Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review & Giveaway: The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Plume (first published April 1st 2011)

ISBN: 0452297648 (ISBN13: 9780452297647)
edition language : English
original title: The Novel in the Viola
From the publisher:

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 the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford-and Elise-forever.

My thoughts:  I.  Loved. This. Book.  Loved it!  The descriptions of the house and the surrounding area made me long to be there, wartime or not. The sounds of the booming sea with the waves crashing on the shore along with a large stone manor house almost had a gothic feel to it. I was hooked immediately and settled in to be mesmerized by Elise's story from her privileged life in Vienna, "where even the wind waltzes"  to a servant's life in England.

Elise's memories are almost haunting in their poignancy. It's like an old friend telling you her life story as she remembered it with all her feelings still vividly at the forefront even after many years. This is not just Elise's story or a war story but also an intricate look at British life prior to and during WWII. I really enjoyed the "upstairs, downstairs" relationships.  But, then, sometimes the line between masters and servants becomes blurred.

"I'm sorry, Elise. Really I am. Sometimes I forget. That . . . . you know... you're not one of us."

"A few months before in Vienna, I had been one of them. Now I wasn't sure what I was. The other servants barely spoke to me. They knew I wasn't one of them either. I belonged nowhere."

Solomons really brought all the characters to life; so much so that one character made me want to slap the supercilious, smug smirk from her face at the way she treated Elise. Others made my heart ache with their pain. Throughout the book, I was totally engaged emotionally.

The House at Tyneford is an absolutely magical story of love, wartime, loss and family memories as seen through the eyes of Elise. Written in beautifully descriptive, almost lyrical prose, this is one book that is hard to put down. With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I turned the last page. This is only the 2nd 5 * book of the year! Do not miss this one!!

Be sure to read the authors note at end; it's fascinating that the setting for the book is based on a true village that was taken over by the government during the war.

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Penguin in exchange for my honest opinion.

Due to the ever so generous Penguin, I am able to offer a giveaway of two copies of this book. Open to US & Canada. Be sure to leave an e mail address in your comment. Deadline to enter is May 3rd at 5 PM (est). Bonus entries are as follows:

+4 for following on Networked blogs. Just remind me under what name.
+3 for blogging (sidebar is fine) or tweeting about the giveaway. Leave me a link, please.

If you cannot comment you can still enter by sending me an e mail with The House at Tyneford in the subject line. Include your name and e mail and send to florida982002[at]yahoo.com

Good luck!



  1. I would love to win this book.

    Please enter me in your giveaway.

  2. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. I enjoy sagas which are from this era. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Your wonderful review captivated my interest. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. Thanks for the review and giveaway! This looks like such a good historical read.

    I'm a follower.

    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  5. You've convinced me I need to read this book :)
    I follow on Networked blogs (Bookfan Mb)

    Thanks for the chance, Kaye!

  6. I have this book on the top of my stack, and can't wait to get to it! It sounds like something that I am going to love, and your glowing review just solidifies that for me. Thanks for the great review today!

    1. I'm sure you will love it, Heather!

  7. Your enthusiasm makes me want to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway! kathy(at)bermudaonion.net

  8. Kaye, I loved this book too. Read and reviewed it recently. Made me want to read more about this time period for sure.

  9. This book sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

    (follow by Networked Blogs)

  10. oh wow!! this sounds like something a would really enjoy!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  11. Lovely review that makes me want to read the book!

    +4 Follow on Networked blogs as Karen Purbaugh Barnett.


  12. I'm so excited that I have a copy of this one. I loved her first book..swooned over it and after reading your love here, I just know that I will probably end up feeling the same way!

  13. I really enjoy WWI fiction so I'm definitely interested in reading this book. It's a time period that have intruiged me because of how War affects people.

    +4 Networked blog: Fiery Na
    +3 Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/FieryNa/status/195760551417229312


  14. This book is high up on my tbr list. A local bookstore advertises it as anotherDownton Abbey which really excites me. I'm glad to know you loved it too. It sounds wonderful!

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway, Kaye :o)

    +4 I follow on Networked blogs (Amy)

  15. just hope you're feeling better.

  16. This sounds very good to me...hope it's not too late to enter.

    Hope you are doing better Kaye.

  17. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my brand new monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved May Edition


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