Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: The House at Tyneford (Audiobook)




The House at Tyneford (US)/The Novel in the Viola (UK) by Natasha Solomons
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII
Length: 14 hours and 11 minutes
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Source: eLibrary
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Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | Audiobook | B&N | Book Depo

Description:
It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford-and Elise-forever.

My Rating:
My Review:
Elise's world turns upside down when she must leave everything and everyone she knows and become a parlor made at Tyneford house.  She's homesick for her family and her customs and finds that she does not fit in with the help or with the family of the house.  Elise's journey is one of growth and reflection.

Overall...
I really enjoyed this read but this is not your typical historical fiction or WWII read.  The writing and story reads like classic literature and the setting seems more secondary.  So if you choose books based on the genre, I'd take note.

On the story...
Again, I enjoyed the story and the character development.  The writing stands out above the rest and Ms. Solomons pays great attention to detail without bogging down the story.  There is little focus on the war but there is much tragedy and this is a sad story.  At first I was a little bothered by the romance in this story but upon reflection it did fit.  For the most part, I never really knew where the story was going.  I didn't know if the resolution would be the ending of the war or reuniting (or not) with her family.  Ultimately, it ended up being a coming of age story but it bothered me that I really couldn't tell as I was listening.

On the narrator...
At first I was quite disconnected from Ms. Eyre because I felt Elise sounded too old but then I realized that Elise is telling her story when she is much older and reflecting on her youth.  This realization put the story in perspective and I enjoyed listening.  Ms. Eyre does a fantastic job with the different accents and I really felt like I was there as the story took place.

Read this if you enjoy classic literature or coming of age stories.


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16 comments:

  1. I have noticed a lot of Historical Fiction is going that way with more emphasis on the characters than the setting. I think Downton Abbey has a lot to do with this trend and I don't mind it at all!

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    1. It was kind of a surprise but I liked it. I hadn't noticed the trend but I'm happy with it. It shakes things up a bit.

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  2. I heard about this book a few months ago and forgot about it until I read your review! I think it's something that I would really enjoy.

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  3. Sounds great. And I love stories where folks reflect back.

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    1. I do too. I just wished I had known earlier. This was my fault though not the book.

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  4. I am glad that you enjoyed it too :D
    I hope to read more by her

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  5. Oh, this sounds pretty good! I like the idea of it and I love that you liked it!
    Will put it on wishlist! :D

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    1. Make sure you find the correct title. It was weird when I found it had different titles.

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  6. Another awesome WWII book!

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    1. It's set during WWII but it isn't really like the others in the genre. I'm not sure that the WWII part is the stand out part for me. Those who don't like WWII novels would still enjoy this one.

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  7. Thanks for this review. I like it when a narrator gets the accents correct. It makes or breaks an audioboook for me.

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    Replies
    1. I feel the same way. They also make me appreciate that I'm listening instead of figuring it out on my own.

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