given an uncorrected proof. So I’m sure these mistakes will be fixed in the final printing!

Foundations is a wonderful novel that uses the setting of one house to excellently convey the personalities, wants, and needs of the three women we follow. My only wish is that it had been a bit longer!

75617440._SY475_Publication: March 10th 2023
Publisher: Whisk(e)y Tit
Pages: 153 pages (PDF)
Source: TNBBC (Thanks Lori!)
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤.5
Summary:

A steely-eyed feminist, multi-generational novel, Foundations is told in three parts following the lives of three women — a housewife, a Hollywood actress, and a reality TV show contestant — all living in the same Dallas house in different eras, whose experiences parallel the history of women’s rights struggles in the American south.

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