The Hoarder – Jess Kidd

The spellbinding tale of a lonely caregiver and a cranky hoarder with a house full of secrets.

Maud Drennan is a dedicated caregiver whose sunny disposition masks a deep sadness.

A tragic childhood event left her haunted, in the company of a cast of prattling saints who pop in and out of her life like tourists. Other than visiting her agoraphobic neighbor, Maud keeps to herself, finding solace in her work and in her humble existence–until she meets Mr. Flood.

Cathal Flood is a menace by all accounts. The lone occupant of a Gothic mansion crawling with feral cats, he has been waging war against his son’s attempts to put him into an old-age home and sent his last caretaker running for the madhouse. But Maud is this impossible man’s last chance: if she can help him get the house in order, he just might be able to stay. So the unlikely pair begins to cooperate, bonding over their shared love of Irish folktales and mutual dislike of Mr. Flood’s overbearing son.

Still, shadows are growing in the cluttered corners of the mansion, hinting at buried family secrets, and reminding Maud that she doesn’t really know this man at all. When the forgotten case of a missing schoolgirl comes to light, she starts poking around, and a full-steam search for answers begins.

Packed with eccentric charms, twisted comedy, and a whole lot of heart, The Hoarder is a mesmerizing tale that examines the space between sin and sainthood, reminding us that often the most meaningful forgiveness that we can offer is to ourselves

About the Author: 

Jess Kidd was brought up in London as part of a large family from county Mayo and has been praised for her unique fictional voice. Her debut, Himself, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2016. She won the Costa Short Story Award the same year. Her second novel, The Hoarder, published as Mr. Flood’s Last Resort in the U.S. and Canada was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2019. Both books were BBC Radio 2 Book Club Picks. Her latest book, the Victorian detective tale Things in Jars, has been released to critical acclaim. Jess’s work has been described as ‘Gabriel García Márquez meets The Pogues.’

My Review:

Oh my word!  This is my first book by Jess Kidd and I will be downloading Things in Jars and Himself immediately after finishing this review.  I listened to The Hoarder on Audible and I need to let you know that the narration by Aoife McMahon is simply divine and her beautiful voice brought all the characters to life in the most magical and charming way.  I was completely mesmerised throughout.

The Hoarder is about Maud Drennan, a carer who finds herself looking after Cathal Flood in his filthy but imposing mansion Bridlemere.  With a reputation of an angry, aggressive and very cranky old man Cathal Flood is an imposing giant of a man and yet Maud Drennan isn’t concerned, because she’s surrounded by Saints and Spirit Guides who in their own amusing way look out for her.

Maud is Cathal’s last hope and unless she can clear the clutter and sort Cathal out, he will shipped off to a home courtesy of his overbearing and dis-likeable son Gabriel, however when Maud starts the mammoth task of cleaning and clearing Bridlemere, she uncovers some strange belongings and opens up some closely hidden secrets including the “accidental” death of Cathal’s wife and the news clippings of a missing 15 year old girl.

This book has some incredible and fascinating characters including Renata, Maud’s agoraphobic but eccentric neighbour and closest friend who is determined to help Maud find out what happened to Cathal’s wife and delve deeper into his background and family.

The Hoarder is a tale of two lost souls who find each other in unusual circumstances and despite all their differences become unlikely friends.  Beautifully narrated and an absolutely joy to listen to.  Highly recommended.

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