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The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
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The House I Loved (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Tatiana de Rosnay

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411None25,800 (3.15)17
Member:TessaSlingerland
Title:The House I Loved
Authors:Tatiana de Rosnay
Info:Pan Books
Collections:Read in 2012, Read but unowned, Engelstalig
Rating:***
Tags:Paris, Haussmann, destruction, love, 258 p

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The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay (2011)

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» See also 17 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (5)  French (2)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I am surprised at how much I hated this book because I loved "Sarah's Key". The fact that it took me three moths to read it should have been enough to get me to stop but when I start a book I finish it.The book is about a widow named Rose Bazelet who fights until the end to save her house from destruction during the renovation of Paris, France in 1860's. ( )
  LizPhoto | Mar 5, 2014 |
Tatiana De Rosnay has come to be known for her ability to take an emotional event (or many) and put it down on paper. Her novels will make you cry, cheer and laugh out loud and "The House I Loved" is no different.

When Widow Rose Bazelet is informed that her house will be torn down to make way for Baron Haussmann's wide boulevards, she can't imagine a life anywhere else. In the time from when she is informed of the impending destruction to the evacuation of her street, Rose sits down in her house and writes about why she loves her home so much.

Rosnay, has taken another moment in Parisian history that many of us know nothing about and has given it a face and a voice. Each page tells us more about the lives lived within the stone and plaster walls and of how something can be come the most important thing to us. ( )
  JEB5 | Oct 30, 2013 |
Rose Bazelet, mother and widower, is a Parisienne through and through and the house she loves lies in the shadow of the Église Saint Germain. De Rosnay’s story is the sad tale of the destruction of her family home, steeped in memories of her children and deceased husband Armand, with whom she corresponds throughout the book. As Baron Haussmann reshapes the city, paying citizens to leave their homes, Rose shifts backwards and forwards in time and we revisit both delightful and tragic moments in her past; the dramatic and soon to be forgotten history of the rue Childebert.

Had I seen the ‘chick-lit’ style US cover to this novel that I feel more accurately reflects the tone of De Rosnay’s writing rather than the British publication, to be perfectly honest, I would probably not have picked this up. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the very lightest of fiction, however I simply don’t get that much from it. Although I confess that prior to reading The House I Loved I wasn’t familiar Tatiana de Rosnay’s other writing (although I know Sarah’s Key has been a huge success), this book, although holding glimmers of substance in some of the peripheral characters and story lines, just felt a little predictable and overly sentimental for my tastes. Flowers, books, letters, yawn.

Although the entertainment factor is ever-present and I would probably have lapped this up whilst sat on a sun lounger somewhere, I’m not on holiday and had the book not been set in Paris I really wouldn’t have given a fig. Having said that, aside from the constant referrals to that evil ‘Haussmann’ (a large degree of artistic license being used here rather than historical fact I suspect…) this book could have been set in any time in any place. Although I’ve just bought my first house myself and could therefore sympathise with the importance of the home and the memories you hold within it, particularly of those who aren’t with us any more, Rose just lay it on a little thick and, although I perhaps had some unfair expectations from the start, the story left me feeling a little bored and unconvinced.

http://relishreads.com/2013/07/16/the-house-i-loved/ ( )
  Lucy_Rock | Jul 16, 2013 |
In high school history I learned about Napoleon III & Baron Haussman's grand project in the 1850s that levelled whole neighbourhoods in order to build the boulevards that helped make Paris a world capital, and I found the story fascinating. When I read the review of The House I Loved, which is set against that historical event, in the Globe & Mail last year, I put it on my wishlist. The story follows Madame Rose Bazelet who is a widow living in her husband's family home, which is slated for demolition. The rest of her neighbourhood has moved out, but she holds on, hiding in the basement and writing letters to her deceased "beloved" husband.

