An irresistible World War II story of a forbidden upstairs-downstairs romance in a great English country house.
It’s the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When Kit, the son of Tyneford’s master, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford - and Elise - forever.
A pageturning tale of family, love, loss, and the power of the human spirit set against the perennially popular backdrop of World War II England, Natasha Solomons’ The House at Tyneford is upmarket romantic fiction at its best.
Natasha Solomons is a screenwriter and the internationally bestselling author of Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English and Mr. Rosenblum’s List. She lives with her husband in Dorset, England.
©2011 Natasha Solomons (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Natasha Solomons has written a lovely, atmospheric novel full of charming characters and good, oldfashioned storytelling.” (Kristin Hannah, New York Times best-selling author)
How can I describe this book... Tragic. Pastoral. The end of an era, and a way of life. It was written as a memoir, decades after the action described, and because of that, and the author's melancholy tone, you could tell that things would not be all right in the small seaside community. There was so much sad foreshadowing hiding in the nostalgic and sad passages, that really nothing that happened came as a surprise, but it all still hurt. It was crushing too see a family torn, a love lost, the centuries of tradition and life brought to a halt...
The story, in addition to the subdued tone throughout, was pretty slow-paced. Many passages describing the details of the landscape, the many flowers and birds, the architecture and features of the manor house... but even the actual action was often just a smooth mellow flow - with a few breaks of quick successive events, like a sudden rush to haul in mackerel, or the tizzy at the birthday party, or her outburst and sulking with the viola near the end... It was the slow cadence and progression that influenced me to take longer to read it it think. That, and I needed to pause to read something more cheery before bed.
I liked a few scenes though, which enabled a pause from being so depressed. I was happy whenever Elise/Alice danced. I could not be happy for her and Kit, because I just knew it would not end well. It was clear from the very start, in how she spoke about him in her reflections that that relationship was ill-fated, in several ways, from the start. But he was a fun and easy to love man-boy. I was furious at Lady Diana, the b****. But thank heavens for Molly, spreading a little fun and adventure, a little girl time every so often. Mr. Rivers was a good pillar of strength for her, throughout.
I can't even imagine how lonely it must have been, to be without your family and everything familiar, thrust into a new world where you don't really fit either upstairs or downstairs... By the way, I don't know what it is about some of the reviews and descriptions I've read, but just because the story and characters happen to encompass both the gentry and servants of a country house does not make it in any way comparable to Downton Abbey. Though, I will admit that the butler did exude a lot of Carsen. But that is the end of character parallels, as far as I was concerned. And, Downton is about the *beginning* of the end of the English country manorhouse way of life... rather, this was the *end* of it.
**SPOILERS this paragraph**
I was not at all surprised at the developments with Mr. Rivers... that was foreshadowed from her arrival there. and there were subtle signs as they grew closer after Dunkirk. I can't be outraged or anything by it (as i read of one reviewer who thought it was horrible to marry a. the dead sweetheart's father and b. someone so much older... but in the story, it wasn't something bad.) It seemed almost natural even, that they find happiness with each other, after all they'd been through and been to one another. And I liked the nice bow on the end, reuniting with family at the opera in Vienna.
The narration was beautiful. The foreign and myriad British accents were done well, and Ms. Eyre adapted some of the best male voices I've heard from a female narrator. I remarked not a single dialogue mishap or editing error throughout. She had a way of really pulling you in, so you felt like you were on that cliff overlooking the bay, or in the fields as each detail of flora and fauna were described and marveled at. She was the method by which Solomons cast Tyneford's spell on the reader.
But regardless, the whole situation and war and events that brought the end of Tyneford were just tragic and I am glad to be done with it so I can find something to read that won't keep me so sad. It was touching, moving, even, but I just don't want to be so depressed!
It started off slow but it is worth staying with. Same with the narrator. She took a little getting used to but ultimately did a very good job.
Carol 18 quilts
Very good and quite like the goings on at Downton Abbey.
The butler of course
The government taking over the estate
Maybe. The writer does some impressive things with how characters capture memories onto paper. That said, I was very disappointed with the ending.
Only if it got really strong reviews. While I think she's a very good storyteller, I was disappointed with the book.
I love how the narrator muses on memories.
I was displeased with the ending. It was well written, but I wish the writer would have chosen to go another route. I think the fact that she foreshadowed what would happen so strongly throughout the novel hurt the book. I kept waiting for a surprise twist at the end and there wasn't one. You can pretty much tell what will happen to the characters within the first half hour of the novel.
For as much as I disliked the ending, the book did hold my attention and I hated to put it down. The pace of the novel is slow and lyrical, but also mesmerizing. The author is talented. I simply wish that she either would have not given the ending away so early in the book or surprised me. I finished the novel wondering what the point of it all was. Once again, it was entertaining, but the last half hour was painful.
Actually, it is Jennifer, not Michael. I enjoy a variety of books but am drawn to romantic historical fiction with a Christian message.
The story was very depressing and tragic. The author was overly descriptive about every detail. Several times I debated just stopping the book but I did want to know the ending so I skipped a chapter here and there to get to the end. Fortunately, this was a 4.95 special. I would not spend a full credit on this book. I may have like the book better if it had been abridged.
A bit of historical fiction thru the eyes of a Austrian nanny working in an English manner during the pre and early WW2. Not exactly packed with facts about the period, but that can be expected as the protagonist was a very young lady. The author does seem to project female qualities on the the men in the novels, which I have found that this is not a-typical for female authors.
The story makes you care about the charactors. You become part of the household and share in their experience.
The way it takes you along with it. It unfolds before your eyes and you live it. Feel it.
I have never heard Justine Eyre before. She is adaquate, but not my favorite. There were times when I thought her "take" on how the charactors would speak was weak. But as I say, she is fine and in no way takes away from the very good stroy line.
It broke my heart at times. There were moments it made me smile and long for a simpler time.
If you like stories about England and English country houses, stories about the war years in Great Britan, or about the courage of people in trying times, you will enjoy this book. I did.
A less predictable story line.
It bordered on cheap Romance novel
Naration was the best part of the book, so I wouldn't change anything.
I would have cut at least half. It was long and therefore became boring.
I purchased the book based on the narrator. I would not buy another book by this author.
I have read too many to rank them. All different kinds of stories and subjects. It was well written and lovely to listen to.
Gave even more understanding in what happened during pre war (world war II) Vienna to the Jews.
very good accents, made it all come alive
no, no time for that.
Better things to do but this is more fun.
I probably wouldn't try another Natasha Solomons book, particularly audio. I might try it in ebook form. I found the story very slow and am having trouble sticking with it. I've only managed to make it thus far (about 1/3) because it's historically interesting and from an equally interesting viewpoint.
I found this in the romance genre (I think) but don't think it's representative of Romance books, historical or otherwise.
Hmmm. Good accents.
no, nor was it worth the money. A good book should transport you into another world and I found myself zoning out instead.
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