From the moment you pick up The House at Tyneford and open to the first page, you realize this book is not like other books.
Set in the English countryside during the opening of World War II, The House at Tyneford depicts a struggle I’m sure occurred in many households. Elise, a Jewish woman from Austria, applies as a maid to a country home in England. The plan is to work there until her parents, headed to America, can send for her. What follows is a soon-to-be-classic story of love, loss, yearning, laughter and family, all set against the backdrop of World War II.
Natasha Solomons sets the scene perfectly. I’ve been to Vienna, and she captures the magic, the beauty, and the feeling like nothing else I’ve ever read. When we move to the shores of England, Solomons made me feel as though I was there, smelling the salty air, feeling the wind on my face. And the characters were as well-rounded as the scenery; solemn Mr. Rivers, playful Kit, strict Mrs. Ellsworth, determined Mr. Wrexham, beautiful Anna and uncertain Elise – they were alive in my head, and I didn’t want the book to end because that meant I would have to say goodbye to them all.
In short, when you pick up The House at Tyneford be prepared to keep it open all day. Perfect for a rainy afternoon, you can brew yourself a cup of tea, curl up next to the fire, and immerse yourself in 1940’s England. You will enjoy yourself.