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The House at Tyneford: A Novel Paperback – December 27, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Natasha Solomons has written a lovely, atmospheric novel full of charming characters and good, old fashioned storytelling.  Fans of Downton Abbey and Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden will absolutely adore The House at Tyneford."—Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

 


"The House at Tyneford is a wonderful, old-fashioned novel that takes you back in time to the manor homes, aristocracy and domestic servants of England. In this setting, Natasha Solomons gives us a courageous heroine whose incredible love story will keep you in suspense until the final page."—Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

 

The House at Tyneford is an exquisite tale of love, family, suspense, and survival. Capturing with astonishing detail and realism a vanished world of desire and hope trapped beneath rigid class convention, Natasha Solomons's stunning new novel tells the story of Elise Landau, a Jewish Austrian teenager from a family of artists, who is forced to flee her home in Vienna carrying only a guide to household management and her father's last novel, hidden on pages stuffed inside a viola. Elise hides as a parlor maid in a fine English country estate, but soon she discovers that passion can be found in the most unexpected places. Already a bestseller in Britain, American readers will thrill to The House at Tyneford.”—Katherine Howe, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Velvet and Glass


“Like Downton, this romance compellingly explores the upstairs-downstairs dynamic of estate life.”—Entertainment Weekly


“Solomons’s poignant tale provides richly textured details that hold the reader’s interest. Fans of Ann Patchett will find Solomons’s style similar and will appreciate how the subdued tone and the quiet of the countryside contrast with the roar of war.”—Library Journal


“Halfway though, I was so invested in this gorgeously written story that I could barely read on, fearful that what I wished to happen would never come to pass. Permeated with an exquisite sadness, it reminded me of Atonement . . . I adored this book.”—Donna Marchetti, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

Natasha Solomons is a screenwriter and the New York Times bestselling author of The Gallery of Vanished Husbands, The House at Tyneford, and Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English. She lives in Dorset, England, with her husband and young son.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452297648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452297647
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (358 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Natasha Solomons lives in Dorset, England. Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English is her first novel and was inspired in part by her childhood memories of her grandparents' cottage, bought with restitution money from Germany. The recipes in the novel are from her grandmother's cookbook.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

185 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Marks VINE VOICE on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"If, in early summer, I catch the scene of elderflower, I am 19 again, sitting cross-legged on the larder floor, clasping a basin of creamy dessert, refusing to cry." This is the voice of Elise Landau, heroine and narrator of Natasha Solomon's engrossing novel, THE HOUSE AT TYNEFORD.

Elise is born and raised in an educated family in Vienna. Her mother Anna is a singer; her father, Julian, a successful novelist. "A man who has experienced great sorrow and has known its end wakes each morning feeling the pleasure of sunrise," Julian tells her. But the sorrow of the Landau family is only beginning. It is 1938 in Vienna, Austria, and they are Jewish.

Seeking refuge from Nazi oppression, Anna and Julian are waiting for visas to America - but they can only get two. Elise must travel on her own to England, where as a refugee she will work as a maid on an English estate, Tyneford. Here, where she must learn to be invisible, she will work long hours and find herself living between not two but three worlds - her upbringing in Viennese society, the below-the-stairs life of an English servant, and eventually the milieu of the upper class English Rivers family. Here she will develop a deepening friendship with young Christopher (Kit) Rivers, and experience the complications that such a relationship will create.

Meanwhile, as Elise waits anxiously for word that her parents have received their visas and left for New York, England declares war on Germany, and Elise is now an alien enemy in her new country.

Natasha Solomons is an exceptional writer. She enables us to enter fully into Elise's experience and to care about what happens to her.
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120 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This story has an interesting premise. The star of the book is a daughter of a famed opera star and a respected novelist. Although they were raised in luxury, the family is in trouble as Hitler rises to power as they are Jewish. The eldest daughter and her husband are sent to America. Elise, though cosseted and pampered, is sent to England as a maid. The parents remain in Vienna trying to get exit visas.
While this started well, the story really goes nowhere while falling into every cliche it can find. Elise predictably falls in love with the son of the estate owner and is removed from her maid duties. The war upends her life in the most predictable way and she recovers in a way you can see a mile away.
This novel tries hard to be "Rebecca." The opening starts. "When I close my eyes I see Tyneford Hall. In the darkness as I lay down to sleep, I see the Purbeck stone frontage..." "Rebecca" is a classic for many reasons including the mastery of suspenseful tension. There is none of that in this book no matter how hard the author tries. "Rebecca" has many unexpected moments. This book has none. This is not a masterpiece in the making.
This is a nice, pleasant read with no surprises and if that's what you're looking for, you've found it.
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60 of 70 people found the following review helpful By C. Wong VINE VOICE on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Evocative, engrossing, enchanting, sorrowful, intense, emotional, this book is all of those words.

'The House at Tyneford is wonderful historical fiction. You will find yourself in pre-World War Vienna in the home of author Julian Landau and Anna Landau, opera singer. Their daughters, Margot and Elise are enjoying a wealthy and sheltered life, surrounded by creative parents, friends and family. Even though their father is an atheist and they have a Jewish ancestry and background. The world is changing. People are starting to disappear from their homes at night. The parents hold one last lavish party; the party goers will wear their sparkling jewels and fashionable dresses for one last time. Everyone knows what is coming. The details of the scenery, clothes, and houses in this book make you feel that you are indeed living in Vienna and later at Tyneford.

One of the daughters, Elise is different from the rest of the family; she has no musical or writing talent so her parents had her apply for a job as a domestic servant. Her English is not the best yet. Her ad reads"

"VIENNESE JEWESS, 19, seeks position as domestic servant. Speaks fluid English. I will cook your goose. Elise Landau. Vienna 4,Dorotheegasse, 30/5. "

She is hired and we go with her as she relates her story in first person. We learn what the living conditions of the staff in English mansions are like. We feel the war nearing England. We fall in love with the sea and the area in Dorset.

This is also a romantic story that reminds me of 'Jane Eyre' so much. This romance is not limited to the people who are in love but also to the landscape of the area and House at Tyneford. The characters are richly drawn and the author bases some of the characters on those in her own family.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Leena P. on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It wouldn't be fair to say that this is a bad novel just because it turned out to be the opposite of what I like but ratings are subjective so I'll have to give it what I thought it deserved....From the beginning of the story I can sense the struggle in the author trying too hard to be the character which I find annoying because I figure a good novel should make me feel immersed and not detached. I like Jane Austen and romance and therefore if that's what you like then this is not it, infact, the twist in the end of the novel made my stomach churn - I find it highly inappropriate in every way but I won't deny that the author was making the story realistic toward the end.

The first half of the story was as dreamy as you'd read Cinderella and everything falls into place immediately without any struggle which I find completely unrealistic and while I'm a hopeless romantic person, this was way too easy even for someone like me. E.g: Elise was a Jewish refugee that escaped to London and ended up as a housemaid in an English house, Kit (a rebellious young, handsome, rich, generous, and etc.) made a move on her quickly, they were to be engaged, from a maid whom has been thought of so lowly by her surroundings and abused then all of a sudden get accepted and become the lady of the house - all happened in a flash. And then all that Cinderella like plot went away in the second half of the story I didn't manage to switch on time and had trouble trying to get back into the story again and then it went all the way downhill to tragic - I don't mind the change but it should be smooth - this one I find very jumpy I couldn't relate.
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