Friday, April 24, 2015

The Residence
by Kate Anderson Brower

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family. 

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.


Kritters Thoughts:  Most books set in and around the White House involve the Secret Service members, but not this one - this one solely focuses on those members who stay in their jobs for a long long time, they are those who become very close with the families who live in these homes all for temporary stays and forego family and personal things for the sake of the First Family.  

I loved how this book was laid out by subject and not chronologically, so the author could easily group similar instances amongst the presidents in the same chapter.  It was fun to read similarities and differences among the families and their stays in the White House.  The two chapters that I would read over and over are the one the centers around the children of the Presidents and how their ages impacted their experiences in the White House and the other chapter was the tragedy chapter - JFK assassination and 9/11.  I have read many things about those two incidents, but it was different reading it through different eyes - those who live in the White House and experience those two events in very different ways from many people.  I loved it!

Whether you live near DC like me and find the White House and all things like it interesting or you just have a fascination with how this home is still a home to both the nation and a family, this book is the perfect read.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.



Wednesday, April 15th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Thursday, April 16th: The Well-Read Redhead
Monday, April 20th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Tuesday, April 21st: Stacy’s Books
Wednesday, April 22nd: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Thursday, April 23rd: Doing Dewey
Friday, April 24th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, April 27th: Jorie Loves a Story
Tuesday, April 28th: missris
Wednesday, April 29th: Lavish Bookshelf
Thursday, April 30th: Tina Says …
Monday, May 4th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, May 5th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, May 6th: Read. Write. Repeat.
Thursday, May 7th: Reading Lark
Monday, May 11th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, May 19th: Broken Teepee

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