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The English through Mr Rosenblum's eyes,
This review is from: Mr Rosenblum's List: or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman (Hardcover)
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Jack and Sadie Rosenblum come to England from Germany in the 1930s. Jack is keen to become an Englishman and takes to heart the information about integrating which is detailed in a pamphlet he receives on landing in this country. As he attempts to put the advice into practice he adds his own notes to the list in the hope if writing a new set of guidelines. He insists his family speak English at all times and do their best to fit in and fade into the background. But his wife is not happy and misses her family back in Germany.
Jack builds up a successful carpet making business and his cup of happiness would be overflowing if he could only find a golf club which would allow him to be a member. He hasn't ever played golf himself but he knows the true Englishman plays golf and belongs to a golf club. Eventually he decides to build his own golf course and buys a tumbledown house in the wilds of Dorset with 60 acres of land attached. His aim is to have the course finished by the time of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953. In spite of Jack's tenacity and determination he has his work cut out as it is already the middle 1952.
The story of Jack's golf course and the way he is taken to the hearts of the Dorset villagers is well told. There are some marvellous humorous touches and some poignant happenings. Sadie remembers her lost childhood in the ramshackle house and the green countryside and loses herself in baking from her mother's recipe book. The villagers call them Mr and Mrs Rose-in-bloom even when Jack changes their name to Rose. But there are serpents in this Eden and not everything goes smoothly.
I enjoyed this heart-warming story and the way rural England is portrayed from the point of view of an outsider. There are eccentric characters such as the cider drinking Curtis - even he doesn't know how old he is; the truculent farmer Jack Basset and the scheming lord of the manor - Sir William Waegbert. There is also a great deal of kindness mixed in with the initial distrust of `foreigners'. The descriptions of the countryside are evocative and you can almost smell the scents of the greenery. If you want to know what a Dorset woolly-pig is and the recipe for a cider which will help you to see one - together with the recipe for Coronation Chicken - you will enjoy this charming story.