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The House at Tyneford: A Novel by Natasha…
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The House at Tyneford: A Novel (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Natasha Solomons

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6465214,945 (3.7)53
Member:NancyNo5
Title:The House at Tyneford: A Novel
Authors:Natasha Solomons
Info:Plume (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:chick-lit, historical-fiction

Work details

The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons (2010)

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English (48)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
This is a beautifully written novel. In it, we hear the story of Elise Landau, a young Jewish woman who has grown up in the thick of the artistic and cultural scene in Vienna, her mother a wonderful opera singer and her father a published novelist. But with the present threat of an uncertain future, and the looming threat of a second World War, it is determined that Elise's sister Margot will go to America with her husband Richard, and that Elise will go to England and become a housemaid to ensure her safety. And so begins the novel proper, as Elise arrives in Tyneford, the home of the Rivers family, and her destiny is shaped.

This novel was a pleasure to read. The characters were well drawn, and Elise intrigued me. Her experience of war and the observations of her change in circumstances, her new relationships, and the way she slowly adapts despite her immense sadness and longing for mother Anna, father Julian and sister Margot, makes for great storytelling and enjoyable reading. Not a novel to rush but to luxuriate in and be moved by the love, change and sadness experienced.

This author really does have a beautiful way with language too, her descriptions of the Dorset coast and the influence of the sea and landscape on Elise and the other Tyneford residents really makes an impact on the reader. I will now go back and read the author's debut novel, Mr Rosenblum's List. ( )
  LindsaysLibrary | Aug 19, 2016 |
I'm glad I picked up this little gem of a historical novel. It takes place during an inherently interesting period of time, and the internal transformation of the narrator from desperate refugee to mistress of her own life is the heart of the novel. The setting is almost a character unto itself - I feel like I spent time at Tyneford by the end. ( )
  duchessjlh | Aug 15, 2016 |
Like many, I was anticipating this to be so much like a Kate Morton novel. I was also a bit let down. However, I feel that in order to give this novel its due credit, that declaration on the front cover must be disregarded.

This story about a young Austrian woman, who happens to be a Jew at the worst time, begins with an explanation of her life in Vienna. Elise, constantly referring to herself as a disappointment, is not the musician or the beauty her parents hoped her to be. Still, her liberal parents and talented sister love her and promise to send for her once they are safely in the United States. Until then, she is sent to England as a maid.

Tyneford, the main setting of the novel, is a small village by the sea, full of breathtaking cliffs and ocean views. In the mystifying, spell-casting, and beautiful house at Tyneford Elise finds a home, a disgruntled staff, and two fascinating men. She and the son of the wealthy but serious Christopher Rivers (for whom she is working) soon strike up a romance that will change Elise's life forever. She finds a way to live in the house comfortably but awkwardly, until the war reaches England. As the boats around the village are steadily seized by the navy and many of the men enlist, Elise is forced to watch the world she was building crumble once again. Determined to find a way to live, she continues to search for a place and an identity throughout the novel.

A sweeping, and enveloping tale, I had few complaints. I had hoped for more mystery and twists, but truthfully the story was slow and a little dry. For the easy reader of "chick lit" (I hate that name), this is probably not a good choice. For readers who wish to indulge in a beautiful setting and fascinating set of characters, who don't actually do much, this is a much recommended novel. There is so little plot that when something actually did happen it was so slowly conveyed that I didn't notice or misread it and became confused. Again, not quite a Morton novel for its dry plot, but a beautiful novel all the same.

As this novel was the author's second (?) novel, and she has had one since, I'm certain we'll see more from Solomons. I plan on reading every one. ( )
  cemagoc | Aug 8, 2016 |
Review: The House of Tyneford by Natasha Solomons.

This is an inspiring and nicely written novel with interesting themes, a good story line, with descriptive settings and passages that feel as if the place, Tyneford is speaking to you. I enjoyed it to the very end. The ending in not what I expected but it still was great and I couldn’t put it down. This book is not a love story between two persons but a love story about a place and a time and a house. Its context binds the loss of family, home and heritage and finding one’s way during the WWII’s situation, it’s a story of survival.

The author creates a young Jewish girl’s life in an unfamiliar setting in a foreign country with a foreign high established family. Her Viennese family chose this path for their daughter because it provided the means to exit Austria.

As Elise begins her new and different life alone as a temporary worker the reader follows her through her British domestic servitude presenting major challenges and obstacles for her to bear as she tries to overcome and adapt to her altered social environment. Elise’s character brings delight to the novel. The way she displayed her character throughout the book could either make you laugh or cry. Sometimes she gave the impression of being plain dumb or cleverly smart. The author created great characters but Elise was my favorite.

The Author’s note at the end explains her inspiration to create the book which made it more touching and real even though the reader knows its fiction…
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
The House at Tyneford – Natasha Solomons
( also called The Novel in the Viola)
Audio performance by Justine Eyre

4 stars

Elise Landau is the spoiled youngest daughter of a dissident novelist and a Viennese opera singer. It is 1938, and Elise is a Jew. To obtain an exit visa, she applies for a position as parlor maid in an English country house. The first of her family to leave Vienna, she believes that her parents will escape to New York while her sister travels to California with a new husband. Intensely homesick and frightened, Elise begins a new life as a servant to a minor aristocrat on England’s Dorset coast.

So much of this story was fascinating and completely believable. The house, the village, and the surrounding landscape are beautifully described. Elise’s emotional trauma in her first weeks away from her family and her subsequent attachment to her new home are realistic and consistent with her character. When the war begins and Elise’s role in the house changes, her behavior is mostly creditable. However, I never found either of the story’s romances to be very plausible, but naturally, without the romance, the story would have no where to go.

This book has been compared to Downton Abbey. It is true that both books deal with a way of life that is ending forever. The House at Tyneford is also deeply concerned with survivor guilt. Elise narrates her own history from the distance of age in a way that reminds me of the unnamed protagonist of Rebecca. The story becomes more than a little maudlin. I missed the humor of Solomon’s earlier book, Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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When I close my eyes I see Tyneford House.
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Book description
In the spring of 1938 Elise Landau arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay. A bright young thing from Vienna forced to become a parlour-maid, she knows nothing about England, except that she won't like it. As servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn, Elise wears her mother's pearls beneath her uniform, and causes outrage by dancing with a boy called Kit. But war is coming and the world is changing, and Elise must change with it.

At Tyneford she learns that you can be more than one person - and that you can love more than once.

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"It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau realizes her only means of escape is to advertise her services as a domestic servant in England. Fate brings her ad to the attention of Christopher Rivers, handsome scion of the aristocratic Rivers family and master of Tyneford. An anxious Elise arrives at Tyneford and immediately falls under its spell. When Christopher's young son, Kit, returns home, the two strike up an unlikely friendship that will change Tyneford--and Elise--forever"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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