The Novel in the Viola Paperback – 12 May 2011
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'A deeply touching and blissfully romantic elegy for a lost world.' (The Times)
A vivid and poignant story about hope, loss and reinvention (Psychologies)
A warm story with a lovely uncloying sweetness. (Saga Magazine)
Solomons's confident timing means that we sense what is about to happen only moments before it occurs, and are compelled to read on, not as one might expect for the frisson of a new event, but for the thrill of having our intuition confirmed. (Stephanie Bishop, TLS)
For Mr Rosenblum's List:
'The descriptions of England - as friend, adversary and eventually home - are exquisite. A touching, surprising and satisfying read.'(Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast)
'Utterly charming and very funny' (Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
'An unususal, comedy-rich novel... a treat of a book'. (Guardian)
'a subtle and moving examination of the dilemma faced by immigrants to modern Britain'. (Observer)
'Prepare to be seriously charmed'. (The Times)
'both a love story and an elegy to the English country house...the greatest pleasure is its stirring narrative and the constant sense of discovery within the historical sweep of Elise's life...Solomon's confident timing means that we sense what is about to happen only moments before it occurs, and are compelled to read on, not as one might expect for the frisson of a new event, but for the thrill of having our intuition confirmed.' (Stephanie Bishop, TLS)
'An engaging read ... ripe for the screen' (Guardian)
A sweeping story of upstairs, downstairs, love and loss by the author of Mr Rosenblum's List.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I read this book on holiday & found it to be one of the best books I have ever read! It is beautifully written & I was totally consumed in the story, feeling the emotion of fear, loss & love. I almost felt I was in the story, which is of course fiction based on the truth. I have since visited Tyneham Village, as I am lucky to live not far away, & I could imagine the life as was in the 1940's. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
The first object is to establish the character in her old culture so we can understand how she copes with a dramatic change. The character does need to engage our sympathies, too. We meet Elise Landau in Vienna quite briefly, too briefly, and in that brief frame she definitely does not appeal. Her mother, a superdiva, is singing arias in the bath while a maid serves champagne; Elise and her sister look sadly at the space on the wall where the Renoir used to hang. Her father is a famous author, her brother -in -law is an astronomer in California. Ok, right.
The next stage is the transition - the journey from old culture to new, as we see the character coping or not coping. In this book Elise is in Vienna on one page and in London the next. No transition.
It is in the new culture that the author really loses the plot. In the first instance, Elise, known to us so far as a completely ineffectual spoilt brat, morphs overnight - literally overnight - into a mature young woman soldiering up for difficulties and trauma. How did that happen?
But there's worse. Does Elise or does she not speak and understand English? On one page she does not - her luggage annoys her landlady but she doesn't know why. She is afraid of walking outside her hotel in case she can't find her way back. The next day however she has managed to cross London - with luggage - catch a train south and recall every station the conductor announces from Waterloo to Weymouth.Read more ›
I like the author's uncomplicated style and the story itself was pleasing enough, though in some places I felt like she was merely filling pages, which was distracting. The story was also highly predictable - you could make a guess as to what was coming and 9 times out of 10, be right - not exactly making it a page turner then. There wasn't a great deal of tension and the ending was weak. Having said all this, overall it is an enjoyable enough read and worth taking time out to do so if period/romance novels are to your taste.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1938 - Elise Landau is a 19 year old Austrian Jewess when a wealthy family. Her older sister and her parents are awaiting visas to enter the USA. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gloria
Loved it so much I as I read the last page I almost just started at the beginning again .Published 8 months ago by shiv
A beautifully written, absorbing and moving novel which tells the story of Elise, a pampered Viennese teenager who flees the Nazis to become a maid in an English country house. Read morePublished 13 months ago by BookWorm
Really enjoyed this book, her second, especially since it is set around my Dorset home area. I preferred it to her first novel and found her style more varied and developed. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Carrie