This book was a pure pleasure to read, its only downside being that it eventually finished. With romance, a backdrop of the second world war, and servants this has so much in it.
It is 1938 in Vienna and the Landau family who are Jewish are starting to see the storm clouds gathering. It is decided that Elise, their nineteen year old daughter, will apply for a servant's position in England, and then her sister and brother-in-law will get visas to move to California, and the parents will get visas and move to New York. The plan is then for Elise to join her parents in New York, providing they can get a visa for her.
Taking a position in a country house in Tyneford, Dorset, Elise finds herself not only having to quickly increase her English vocabulary, but also having to learn how to do a maids work, not easy for someone who is used to having servants wait on her. With Elise not really fitting in she becomes a bit of a problem, being too posh for the rest of the servants, but because of her position, too low for the house owner. With romance in the air, Elise finds her position changing; as well as having to cope with the worry of what is happening to the rest of the family, due to delays in the postal service, she also has to worry about her lover who is at war. Taking in the period just before war, and then into the war there is a lot to interest in this book.
With soical comedy as well as other humour, there is more than a hint of romance here, as well as the difficulties of being an immigrant in a different country and having to work below the normally accepted level for different classes. This is well written and more than holds your interest, but alas, like all good books it has to come to an end. Taking in a world that no longer exists, and was disappearing at the time anyway, this has a piece of nostalgia for a simpler life.