Jenny's Reviews > The House at Tyneford

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
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's review
Jul 27, 2012

it was amazing
Read in July, 2012

The House at Tyneford is getting a lot of press thanks to its vague parallels with Downton Abbey, but in truth, it's more about a little-talked-about piece of World War II history: what happened to the young Jewish exiles who were able to escape Nazi-occupied territory before the war officially began. Solomons imagines what life would be like for a 19 year-old bourgeois Austrian girl (Elsie) to move to rural England in 1938 - being forced to abandon the cosmopolitan family and life she loves in Vienna for a foreign land, language, and lifestyle (she is brought to England as a parlour maid). While The House at Tyneford is in essence a story about love during wartime, I was most taken by how Solomons envisioned Elsie's coming of age - how she transforms from a soft, spoiled child into a sharp, commanding, surefooted young woman - all while trying to keep ties to her old life alive. Solomons delivers Elise's story with a beautifully descriptive balance of humor and heartbreak.
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