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The House at Tyneford

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  11,139 ratings  ·  1,545 reviews
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 T ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Plume (first published April 28th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maia B.
Like Downton Abbey? Sweepingly romantic? Beautifully written? None of the above.

First, the only reason this has been compared to Downton Abbey is that it takes place in a country house in England and characters from upstairs and downstairs are big. That part of the premise is similar - the same. But there's none of DA's biting humor, or quick-sharp plots, or characters you love or love to hate or just hate. "The House at Tyneford" is...well...boring.

It gets off to a sssslllloooowwww start, and t
...more
Amanda Zirn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chloe Rattray
I've just turned the last page, and I am buzzing with the particular ache that you get when you finish a great book and you suddenly wish the whole world had read it so they'd understand. The Novel in the Viola is, in short, spectacular. The language, the intricate characters that grow and grow and grow, and the story itself that says what it has to say and says it simply and elegantly - it is a masterpiece. At its core, The Novel in the Viola is just a story about a girl that loves and loses an ...more
Jonna Rubin
I very much enjoyed this. It's imperfect, sure -- the author is a little obsessed with foreshadowing to such a degree that almost nothing is a surprise -- but it has the most beautiful sense of place. Tyneford is lovely, and it's not just the description of the town, but the characters within it. I see a lot of people complaining that this is NOT Downton Abbey-esque as the jacket/marketing promised, and I guess it isn't in the upstairs/downstairs sense, but I thought this did a beautiful job of ...more
Bridget
Audiobook.

This might take a while. My damage with this book, beginning with the most egregious issues:

1. The main character, Elise, is absolutely unlikable. Her own family kind of doesn't like her, and it's not in that heart-wrenching, Jacob Have I Loved way where you feel like shaking them and yelling, "she's better than the lot of you, you idiots!!!" No. I don't blame them for not liking her. She whines about her lack of musical talent in an exceptionally musical family. She calls her parents
...more
Viviana
Como fã assumida da famosa série televisiva "Downton Abbey" não podia deixar de ler este livro. E devo dizer que não me arrependo nada de o fazer! :)
Ainda que com algumas semelhanças com a série (período histórico e plano de acção), este romance de Natasha Solomons é completamente original.
A protagonista, Elise Landau, é ainda uma jovem, imatura e mimada, quando é forçada a deixar o seu país, a sua família e a vida privilegiada da alta sociedade austríaca para servir como criada numa austera man
...more
Julie Barrett
This book is one of the ones where I can't decide whether to rush through the book to find out what happens vs. wanting to read slowly so the book and the fictional world inside it never end. Set in Europe in the days leading up to & during WWII, the book follows Elise, the teenage daughter of upper middle class cosmopolitan Jews living in Vienna.(Oh no, Jews in Austria -you know it can't end well)Elise manages to get a work visa to Britain, where she works as a servant. The majority of the ...more
Laura
Book Review: The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomon

Confession: I was in one of my favorite bookstores, Denver’s The Tattered Cover (AKA: A piece of heaven!). One of the things that I like about the Tattered Cover is that it always has interesting displays that pique my interest—even if the display is on a subject that is not usually of interest to me. So, when I saw the display of books that said, “If you loved Downton Abbey, you’ll love these” (or something like that), I was there. I loved Do
...more
Jane
I loved The Novel in the Viola.

It is one of those books in which everything – characters, emotions, settings, writing, period, storylines – is right. And everything works together beautifully to produce a book that is far more than the sum of those parts.

At heart though, The Novel in the Viola is the story of a life. The life of Elise, younger daughter of Anna and Julian Landau. Opera singer and novelist respectively. Elise worries that she is not as talented as her sister, Margot, but that cast
...more
Mary Ronan Drew
This title must have come to my attention from somebody's blog because it's just the sort of book my blogging friends like most, a bit like an Elizabeth von Arnim novel with a touch of Rebecca superimposed. The story is based on the experience of the author's great-aunt, who as a young woman left Vienna for England before World War II and worked as a domestic at an English estate. The house and village that the fictional Elise comes to love are also based on a real story, that of the lost villag ...more
Tracy
As I'm currently watching the second season of "Downton Abbey" on PBS, this novel fit quite well with my current mind set.
The story begins in Vienna, where our main character Elise Landau is living the good life with her family. Her mother is a singer and her father is an author and they decide to send Elise, who is 19, to England to escape the occupation of Austria by the Nazis. The family is Jewish and they plan to eventually meet up in America when the rest of the family can secure visas.
Eli
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Judy

I read this for one of my reading groups and found it fairly good historical fiction. It stands out as yet another story derived from the global event called World War II. I don't suppose we will run out of tales about that for a good long time.

