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Novel In The Viola

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  14,730 Ratings  ·  1,885 Reviews
In the spring of 1938 Elise Landau arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay. A bright young thing from Vienna forced to become a parlour-maid, she knows nothing about England, except that she won't like it. As servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn, Elise wears her mother's pearls beneath her uniform, and causes outrage by dancing with a boy called Kit. ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 1st 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
Chloe Rattray
Feb 02, 2012 Chloe Rattray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Zirn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2013 Bridget rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

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
Jonna Rubin
Jan 13, 2013 Jonna Rubin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2016 Jeannie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I loved the detailed writing in this book. I could feel the cold and hear the waves crashing, I felt like I was at Tyneford House. I did not like the ending though, I was a little disappointed. I will read more by this writer though, her descriptions of the scenery were beautiful.
Julie Barrett
May 08, 2012 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-2012
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
Mar 09, 2013 Deborah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 29, 2011 tinne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 18, 2011 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Annie June
Nov 03, 2012 Annie June rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, ugh
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
Manuela Santos
May 13, 2015 Manuela Santos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uma história poderosa, brilhante, soberba, apaixonante, trágica, emocionante e comovente que me prendeu logo nas primeiras páginas e me fez verter algumas lágrimas :’( e acompanhou-me numa visita a um período conturbado, quando o regime Nazi tinha o poder soberano sobre a Europa
A escrita da autora é fluida, directa, clara, emocionante e cativante.
A leitura é empolgante, deliciosa, compulsiva, viciante e fascinante.

A Segunda Guerra Mundial para mim, é a minha época favorita de leituras, não pelas
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
Mary Ronan Drew
Oct 05, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
MaryannC.Book Fiend
Not wanting to spoil this for anyone, it was sad, could be tear-jerker sad and surprisingly based on the real village of Tyneham. Now I need to go out and read about this real life place and it's history.
Sep 13, 2015 J8J8 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4,5 estrelas
Nov 25, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-books
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

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
Elphaba J
Mar 06, 2013 Elphaba J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 07, 2012 SarahC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2014 Maureen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi-wwii, england
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
Jan 23, 2015 Aimen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I rounded up. This had so much potential. It's about this Jewish girl from Vienna and she's been revoked from her rich lifestyle to being a made in England. A gold love interest. But the like 65% in it, just.. So much can fall apart. There was so much disappointment I can't even. Read it though. If you're deciding, just read it up to like page 223 of the book.

It was promising. It had a great start, premise. The writing was good. It just go weird. It's ended so poorly I'm more upset abo
Sandra Melo
Feb 16, 2013 Sandra Melo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sem palavras, o melhor livro que li este ano.
Aug 02, 2013 Ameya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stars, Felt like Jane Eyre but fell short at the end

Elise Landau – I like the name – lives a life of privilege as a nineteen-year-old in Vienna, a city beautifully brought to life as it must have been in 1940. Born to beautiful parents, her mother being a gifted opera singer, Elise feels unattractive and overweight and regards herself as the butt of her family’s jokes. Never truly part of the bourgeois set because artists were not regarded as elite enough or aristocratic, the main problem faci
Susan Johnson
This story has an interesting premise. The star of the book is a daughter of a famed opera star and a respected novelist. Although they were raised in luxury, the family is in trouble as Hitler rises to power as they are Jewish. The eldest daughter and her husband are sent to America. Elise, though cosseted and pampered, is sent to England as a maid. The parents remain in Vienna trying to get exit visas.
While this started well, the story really goes nowhere while falling into every cliche it ca
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
Jul 20, 2011 Bowerbird rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 11, 2016 09:25AM  
Reading our way t...: Downton Abbey Lovers should check this one out 1 5 Feb 03, 2015 04:28PM  
Tyneford-it really happened! 5 100 Jan 16, 2014 03:44AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #4 The House at Tyneford 1 2 Jun 02, 2013 01:15PM  
Mr Rivers 7 103 Mar 24, 2013 03:10PM  
Have I gotta book for you! 1 65 Jul 13, 2012 09:00AM  
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Natasha Solomons is a writer and the New York Times bestselling author of The Gallery of Vanished Husbands, The House at Tyneford, and Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English. She lives in Dorset England, with her husband, the writer David Solomons, and their two young children. Song of Hartgrove Hall is her fourth novel.
More about Natasha Solomons...

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“It is the storyteller's prerogative to try to write, every now and then, the ending she might wish for. Even if it exists only on the white page.” 15 likes
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