The House on Willow Street

A novel

The House on Willow Street

Set in an idyllic village named Avalon, a warm and wonderful new novel from Ireland’s #1 bestselling author.

 #1 international bestselling author Cathy Kelly’s writing is “warm, lyrical, and fascinating” (Marian Keyes) and “rich with the emerald allure of the Irish landscape” (Publishers Weekly). In The House on Willow Street, four women discover that home isn’t where you come from, but where you are meant to be. . . .

Every picture-perfect village tells a story. . . .

The Irish seaside town of Avalon is a tourist’s dream of quaint shops and welcoming cafés. Avalon House, perched at the end of Willow Street, was in Tess Power’s family for generations. Now Tess ekes out a living from her antiques shop while the crumbling mansion awaits a new owner. Her marriage and business may be floundering, but her affection for Avalon is undimmed. The same can’t be said of her glamorous sister. Suki left without a backward glance and married into an American political dynasty. Only a muckraking biographer could send her slinking back to Ireland to escape a scandal.

Postmistress Danae watches from the sidelines, doling out gentle advice while locking away her own secrets. Then her unconventional niece Mara comes to stay and draws her lonely aunt back into the world. As autumn gives way to winter, the four women encounter old loves, embrace new friendships, and begin to look beyond the past to the possibilities just beginning to unfold.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 496 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451681406 | 
  • January 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The House on Willow Street includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Tess Power is shocked to discover her world crumbling around her. Newly separated from her husband and on the verge of bankruptcy, her pain only deepens when her former fiancé and first love suddenly returns and buys her beloved childhood home. Set in the Irish coastal town of Avalon, The House on Willow Street tells Tess’s story, as well as the story of three other women—Suki, Danae and Mara—all of whom must come to terms with their past in order to understand their future.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. The novel opens with Danae as the narrator. Musing on the thunderstorm, Danae thinks: “People who’d never felt the pure darkness of life itself were scared when night fell. People who understood the darkness knew that lack of light wasn’t the problem.” (pg. 13) Do you think that darkness and the inevitable pain of living are central to Danae’s philosophy on life? If so, why?
2. Discuss the ways in which Tess’s see more

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About the Author

Cathy Kelly
Sven Arnstein

Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly is the Irish bestselling author of twelve other novels, many of which have been number one bestsellers in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. She lives in Ireland with her husband and twin sons. In 2005 she was appointed an ambassador for UNICEF Ireland. Contact her on Twitter at @cathykellybooks or follow her on Facebook or at