What a disappointment! The main problem is the author's choice to use the epistolary structure. It is entirely artificial and contrived. The entire time I read this, I constantly thought "no one writes letters like this." Halfway through I realized the book reminded me of one of those internet memes that make a statement and follow it with "said no one ever." Here's a meme for you: a picture of me holding up this book and saying "said no one ever." I'll open to any page and give you an example:

". . . she seized my hand, fairly stuttering with emotion as she cried out, 'Oh, but you cannot stay here any longer, Madame Rose!' The house will be pulled down in the next twenty-four hours! It would be madness to stay, you will . . . ' Her eyes met mine, those toffee-colored eyes shining with intelligence, and I looked back at her, calmly, my back straight." Who writes like that in a letter? It's beyond silly.

The House I Loved would have actually made sense if it had been written in third person point of view instead. However, even then, it still would have been a boring story. There was a "secret" to be revealed at the end, but due to the heavy foreshadowing, it wasn't even a little surprise.

You may ask why I read such a poorly written, boring book. I really shouldn't have, but it was very short, and I really was fascinated by the preposterous writing. At least it was set in Paris.

A note about the cover: I love this cover photo--strolling down an allee, the gravel path, the mansard roof in the distance--this could only be France. And the flowing red dress is perfection. However, there was no scene in the book anything like this, the house in question (although it was a nice house), was on a crowded side street, and that gorgeous dress is obviously 20th century, while the book was set in the mid-19th century. Well, they got the France part right. ( )
3 vote Nickelini | May 17, 2013 |
Loved this story. If you have ever loved a home, you would totally understand Rose's dilema. Great story with a great piece of history in there too! ( )
  dragonflydee1 | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
. . . one gets the clear sense of a woman losing her place in a changing world, but this isn’t enough to make up for a weak narrative hung entirely on the eventual reveal of a long-buried secret.
added by Nickelini | editPublishers Weekly (Dec 12, 2012)
 
Can a novel make us nostalgic for a place we’ve never been? With her third English-language release, an uncomplicated story brimming with homespun details, Tatiana de Rosnay presents a convincing case. Nearly every sentence evokes the appeal of mid-19th-century Paris, the city she clearly loves, and her empathy for the citizens whose homes and dreams were obliterated by the march of progress.
 
De Rosnay’s delicacy and the flavor of her beloved Paris are everywhere in this brief but memorable book.

Replete with treats, particularly for Paris-lovers—indeed for anyone wedded to a special place.
added by Nickelini | editKirkus Reviews (Dec 29, 2011)
 
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My beloved, I can hear them coming up our street.
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Book description
Paris, France: 1860’s. Hundreds of houses are being razed, whole neighborhoods reduced to ashes. By order of Emperor Napoleon III, Baron Haussman has set into motion a series of large-scale renovations that will permanently alter the face of old Paris, moulding it into a “modern city.” The reforms will erase generations of history—but in the midst of the tumult, one woman will take a stand.

Rose Bazelet is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the very end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day. Attempting to overcome the loneliness of her daily life, she begins to write letters to Armand, her beloved late husband. And as she delves into the ritual of remembering, Rose is forced to come to terms with a secret that has been buried deep in her heart for thirty years. Tatiana de Rosnay's The House I Loved is both a poignant story of one woman’s indelible strength, and an ode to Paris, where houses harbor the joys and sorrows of their inhabitants, and secrets endure in the very walls...
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"Paris, France: 1860's. Hundreds of houses are being razed, whole neighborhoods reduced to ashes. By order of Emperor Napoleon III, Baron Haussman has set into motion a series of large-scale renovations that will permanently alter the face of old Paris, moulding it into a modern city. The reforms will erase generations of history-but in the midst of the tumult, one woman will take a stand. Rose Bazelet is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the very end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day. Attempting to overcome the loneliness of her daily life, she begins to write letters to Armand, her beloved late husband. And as she delves into the ritual of remembering, Rose is forced to come to terms with a secret that has been buried deep in her heart for thirty years. The House I Loved is both a poignant story of one woman's indelible strength, and an ode to Paris, where houses harbor the joys and sorrows of their inhabitants, and secrets endure in the very walls"-- Cover verso.… (more)

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