Elise Landau is 19 and forced to emigrate from Vienna to England in 1938 because she is Jewish, her father is a novelist out of favor with the Third Reich, and her parents want to keep her safe. Apparently, many young, affluent girls escaped Europe on a d
...more
Elphaba J
Uma das editoras que mais me tem vindo a surpreender pela riqueza das suas histórias é ASA. São histórias com uma rara beleza, descritas através vidas que se traduzem em romances credíveis e com uma escrita cuidada, são oportunidades de leituras extraordinárias e que eu vou recordar durante muito tempo. Depois em 2012 ter descoberto A Menina da Falésia (opinião) e O Segredo de Sophia (opinião), heis que 2013 me estreio nesta editora com Uma Casa de Família, uma narrativa perfeita em todos sentid ...more
Annie June
Skipping the summary of the novel itself, I found The House at Tyneford while browsing Amazon and finding that it was highly rated, was similar to Downton Abbey, and an interesting premise. I can tell why the book would be recommended to those who enjoy the show Downton Abbey, and for the first half of the novel the story was interesting. Elise's life from Viennese bourgeois to maid was interesting enough to keep me reading, and Solomon's descriptive writing never overshadowed the plot. That bei ...more
SarahC
A very touching WWII-era story. I found it in a promo section of the bookstore with an "upstairs/downstairs" theme, but I really thought this story rose above this little marketing section. The main character is a young girl from Vienna, a refuge from a respected, artistic family sent to England to work as a servant. As in similar novels, the young Elise falls in love with the charming heir to her new home Tyneford, a beautiful, wild, coastal estate.

What sets the story apart is that the main cha
...more
Blodeuedd Finland
The book was both heartbreaking, breathtaking and lovely at the same time. You know it will be sad when the heroine is a Jew during WWII but I still cling to hope, it could happen. The ending itself is bittersweet and fitting and could have made me cry.

The story is about Elise who becomes a maid in England just before the start of the war. Her mother is a famous opera singer, her father an obscure novelist. She is not fit for service really, but does her best. her luck is the household she ends
...more
tinne
In general, I'd say it was a disappointment, mainly because the story was highly predictable and not original in its set-up at all. The gist of this story has been written before, much better and more enthralling. Think Jane Eyre, for example.

The protagonist, Elise/Alice, is an omniscient narrator who gives away clues about events that will take place 100 pages later in such a way that even a mildly experienced reader knows exactly what's going to happen. The three main events that carry the sto
...more
Jennifer Peterson
I am very interested in World War II-era stories, especially stores of those affected by the Holocaust. This book starts at the beginning of WW2 in Vienna. Elise and her family have a good life in Austria . Her father is a novelist, her mother is a musician. The problem is that they are Jewish. The family is trying to get everyone out of the country, but they are having problems getting visas. Elise is able to leave the country because she is being sponsored by an English family to come and work ...more
Lígia Bibliomigalhas
http://bibliomigalhas.blogspot.pt/201...

Este livro anuncia logo na capa que é um romance para todos os fãs de "Downton Abbey" e contrariamente ao esperado isso deixou-me de pé atrás. Sou fã da série desde a primeira temporada e estava com receio de que esta história não lhe chegasse nem aos calcanhares, mas fui surpreendida.

Este livro dava, por si só, uma bela minissérie, com um cenário deslumbrante e personagens cativantes, num enredo que decorre numa das épocas da História Mundial que consider
...more
Deborah
Why would I give this seemingly well written novel only 1 star? The heroine deserved to be written correctly for her time...

