Mystery...in haunted, historic
Providence Rhode Island
by Donna Montalbano
Reviews from Readers...
"I zipped through 'The House on Benefit Street!' Your writing is wonderful...I have faces for all the characters...even little Eban! I simply love falling into a book like that. You are a wonderful story teller. I look forward to more."
Eileen, Rhode Island
posted by an amazon.com reader, February, 2004:
"I found The House on Benefit Street at the 2nd annual New England Crime Bake, where author Donna Montalbano was on a panel. My interest piqued, I bought a copy and thoroughly enjoyed it. The main character is the house itself, and I want it myself. The protagonist is newly widowed and making major, unexpected, changes in her life. Against all odds and advice, she buys an old house in Providence. Only after she moves in does she discover that an unsolved crime was committed there. Page-turning writing, great sense of place, people I'd like to have lunch with. The occasional chuckle doesn't hurt. Recommended for mystery fans who can do without the blood-and-guts."
At night "they" stand patiently waiting in dark corners. But in bright daylight, after Angie has gone out, they press their white faces up against the glass. Whatever you do, pretend you don't see them.
Zane Kotker, author of "Try to Remember":
...god almighty you had me up to 2 a.m....I tried to sleep before the end of the book. Turned out my light at midnight. Lay there for an hour, HEARING THINGS! and at 1:00 I turned the light back on and finished off the book. After which I had to sleep with the light on. Such wonderful details of dress and food...the lesbian gourmets versus the Lean Cuisine, the chit chat at the office, the solitary routine of women in their 50's...it seems to gather up around the idea of fears we don't need to have...nicely done...
"A haunted house, a woman devastated by loss. You will laugh, and cry, and believe this book is all about you..."
"A haunting and inspiring story...touching on all emotions, The House on Benefit Street is about a woman on the brink of a new life. Adjusting to life without her husband, reentering the workforce and moving into what she thinks is the house of her dreams. The book's main character, Angie, faces these changes with courage, curiosity, humor and complete abandon. Angie not only discovers things about herself, but about the mysterious past of her new home. You will smile, wipe away tears and turn the pages eagerly to accompany Angie as she attempts to solve the mysteries of this, the next phase of her life. Find a cozy chair and cuddle up with this book..."
Taunton Sunday Gazette "Living Section,"
Local Setting, characters make this one fun to read
Anyone who has spent time in Providence will get a kick out of reading "The House on Benefit Street" with its frequent references to popular Rhode Island spots and events, such as Waterfire, Gallery Night, the Cheesecake Factory at Providence Place Mall, RISD and, of course, Thayer Street.
But it's more than a travelogue--this is a supernatural thriller, with a most unusual and amazing heroine. With the author's extraordinary talent for character development, the reader is drawn into the life of Angie Russo, experiencing overwhelming grief at the loss of her husband. Forced to deal with life-altering decisions, Angie finds her way and finds herself, without being melodramatic.
Along the way, she finds her new home, a rambling old house on Providence's historic Benefit Street, is filled with ghosts. Ghosts from her past? Or someone else's?
By Claudia Jenney Simpson
Gazette Lifestyles Editor
Newport This Week, Arts
The House on Benefit Street
for anyone looking for a little light summer reading full of local color with a bit of mystery and intrigue try this first novel by Providence author Donna Montalbano. It is set on the East Side of Providence, in the shadows of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. Readers will recognize Waterfire, RISD, and many other colorful points of interest as they try to unravel the mystery of the haunted house on Benefit Street. Published by iUniverse.com and available online.
The Woman's Page, July, 2003
The House on Benefit Street takes Angie Russo and the reader on a fascinating mid-life excursion from Westerly, Rhode Island to the hustle and bustle of College Hill, after the death of her husband Tom. Angie experiences many changes after her move to 140 Benefit Street; loneliness, a new job, and sharing her house with a ghost, but who's ghost? Angie wants to stay in her house on Benefit Street, but will she be able to persevere all that the house has to "offer?"
The House on Benefit Street is a fun, engaging read, and the perfect book for a lazy summer day. I recommend it highly.
The Woman's Page
by Jessica Hearst
PROVIDENCE: At times, every house can feel haunted. Things go bump in the night (like the mortgage payment.) Shadows lurk in the corners (things left unsaid, undone, unresolved.) Something that wasn't there before appears out of nowhere (you never expect those bumps in the road.) And you ask yourself, do I live in this house, or does this house live in me? In The House on Benefit Street, an old Providence townhouse takes on a life of its own as its protagonist struggles to do the same, in a fluid, read-it-in-one-sitting horror novel that grapples with both internal and external ghosts. (The House on Benefit Street...has) ...a certain sinister element reminiscent of Hitchcock's Rebecca, in that the house becomes a looming main character. ...Following Angie as she discovers Waterfire, dines at the Cheese Cake Factory, strolls down Thayer Street and catches a movie at the Cable Car is just fun--we Rhode Islanders love to have our local flavor recognized.
posted by a reader, PJM of Warwick, RI, on amazon.com:
This was an easy book to read, associate with each of the characters and relate to the changing scenes; almost to the point where you begin to feel a part of the story yourself. This may be the case as I was born and continue to live in RI and can relate to all of the places mentioned. The story was detailed to a point that it drew me in and held my attention; making me read more and more. Even now that I have completed the book, it's enthralling my mind causing me to have flash thoughts of events that occurred in the book and feeling like the story is continuing to unfold, like the characters are people I know. I hope to see MORE from this author; she has my attention!
Taunton Daily Gazette
loved "The House on Benefit Street!" what a wonderful writer...as a copy editor, it was nice to see a book so well-written...as an older woman, it was nice to see Angie overcome...without being a drama queen...hope to see another one from you soon...