My Father’s House

Published Date: September 22, 2020

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In the year 1910, at age twenty, Karl Artur Johan Gustafsson leaves Sweden to follow his older siblings to America. Renamed “Carl Arthur Gustafson” at Ellis Island, he begins a new life in Forestville/Bristol Connecticut where he falls in love with and marries Jennie Anderson. Together they build their “house,” guiding their family through the rapidly changing events of the 20th century. In this multi-layered, multiple-generational story, their third child takes her readers on a journey through WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, changing technologies, changing roles, and the tumultuous sixties and seventies.


Click here for a list of questions for book club groups to discuss.


Click here for family trees for the Andersons and the Gustafson’s.


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Reviews (8)


  1. Lyn February 14, 2021 at 3:51 pm .

    In the opening scene the writer immediately drops you back into the past with such vivid detail that you feel as if the story is being narrated for a feature film. You can smell the baking bread. You can feel the Mother’s pain as she prepares for her son’s departure. The cultural references of the author’s Swedish-American upbringing is interesting, and it was fascinating to read about a completely different historical period of time so opposite of how we live in today’s word. That the author once sat on a rooftop as a child- on the lookout for enemy planes- and now sits at a desk typing on her computer to bring us this beautifully written story.

  2. Leelah Saachi December 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm .


    At the end of the book, I thought that if Metro Golden Meyer hooked this, it would be a block buster. The characters are lovingly and distinctly portrayed with all their strengths and foibles, and their development through times of war, depression and into the seventies. I grew fond of Father Carl – born in 1880 and emigrating from Sweden 1910.

    For this Norwegian reviewer it was overwhelming to try to remember all the names of the characters – but still I found myself reading in bed at 04 am, wondering about how Jennie and the family would cope with her “sensibilities” – I will not tell the readers how that went. Among the clear descriptions of life in these times,It was such a clear and loving tale of how too much consideration can devastate a persons life. “Let’s not borrow trouble” was the fathers adage, it seems the family adapted it too – as we humans do, with grave consequences.

    Mona’s professorate in Psychology and her interventions created a strong and dramatic change in the family – the last chapters were a great eye-opener of what happens when the cat in the sac gets out – and the fresh new air pours in.

    4 stars – reflecting the bit overwhelming number of names and relationships.
    I feel well fed after reading it.
    And grateful

    Leelah Saachi


  3. Judy Gunther December 18, 2020 at 2:21 pm .

    I found “My Father’s House, by Mona Gustafson to be an honest and, sometimes profound, look at the complexities of family ancestors, and the following generations as they come to America from their native Sweden.

    Their story was a catalyst for me in my observation of my family as they immigrated from Ireland, Scotland and Germany holding fast to cultural traditions, faith and a strong value system. How they all emerge as individuals in a new and changing world is quite a reward to the reader from this gifted author.

    Judy Gunther December 2020

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