"This was a great read. C.P. Stiles writes beautifully, with wit and empathy for her characters. I got a clear sense of Washington D.C. in the 1940s, the location for this story based on real events there. This was a book I literally, in the actual, literal sense, could not put down. The fast-paced plot drew me in and kept my attention from page one to the perfectly crafted ending, with not a dull moment. Terrific book."
"An unexpected story, to say the least. I was fascinated to find that it was based on real events.
Also amazed that the author, in a short book, made so many characters so highly developed. I was interested in all of them, and cared about many. Wanted to ask the author what happened NEXT? (Hey, Ms./Mr. Stiles, there's a sequel in there somewhere.)
The politics of DC in the time period are complex (but not all that different from now, unfortunately). The book moves fast, is fascinating throughout, and I can't imagine anyone not loving it."
D.C. and Prostitutes - What could go wrong?
This was really a fun read. I have lived and worked in dc and have really felt the presence of the city as an additional character in the book. All the "usual" DC types were included probably because it was based on a true story. The J Edgar Hoover figure was especially well drawn, but I loved the women in the House the most. It was fun to experience the unravelling and re-knitting of all the various threads of the story and the great irony and wit of the moral dilemma faced by the characters was a fun twist. It's a great summer read.
A riveting read
I loved this novel. Superbly told, THE CALL HOUSE is the story of a small group of "escort" women trying to survive in the high-stakes world of Washington D.C. in the early 1940s, a swamp of competing ambitions and moral hypocrisies inflated by a looming war. A fine plot, excellent writing, and sympathetic characters are all here, along with a quality I rarely find in fiction these days: the novel's spare style, distinctive for its wry humor and lack of gratuitous detail, leaves the reader free to draw her own conclusions about what happens and how she feels about it. I appreciated that freedom.
A Perfect Beach Read
I fell in love with small town Washington DC of the early 1940's. The story I know is based upon true facts in a time far simpler and humane than DC today. The Characters portrayed are vibrant avatars of the WWII values we admire and often seek to recapture. And I laughed out loud at the innocent complications of local and federal officials dealing with the oldest profession. The Call House a short book and an easy read with a lot packed into its pages. I'd really like to see the author create an anthology of stories based upon her rich characters, snappy dialog, and DC atmospherics. After feasting on the smarmy "House of Cards" in recent months, The Call House offers the sweet mint that cleanses the palate. I hope there is more to come.
Call Girls, Cops, and Congress
A delightful comedy of manners, set in Washington DC back in 1941 when it really was a sleepy Southern town. Once I started reading The Call House I could not put it down, any more than I'd be able to stop watching one of those great Preston Sturges movies, or stop drinking a mint mojito in the summertime, hence the five stars. There's sly wit and subversion in CP Stiles' evocation of a more innocent era, and she managed to surprise me with a happy ending that was not the least bit sentimental. As for timeliness, it occurs to me that James Comey and more than a few members of Congress could fit quite comfortably into the comic universe of The Call House.
A delicious, jam-packed, dryly humorous read.
The Call House is indeed “A Washington Novel,” and its beautifully etched large cast of characters ease themselves right off the fictional page and into today’s newspaper stories–despite the fact that The Call House, based on a true DC sex-and-politics scandal, is set in the 1940s.
I had a delightful time deciding who among today’s real-life politicians could be neophyte Congressman Andrew Stevens, a good guy from the Midwest, who puts up a noble fight against being corrupted by the likes of Spencer Voorhees, the utterly repulsive and autocratic veteran congressman from somewhere in the South. Whom we get to see with his trousers off when he demands his “pleasures” from the call girls who live in the high-class brothel of the title.
Most impressively, in less than 200 pages, C.P. Stiles gives us characters who are real people, each living as we all do with moral complexity. How else to explain how Mattie Simon, an innocent just off the train from Tennessee, can become a reluctant call girl but remain our heroine? And how do the women who run the brothel and calculate how to survive vice squad raids wind up being sympathetic heroines, too?
I can’t get the characters out of my head. Maybe that’s because their doppelgängers are haunting the pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times every day of the week.
Washington DC's Rollicking Underbelly
The Call House is a wonderful, light-hearted read. The story is compelling, taking place as it does in our nation's capital during the Second World War. Each character is well-drawn, the tale moves at a fast clip, and the historical DC gives an added gravitas to what are essentially entertaining studies of political types, police types, ladies of the night, and their families. I highly recommend this novel!
What a fun read! This is a great travel/beach book
What a fun read! This is a great travel/beach book. This was the perfect read for my first day on vacation, I loved the characters, I love the historical 1940's DC, and Stiles skillfully walked the line of being a provocative story about vice, without being obvious and graphic. This book is worth the read, and I would not be surprised to see this turned into the next HBO series.