I love reading CLEAN and HIGH STANDARD moral novels. I ENJOYED the over-all story, but was so disgusted in the eventual trashiness of the heroine. When this AUTHOR took the key heroine of the story and had her SCREAM aloud every filthy word she could express during a low point of her life...I thought, WHAT in the world is this author thinking? The heroine was reared with a
...more
Maureen
I'm not sure why this book is recommended for people who enjoy Downton Abbey - while it takes place in England during the start of WWII, that's about where the similarity ends. However, I did enjoy the book and would probably give it 3.5 stars. It's not truly four stars in that there are a few things that happen during the story that I didn't think were all that believable, but I think it rated a bit more than 3 stars, which for my personal rating system, is just average and I thought it was bet ...more
Sandra
Sem palavras, o melhor livro que li este ano.
Kathryn
I feel as though I have been reading a lot of books about war this year! But this time period does interest me and I enjoyed this story. This was a bittersweet romance about a young, Jewish, upper-class Austrian girl forced to flee to England for safety before the outbreak of WWII take a position as a housemaid to support herself.

I enjoyed reading about her coming to grips with the English language, and discussing books as part of her “education”. This book is on a list of “Downton Abbey-esque b
...more
Bowerbird
A straightforward story with very few surprises, but nevertheless I have to admit that I really enjoyed it. While at times the story seems rather naive there is a great sense of time and place plus the element of nostalgia.
Elise, a well-to-do Jewish girl flees the comfort of her Austrian home to become a parlour-maid in England as war breaks out. (Having read The Hare with Amber Eyes only recently I am more aware of how wealthy Jewish families suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.) Margot,
...more
Denise
This is the story of a Jewish young lady from Vienna, Elise, who went to work as a housemaid for a British squire on his rural estate at Tyneford. The story is set against the back story of WW 2, but I think it would have worked against just about any backdrop. Elise left Vienna because of the war; her beloved parents, Anna and Julian, and her sister, Margot, were to move to America, but there was no via for Elise. After moving to Tyneford, Elise and the squire's son fell in love and became enga ...more
Carol
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 ch
...more
Charla Wilson
I tend to like a book that evokes strong emotions within me and this one certainly did just that! This is a beautifully written story about loss, love and survival. If you are a Downton Abbey fan, then you will love this book. It is the story of Elise who is a member of the Austrian Bourgeoisie during WWII. Elises' mother Anna is a well known opera singer and her father is a well known author. Her sister, Margot is also a a musician. Elise is the only family member that does not seem to have any ...more
Jennie Dopp
If you're missing Downton Abbey in the off season, this may be a good option for you. This book occurs at the onset of WWII. Elise, an elite Jewish young woman from Vienna has secured a position in service in order to escape the danger developing in her homeland. Elise has to navigate the transition of living "upstairs" to the life "downstairs" and all that comes with it, including new people in her life. I thought this was a great read despite a little smooch scene. Enjoy.
Roger Pettit
"The Novel in the Viola" by Natasha Solomons is a very good work of fiction. It captures beautifully the sense of displacement, separation, loss and emotional trauma that millions of people must have experienced as a result of World War II. It's written in an unobtrusive style and it tells a fascinating story, one which is apparently based on actual events.

The principal character is Elise Landau. The daughter of wealthy, bohemian, middle-class Jewish parents, Elise is forced to flee Nazi anti-S
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Ms. Solomons took me back to the time around the beginning of WWII through the eyes of a girl who is a stranger in a strange land, and in such a way that my heart was completely affected by this story. Descriptive, nostalgic, and highly evocative.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

Reviewed in the January issue of Affaire de Coeur magazine. http://affairedecoeur.com.
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Natasha Solomons is a writer who lives with her husband in rural Dorset. Her first novel, Mr Rosenblum's List or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman (titled in the US Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English) was published in 2010. According to her website, she is currently trying to finish a PhD on eighteenth-century poetry.
More about Natasha Solomons...
Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English The Gallery of Vanished Husbands Un perfetto gentiluomo (Narrativa) Reader's Digest Select Editions 2010 - The Chosen One, Mr Rosenblum's List, Nowhere To Run, Safe Haven

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