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The House I Loved Hardcover – February 14, 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 267 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rose has spent all her married life in her home on rue Childebert, and though Napoléon’s prefect now plans to tear the neighborhood down in the name of progress, she is unwilling to part with it. While she doggedly awaits the impending destruction, she writes letters to her beloved late husband, sharing memories from their past, both good and bad, and building up to a final confession that she has kept as her secret for 30 years. Set in nineteenth-century Paris during the Haussmann reconstructions of the Second Empire, this story is as much about that iconic city and its legacy as it is about the strength of its citizens. Those who enjoyed Sarah’s Key (2007) will recognize de Rosnay’s love for her native France and appreciate the poignancy and tenacity of her characters, but this newest novel is more one-dimensional than her earlier work. Told entirely through letters, the story tends to feel choppy and forced, and events are not related in chronological order, leaving the tale at times hard to follow. Still, fans of Sarah’s Key may want to sample the latest from de Rosnay. --Cortney Ophoff

Review

“In her quietly elegant 11th novel, the bestselling author of Sarah's Key again explores the idea of home as both sanctuary and embodiment of history… [Rose's] letters, poetic and honest, reveal a world soon to be destroyed by progress. A mesmerizing look at how the homes and neighborhoods we occupy hold not only our memories but our secrets as well.” ―People (3 out of 4 stars)

“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.” ―Kirkus (starred review)

“Those who enjoyed Sarah's Key will recognize de Rosnay's love for her native France and appreciate the poignancy and tenacity of her characters.” ―Booklist

“The core of Paris by a phenomenal novelist.” ―Elle (France)

“Fraught with drama, as the Sarah's Key author aims to create an immersive experience in a hugely transformative period in Paris…when the city was torn between modernity and tradition. In Rose, one gets the clear sense of a woman losing her place in a changing world.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Whether you approve of Baron Haussmann's modernization of the French capital or not, Tatiana de Rosnay's new book, The House I Loved, is sure to enthrall those who want to learn more about this fascinating period in history.” ―Out and About In Paris

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312593309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312593308
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sandra VINE VOICE on November 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is actually Rose Bazelet's letter to her deceased husband as she waits for their cherished family home to be torn down during the reconstruction-modernization of Paris in the 1860's. In it, she recalls her life with her husband and children, she updates her husband about her life since his death ten years before, and she divulges some secrets she didn't have the heart to share with him when he was alive. She expresses her feelings as she waits for her approaching death. She reveals her feelings about the importance of family history as she refuses to surrender to the renovation of "her" Paris.

This historical fiction reflects the reconstruction of Paris ordered by Napoleon III and the pain that many may have suffered as they lost the Paris that they knew, grew up with, and loved.

This book is filled with carefully-accurate sentiments. The characters and the settings come alive in the pages of this book, giving the reader a glimpse of the old Paris and its charm. This is a wonderful story of love, compassion, strength, and family.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tatiana DeRosany gained many followers with her successful book,"Sarah's Key."

This new book, "The House I Loved," won me over with the descriptions of life in Paris before Napoleon III decided to raze the city and build a monument to his greatness.

In doing so, he and his architects swept away homes like so many fallen leaves, disregarding the impact of moving thousands of citizens out of their old homes. They paid for the "inconvenience," but money cannot buy a neighborhood.

The book is written as both letters and meditations by Rose Bazelet as she waits for the house to fall down around her. She remembers her youth, her marriage, her friends.

The atmosphere of Paris is well defined in this book. The plot is somewhat hazy and then the "big" surprise at the end isn't so big at all.

I liked the book well enough, but I wouldn't call it great fiction. For me, the local color aspect wins.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have mixed feelings about this book, but because it taught me about a period of history I had not yet known, it is deserving of praise. I was completely unaware that during the reign of Napoleon III, the city of Paris was besieged by a radical redesign plan. Medieval alleys, narrow streets, dead ends and ancient buildings were all demolished to create a more modern, efficient and sanitary Paris. But what of all the people residing in these buildings that were laid to waste to make room for wider boulevards, proper sewers, and stone facades?

Rose has firmly decided that she will not abandon the house she loved, the house that had been in her late husband's family for generations. The novel is one long letter to her husband in an attempt to justify her defiance and to illustrate her life since his death. The chapters were short and this was a relatively quick read, and though I enjoyed some of Rose's recollections, much of her narrative was redundant. She is overly nostalgic and she constantly laments her contempt for the Prefect (Baron Haussmann, the man behind the urban redevelopment). In the beginning of the book, I can understand why she would have such an attachment to this house, but as she reveals the horrible memories she also associates with it, it made me frustrated. It's not only that she invests such emotion to a house that has brought her both happiness and pain, but Rose is not an entirely likeable character. She's a bit haughty, vain, and insolent. There are other characters that I really liked, especially Rose's tenant and flower shop owner Alexandrine and the local book store proprietor. I felt there was a duality to Rose that was not entirely reconciled.

As a piece of historical fiction, it was entirely effective in making me want to learn about the subject of the renovations of Paris in the 19th century. It was not exceptionally written, but I read it quickly and did enjoy aspects of it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love Paris and was excited to get a book that dealt with the era of Paris's reinvention. However, this book did not deliver on that, nor on any storyline that was worth the 200+ pages. The book was written as a letter from an elderly woman to her long dead husband, who's family home was being razed to make way for Baron Haussmann's new boulevards. The writing was barely worthy of a Harlequin Romance novel and the "big secret" could be guessed from as early as page 50. I think that I'll have to stick to non fiction accounts of the era and the process.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I seem to be in the minority here, but......I finished this book this morning and LOVED it! From the beginning, I just knew it wasn't going to have a "feel good" ending. AND that's okay. I feel the author wrote the story realistically, not the way readers maybe thought she should. de Rosnay stayed true to the story she was telling. Yes, I'm a confirmed Francophile, but there was SO much more to this story. But I did very much enjoy reading, once again, about my beloved Paris. I connected with Rose and some of the other characters very easily. I thought the author did a superb job of creating her character. Almost felt like I was there with Rose, listening to and observing her story as it unfolded.

Over all....a most definite FIVE for this book. Very well done!
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