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3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  812 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Each life has its place, and every variation ripples the surface of the tiny alpine village called Rosenau. Be it a mysteriously misaddressed love letter or a girl's careless delivery of two helpless relatives into Nazi hands, the town's balance is ever tested, and ever tender. Here is a novel spanning eighty years -- years that bring factories and wars, store-bought chees ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 5th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published 1997)
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Oct 26, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book of interconnecting stories through 1909 to 1977.
It follows the women of a close knit community in the remote alpine village of Rosenau.
Their hopes, dreams, secrets and loves.
It opens with a letter addressed to Anna, but who is it really meant for as lots of women were named the same as a family tradition.
I found it to be a very moving book and one that I instantly want to re- read.
This will stay with me for a long time.
Jun 14, 2011 Chrissie rated it it was ok


This novel is about the relationships between women in a remote Austrian village. It starts before WW1 and continues through the 1970s. The central theme is the women's lives and their relationships to each other, many of which were tied by family bonds: mothers, daughters, grandmothers, cousins, half-sisters and as the years pass great-great-grandchildren. As in any family there are the grumps, the beauties, the intellectuals and each is accepted for what they are. I, the reader,
Feb 16, 2009 Rilla rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of stories revolving around the people, mostly the women, who live in a small rural town in the mountains of western Austria in the early to mid-20th century. Reminiscent of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, the book is full of women's stories, conflict, hopes and dreams. Few leave the small town in their lifetime, but that does not mean they do not have rich and fulfilling lives, some with secrets to keep.
Feb 13, 2009 Nancy rated it it was ok
Although this was a quick read and I was able to keep track of characters using the clan charts at the back of the book, I feel like I never really got a complete story—too many questions. Who was the mysterious postcard from at the book's beginning? Why did the Wainwright marry Theres after being repulsed by her shameful act? Why does the author kill off Martha? I'd like to see more of a story about her and about the romance between her mother and the Italian deserter. Why does Katharina feel t ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've read this book four times now over the last several years and love it more each time. Each chapter focuses primarily on a different woman in the same Austrian farming village over a span of 70 or so years of the 20th century, based on true stories the author was told in such villages. Some of the women's stories aren't fully told until they pop up in a future chapter of another woman, often a relative. A moving look into the challenging lives of women (and men) in rural Europe through wars ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Ruth rated it really liked it
A quiet book about quiet lives in a secluded alpine village in Austria. Despite the seclusion the lives are rich and full, the characters memorable, and outside events shape experience - the world wars bringing change of various sorts to lives traditionally spent in farming and cheese making. It is the women's lives that are portrayed, with interlinking stories that take us from the early twentieth century to the seventies. Their lives are circumscribed by their domestic and farming duties; thei ...more
May 04, 2012 Daisy rated it really liked it
I am worried about this, but there's nothing to do but try. Simple and worth remembering.

This is a lovely novel of connected stories that spans from the early 20th century to the late 1970s in a remote valley of western Austria. The women are strong and wistful and tragic and heartening. To me, it's full of beautiful truths.

A farmer's wife is as good as her cheese; her cheese can be no better than her rennet. Many other failings may stay hid throughout the years: she can feed unrisen bread to th
Jun 10, 2009 Anne-Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This story was beautifully written, but I really expected more out of it. It was a series of short stories about various women from the same village who are all somehow related. It had the potential to be very juicy, but there were so many people involved that it was hard to keep track of their stories. The mystery behind many of the stories was lost. (Too bad I didn't read the Table of Contents first to see that the family trees were charted in the back of the book! Argh.) I enjoyed the first h ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it
I almost gave this book five stars as it has left an impression on me. After reading the stories I felt I had grown to know the families over the generations. Lippi cleverly weaves the inter-connected tales in chronological order and thankfully gives a family tree at the front of the book. As I was finishing this book in the Swiss Alps it has helped to enrich my experience of life in the mountains especially as I walked up to some of the remote hamlets in winter.
Catherine Gillespie
Homestead, Rosina Lippi’s lovely collection of interrelated stories about a small village in the Austrian Alps, captures the depth of human nature and richness of relationships in seemingly small settings and quiet lives.

