Katrina Stonoff's Reviews > The House I Loved

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
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's review
Aug 15, 2012

it was ok
Read in August, 2012

I LOVED Sarah's Key. Didn't everyone? It was an incredible book -- evocative, tragic and compelling. So I was hesitant to read a followup, terribly afraid I'd be disappointed. It's so hard to follow a success like Sarah's Key.

Sadly, I was more than disappointed by The House I Loved. I was annoyed. The ONLY reason I bothered to finish the book at all was because it was (thankfully!) very short and a quick read, so I knew I could finish it at one sitting. Had I set it down, even once, even for a moment, I would not have bothered to pick it up again.

Having said that ... the setting was fantastic. I don't know much about Paris and didn't know about the destructive facelift Baron Haussmann gave the city in the 1860s. I found the map on the inside cover fascinating, and poured over it every time de Rosnay mentioned a place.

Problem is ... there just wasn't a story. And no real conflict. Nothing really happened. The bulk of the tale is an old woman sitting in an empty house writing a letter to her dead husband. She writes of meeting him -- love at first sight! Of meeting his mother -- who immediately adored her! And all the other wonderful things they shared. It's an age-old quandary among writers: the life we all want (happy childhood, love and marriage, happy ever after) makes for a lousy story. The life nobody would want (think Dickens) -- now that is an interesting story! With a couple of hiccups, Rose Bazelet, the old woman, has the life we all want. Not the life we want to read about.

There is suspense of a sort created by a mysterious incident that Rose has hidden from her husband, but it's an artificial and ineffective suspense because I just didn't care. And I guessed what it was by the second time she referred to it.

As I said, I thought Sarah's Key was brilliant. I thought I'd be reading everything this author wrote. But unless someone can give me a pretty strong motivation for trying again, I think I'm done.
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Deidra S Very Very boring ,so disappointed. Would not could recommend this to anyone.

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