Thursday, April 19, 2012

The House of Tyneford: Book Review

I enjoyed reading The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons. It was Dowton Abbey meets Upstairs Downstairs.

It took me 100 pages to get into the characters. I still enjoyed reading The House of Tyneford. I loved the characters, and the landscapes, and the description of the setting.  The novel was beautifully written. I usually don't read novel that are romantic genre, and historical taken place in Europe. This is totally out of my comfort zone.  But, I enjoyed it.

Elise Landau and her family are Jewish, and living in Vienna. The parents, Julian and Anna raise the children in a bohemian lifestyle. Julian is a writer, and is very well known for the novels he writes in Vienna. They are wealthy and are very well known in the cultural world in Vienna. They mingle with the rich and famous in Vienna.

Their youngest daughter Elise, is sent to Tyneford to be a maid in England. The rest of the family will leave for the United States.  Elise did not get her visa in time, with the rest of the family.
Instead they find a sponsor to employ her as a servant in Tyneford.

Tyneford is a manor surrounded by the ocean, isolated by everything. The lord of the house Mr. Rivers has many employed by him. He's son Kit is very mischievous. He causes many problems for Elise. But eventually they fall in love, and are engaged.

I enjoyed reading the novel. The House of Tyneford was descriptive, but not overly that it became dull. I enjoyed the characters especially reading about Kit. He was a trip.

  Elise referred  to her parents by their first name. I had a problem with this at first until I realized who was Julian and Anna. 

Poor Elise had no one at first to connect to. She was used to the high life of society. When she arrived she was expected to clean the chamber pots and all the things a maid is expected to do. She was so lonely, and could only connect with the rich family. Since she came from that kind of lifestyle.

Interesting though when she becomes engaged to Kit. Mr. Rivers wants her to be separate from everyone else. She is now engaged, she needs to behave like a high society woman.  She doesn't like this, because everyone treats her different, again in isolation from the others.  I thought that was a interesting take. This was the same thing when Lady Diana, had to stop her job as school Marm,  before she became princess. It was not proper to associate herself with the common folk.
There is a part of history at the end of the novel that is true. During the war if you were asked to give up your home for the war effort. You expected to get it back after the war. Unfortunately, in this story it did not happen. They, and the village is still desolate. Their property they never did get it back in the novel. In the back of the book Natasha Solomon writes about what happened to some villages that this happened true. The novel is based on her Great Aunt this happened to. But, unfortunately, her daughter never knew about it.

 I enjoyed reading about the house, the house to me was character. I could see the house, and the beautiful landscapes. I could visualize the ocean spray hitting the rocks below. I could smell the ocean breezes.

If you like, Dowton Abbey, and English high society, and the manors you will enjoy reading The House of Tyneford


Marie said...

I really want to read this one. I enjoyed Natasha Solomon's first book and I think I'd like this one too.

Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

I think my expectations for this book were set way too high. I was disappointed.

One Thousand White Women: Book Review

One Thousand White Women By Jim Fergus I have been looking forward to reading, One Thousand White Women. S...