Each of Lippi’s vingettes centers around a woman from the village–a snapshot of life in the village over a span of about 70 years, including the World Wars. In Rosenau, families are interrelated, and people are known by their connection to the land and to the people they come fr
Apr 09, 2014 Sabine rated it it was amazing
I was skeptical when somebody mentioned this book to me. The stories of the women in this book are all set in an area close to where I grew up. I doubted that an outsider could paint an accurate picture of this remote farming area. But I must admit that my skepticism was ungrounded.

This is an excellent book for anybody who wants to know what it must have been like to make it through World War I and II (and beyond) in a remote valley in Europe.

The only trouble I had was trying to remember from
Feb 03, 2009 Michelegg rated it liked it
This wasn't a book I would have ever chosen on my own, to read (I read it with my bookclub). It was confusing, hard to keep the characters straight. But I actually wound up enjoying it. Ms. Lippi has a writing style I so enjoy. She writes beautifully. I loved the words of the book. It was a beautiful book, full of wonderful characters.
Ellen Broadhurst
Jun 01, 2014 Ellen Broadhurst rated it it was amazing
What a quietly brilliant book this was. It reminded me of a connect the dot puzzle: each line brought you closer to solving the picture puzzle, and yet, when you're finished, you've just got a deeply unsatisfying line sketch.

Five stars and "deeply unsatisfying" probably shouldn't go hand in hand, but I *loved* this book. It is short and simple, and I just wanted it to go on forever. I wanted to know more about each of the 12 women briefly profiled, I wanted to know more about their families, th
Alex Gutteridge
Oct 31, 2015 Alex Gutteridge rated it it was amazing
Wow!On the front of my copy of this book is the word 'exquisite'. For me that describes it perfectly. Rosina Lippi describes the lives of various families living in a small Alpine village over a period of seventy years. Every word has been chosen with the utmost care, lives are described with such skilful economy which miraculously conveys a wealth of detail. This is not a long book at 194 pages but it is perfectly pitched and you cannot fail to be involved within the lives of the characters and ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Chrystyna rated it really liked it
Homestead by Rosina Lippi - Very Good

A lovely little book set in a tiny village in the Austrian alps and concentrating on the Homesteads there: passed from generation to generation since time immemorial. It follows three particular Homesteads and their families from just before WW1 through to the mid-1970s, singling out a women from each Homestead at a particular (usually significant) point in time and telling her tale. Quite touching in places and very interesting how the rest of the world seem
Mar 13, 2015 Siv30 rated it it was amazing
מה כבר יכול להתרחש בכפר אוסטרי פסטורלי? הפרות ירעו באחו, האיכרים יחבצו חמאה וגבינה, סה"כ חיי עבודה לא קלים משחרית ועד לילה. אך רוזינה ליפי, מצליחה ביד אמן עדינה וכישרונית לרקום מתוך חיים לכאורה משעממים, חסרי דרמות וגוון את הדרמות המסעירות ביותר.

ליפי פורשת במיומנות את סיפורן של תריסר נשים המתגוררות בשתי נחלות שברוזנאו. הספר מתחיל בתחילת המאה העשרים, ב- 1909, עם סיפורה של אנה ובמכתב מכותב מסתורי הממוען לאנה (רק שלא ברור לאיזו אנה) ומסתיים בשנות השבעים, ב- 1977, בסיפורה של לאורה.

סיפורים מרגשים, אמי
Jun 16, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this quite a challenging read as the names were so complicated. The chapters are told by or about different people and it does sort of come together but it is sort of a combination between a novel and a collection of short stories. I imagined the village to be a bit like that of 'Heidi' and found the descriptions of their lives fascinating. I can't say I really warmed to any of the characters but rather more to the way of life and their traditions.

It was not really like any other book I
Lisa Kearns
Jun 24, 2013 Lisa Kearns rated it really liked it
I like Rosina Lippi's writings under her pen-name Sara Donati, so I was eager to read this book. We lived in Austria years ago, and that was another reason I thought I would enjoy this book.

