Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by PlumeFrom the publisher:
(first published April 1st 2011)
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.
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