Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The House At Tyneford-Natasha Solomons

The House At Tyneford

Natasha Solomons

Plume, Dec 27 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780452297647

In 1938, Nazi encroachment into Austria makes it unsafe to be a Jew even in Vienna. Nineteen year old Elise Landau leaves her family and her privileged lifestyle to accept a position as a maid at The House at Tyneford.

Miserable as she misses her mother the opera star, her father the novelist and her sister, Elise is bitter at what has happened to her. Instead of dancing at galas and being served by servants, she serves drinks. While she struggles with being an outsider due to her previous social status and her religion, Elise fails to free her family. While the war comes to England, Elise and the Tyneford heir Kit fall in love, but he feels obligated to join the Royal Navy.

This is a strong WWII era drama starring a wonderful displaced protagonist who goes from anger at what happened to her and her family to contentment at Tyneford. The cast is solid especially the protagonist who keeps the discerning story line focused. Readers will root for Elise to meet up with her loved ones though chances are slim as the Nazis eradicated centuries of tradition; there is no longer a “Fiddler”, but perhaps a glimmer of hope if a viola survives the Final Solution.

Harriet Klausner

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