The author writes what amounts to short stories about the lives of 12 different women in a small Austrian village, taking place in the years between 1909 and 1977. She writes about small town gossip and politics, food and social customs and styles of clothing for each of these eras. She also covers the Nazi o
Jan 02, 2016 Jacquie rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that lingers in your mind. I keep thinking about it. At first I found it hard to keep the characters straight. Each chapter focused on a different person, in a different time. But that may have been the author's intention because one of the things that I keep thinking about is the interconnectedness of the people of Rosenau - their connections endure through time, distance, family troubles and even into death.
Oct 07, 2015 Mirrani rated it really liked it
The story of women from an Austrian village that spans from the early 1900s to the 70s. Watching the town change through time was interesting and seeing how the peoples' lives were intertwined was equally as interesting. I don't often enjoy books where you have to keep so many people straight that you need a family tree, but the storytelling in this instance was just what I needed to become part of what I was reading. In a way, I felt as if I had visited the place and met the people.

There is muc
I really enjoyed this engaging story, told by various female narrators, all residents of a tiny mountain village in Austria. From this insular community comes a strong sense of the ties that bind women across generations and the cultural particularities of a life so remote and agrarian that it felt almost medieval.

I felt the ways in which this village was touched by two world wars were poignant and not at all expected or formulaic. What was surprising was the way the author was able to use some
Dec 23, 2015 Heidi rated it liked it
Homestead is a story or group of stories centred on the lives of a farming community in the Austrian Alps. The stories unravel the lives and interconnectedness of the villagers, predominantly during and between the world wars. I loved the writing style and the setting. Keeping track of the multiple characters was something of a challenge but clan charts at the front of the book helped.
Begona Fernandez
Don't even remember how I came across this book. It's been on my book shelf for years. Tired on seeing it and saying i would read next time I gave it a chance. I was not disappointed.

A book about village women may sound dreary and boring but it wasn't. Rosina managed to make a life so different from the city life I lead interesting, full of complexities and details. The characters are all rounded and compelling and you end up caring and wanting to now more.

Besides the change of focus on characte
Michele Weiner
Oct 03, 2013 Michele Weiner rated it really liked it
This book of stories about the inhabitants of a fictional village in the Austrian Alps was extremely engaging. Beginning in 1909 and continuing through the 1970's, the stories concern daily life in Rosenau, with heavy emphasis on how the world wars invaded even the unremarkable lives of its most remote citizens. Rosina Lippi was able to describe and evoke the customs and language of the people in the village, and her structure of stories with overlapping characters enabled her to move nimbly fro ...more
Aug 07, 2014 Jennie rated it liked it
Tightly woven short stories about women in a small Austrian mountain village in the 20th century. Fascinating from a geographical and cultural perspective. As with most short stories (IMHO) the good ones leave you wanting more (ie disappointed it's only a short story) and the not so good ones are just that.
Mar 09, 2014 Wilsonwright rated it really liked it
Beautifully written series of stories, each chapter from a different woman's point of view at a different time... I found the clan charts essential to the understanding of each story. I loved coming back to the charts over and over again for clarity. What a range of emotions.
Mar 24, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't want it to end and have added it to my favorite books. Maybe because of the setting, a mountain village set somewhere in Appenzell or the Austrian Alps, the story is about the relationships within this small community. The setting is just before, during and after WW2. The characters are true and well thought out, each with their own history with each other, their associations with the past, and expectations for the future, realized or not. A definite read especially if you love the skie ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Sam rated it really liked it
This book is a series of short stories about life over a period of almost 70 years in a small Austrian village. It was cited as the "best book ever written" in some literary review article I read so I decided to give it a shot. The narration is through the eyes of women living in the village including housewives, a school teacher, and a nurse.

It consists of 12 stories and only 200 pages. It does take some work keeping track of the relationships of all the "characters". If that annoys you then ch
Jan 03, 2013 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-historical
I only wish it were more. I wanted to read so much more...

My ancestors are of German descent from the Rhine Valley, they were farmers and winemakers. I couldn't help bu imagine their lives thru this book. When I visited Germany for a family reunion, we visited several of our ancestral villages, 2 so small our tour bus could only sit a few moments on the road, and look down into the valley, there was no place to pull in.

While not alpine, I can't help but think my ancestors lived much the same way
Oct 26, 2015 Joanne rated it liked it
A quick read, but not one I would recommend. It is the story of life in a small alpine village beginning before World War 1 and ending around the 1960s. Each chapter is told from a different villager's POV but some are much more compelling than others and many things are left unexplained.
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Rosina Lippi also writes historical fiction under the name Sara Donati.
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“I am worried about this, but there's nothing to do but try.” 3 likes
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