Book: A House with Holes
Author: Denise Mast Broadwater
Genre: Christian Memoir, Marriage
Release Date: October, 2019
NOTE: I WAS GIVEN A COPY OF THIS BOOK BY THE AUTHOR. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN. LINKS IN THIS POST MAY BE AFFILIATE LINKS.
Seasoned renovators Greg and Denise Broadwater dream of owning and restoring a historic home in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. What follows are six years of unimaginable challenges and successes concerning the renovation of their condemned 1920s Charleston Cottage, their place in a transitional neighborhood on Congress Street, and their thirty-year marriage.
In a community that struggles to feel like home, alongside normal stressors of full-time work and family weddings, the heightened tension taxes the Broadwaters to the brink. Nothing is left untouched in their hundred-year-old cottage full of architectural and historical details, from the rotted floorboards to the hole in the roof and the knob-and-tube wiring that causes a fire. But through Denise’s fascinating memoir, A House with Holes, the Christian author and therapist shares how she and her craftsman-architect husband strengthened the holes in both their home and their relationship during this wearying time in order to survive and thrive.
Using Broadwater’s counseling experience, marriage principles have been woven seamlessly into the text, demonstrating ways to maintain relationships in the midst of struggles. Reflective questions close each chapter so that readers may ponder their own relationships with growth and understanding.
When I look at books that are available for review, one of the first things I look at is the genre. I really enjoy memoirs. When I saw that A House With Holes was not only a memoir but also a book about marriage, I was quite intrigued. The topic of the memoir is unusual, as well. How many stories have you heard about restoring old houses? This one happens to be in Charleston, which is not a common setting, either.
Denise Broadwater, a counselor, and her husband shared a dream, a dream of owning a house in Charleston, South Carolina. In order to afford one, they had to buy the type of house that most of us wouldn’t look at twice—a small cottage with a leaky roof and rotting floors. Because of local regulations, the house needed to be restored to its original condition, a project that took much more time than the couple had expected! Along the way, they experienced many challenges, such as a brick through a window, a raccoon in the kitchen, and walls or floors missing at times. Every so often, Denise reached a point where she felt like she couldn’t take any more—and to tell the truth, I’m not sure I would have been able to handle the conditions she was living in!
Throughout the book, Denise includes sidebars with advice for marriage. Each of these is quite thought-provoking, and would be good for me to go back to and ponder often. One that especially spoke to me talked about regulating our response to triggers. The advice she gives is very good! Many chapters also end with several questions about relationships, helping me, as the reader, to search myself and find ways to improve my marriage.
I could identify with the author in so many ways! One in particular that stood out was when she exclaimed to her husband, “When does this ever get better? Over thirty years, and we are still fighting the same battles!” We haven’t been married that long, but I find myself struggling with some of the same things I always have! I am happy that I had the chance to read this book, and recommend it to anyone who likes to read advice for marriage in the context of a person’s life story.
About the Author:
Denise Mast Broadwater is a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina, treating anxiety, depression, life adjustments, and marriages. She began her career as a family therapist working with at-risk families and youth. Previously, she was an elementary teacher in private education. She is a wife and the mother of three children and recently became a grandmother. She enjoys rowing at the gym, cooking new recipes, sewing quilts, and blogging at Life Lights Blog (emptynestmarriage.com) and Charleston Renovator Blog (www.freedmanscottagerenovation.blogspot.com).
More About A House With Holes
Marriage comes with the struggle of making life work—but with a promise of home, a place to rest, to be who we are in all our mess, to feel loved and accepted in the truth of who we are. Opening up our mess means adjusting to our anxieties, habits, and struggles.
We all know marriage can be tough. Marriage requires commitment and flexibility, allowing for each spouse to develop his and her own gifts, to work together through challenges, and to communicate in a way that draws the couple closer through any issues that arise. The same can practically be said for renovating a house—especially an old house.
In A House with Holes: One Marriage Journey in a Charleston Renovation, author and therapist Denise Broadwater shares the challenges and successes of the restoration she and her craftsman-architect husband embraced after their purchase of a 1920s Charleston Cottage that was slated for destruction. Oddly enough, the project began to mirror the ups and downs of their empty-nester marital relationship.
Through this intriguing memoir describing the architectural style and details of their historic home on Congress Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Denise shares her struggles and disappointments during the six-year upheaval. They lived with open holes in the floors and roof, wild critters, and in an old neighborhood that was unsure of their intentions. As her attitude changed with her living situation, Denise discovered her marriage rising to meet the challenges they faced and this struggling community opening to become a place of belonging.
“All marriages have holes—that’s a given,” Denise says. “The holes are places you disconnect: a container for selfishness, for disappointment, and for addictions as people try to find alternatives for unmet needs. Intimacy opens up the holes. Growing means making small movements toward each other, coming together to reduce friction.”
Principles and questions about marriage have been worked seamlessly into each chapter so that readers can “shore up” their own relationships and grow in understanding while
vicariously watching the progress of the Charleston Cottage through the eyes of a seasoned DIY renovator.
The Broadwaters’ experience of doing life in the midst of a major house renovation demonstrates marriage recovery, and her expertise as a counselor shapes lessons for married people everywhere in an honest, easy-reading, and relatable telling.
I have read more than my share of books about relationships, but A House with Holes is refreshingly different. Reading this book feels like binging on a Netflix series because you have to see what happens next. Denise is a therapist who has an in-depth understanding of relationships, and she has invited you to have a front-row seat to view what it took to create an amazing marriage while undertaking an almost impossible renovation.
—Dr. Larry Wagner, PhD, professor of counseling,
Columbia International University, Columbia, South Carolina
To purchase your copy, click here.
To visit more of the blog stops on this tour, click here. (Scroll down the page to see the stops.)
To enter a fun giveaway, click here.