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i was not at all impressed. i ended up flipping thru it, reading the ends of the chapters.
I think this quote from the protaganist on page 71 says it all: "It is a sweet relief being certain that no living soul will ever set eyes on what I have been scribbling away at, down here." (oh, if only it were true)
Reading this novel is the equivalent of dieting exclusively on white bread.
Error: the maps of Paris on the inside covers are reversed, that is, North is to the bottom of the page (and unmarked).
I mean cold and freezing.......for a housse come on! even her daughter could'nt get her out she had some serious serious issues and they wer'nt about her home but the history of Haussman was cool.
The protagonist in one of the most unlikable characters I've ever encountered. She is shallow, self absorbed, and vapid. I felt her attachment to the house and the way in which she resisted the change to be completely lackluster and devoid of any real emotion. A petulant brat who basically pouted when things didn't go her way, and a terrible mother to boot. I love history and have studied architecture, yet felt no real emotion from this read. Totally disappointing.
I loved "Sarah's Key" and was really hoping to get some of the magic out of this book. I found that not to be the case. I think that had it been wrote a different way (not in a letter form) that it would have been a stronger read.
The story is not as strong and memorable as Sarah's Key. It may have been a better book had it been written in the present tense as opposed to a series of letters to her dead husband remembering the past times in the house, which is now expropriated and in the path of demolision. Not a compelling read.
finished 8/12. A person interested in history, urban planning and France would enjoy this novel. It made me feel sad, but I still loved it. De Rosnay really immerses you in the atmosphere of the late 1800s when Baron Haussmann was redesigning Paris. Mentions Madame Bovary, Les Fleurs du Mal by Beaudelaire (The Fall of the House of Usher), and Edgar Allen Poe.
I listened to the audiobook version of this novel and found it all very engaging. The voice of Mme Bazolet is so gentle and feminine, an exemplar of the time in which this book is set. I suspect that many modern take-charge type women readers (is there any other kind?) might find Rose grating. For me, she came across as a person who found her way happily through life at a time when most doors would have been closed against her simply by virtue of her sex. I also appreciated the underlying parallel theme of the book to senseless overdevelopment and neighborhood loss in our own modern cities. Been on the South mountain or dealt with City Hall lately? I rest my case. I'm with Rose Bazolet and Tatiana De Rosnay all the way!
The main character is a weak and whiny woman. The story of Paris old is told through letters to her dead husband. Reading her letters was depressing. She lives well (at least two house servants) off her adoring husband's money but all she does is complain and act like a martyr. Characters like her suck the joy out of reading.
I understand a deep love for certain physical places, but not passivity and a death-pack. Instead of writing letters about all the wonderful memories the house lived through and leaving beautiful memories for her daugher and grandchildren, she continuously harped on the negative. Worst drivel I have read in a long time. How did this even get published?
boring......read about 50 pages and stopped......not nearly as good as sarah's key.......very repetitive writing
This novel by the author of Sarah's Key delves into the life of a woman whose very being revolves around her home in Paris in the 1860's. At that time, Paris was redesigned causing many to lose the houses that they cherished to demolition. Through letters to her dead husband, Rose allows us, the reader into the interior recesses of her life. A good read, especially thouse nostalgic for the past.
I loved the sense of place in this book. I'd known about Haussmann's "embellishments," but seeing the process through the lens of the narrator personalized it for me. Downsides: it could've been twice as long (lots of blank chapter-end pages . . . ) and thus more fully developed. Also, de Rosnay favors comma-splice run-on sentences, which drive me nuts. Still, I enjoyed it and did not find it boring.
Although I like this author's writing style, I was disappointed with this book. I thought the storyline did not flow at all so I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. I found it boring and dull.
A very disappointing book. The author successfully created the aura of a Parisian neighbourhood but the storyline itself was tediously written and on an emotionally level, distressing. The protagonist was a disturbed elderly woman who needed help not just the friendship of her equally distressed neighbours. The ending was bathos.
This has got to be one of the most boring books I have ever read. The writing style was so amatuerish Such a disappointment after Sarah's Key - although I ought to have known better considering I thought Sarah's Key was okay at best, certainly not stellar. A complete waste of time.
Not nearly as powerful & affecting as her earlier "Sarah's key" (indeed, De Rosnay seems to have forgotten to insert the suspense /plot twist component until nearly the end). Still, for those that enjoy a the history of Paris* through a fictional lense, and this author's engaging, interesting characters, its a decent read.
*"The house.."is set in 1860, France. Readers join widow Rose Bazelet as she reflects on her past and endures her present : Baron Haussman has begun his radical destruction of ancient buildings and byways to create a more modern city.
Very, very disappointing after "Sarah's Key" - maybe she's a one book author? "A Secret Kept" wasn't much better either. Alas - - - -
"Can a novel make us nostalgic for a place we’ve never been? With her third English-language release, an uncomplicated story brimming with homespun details, Tatiana de Rosnay presents a convincing case. Nearly every sentence evokes the appeal of mid-19th-century Paris, the city she clearly loves, and her empathy for the citizens whose homes and dreams were obliterated by the march of progress."
Globe and Mail
I was disappointed in this book. I really enjoyed "Sarah's Key" and this one fell flat. Nothing really happened, just some random letters to her dead husband and lists of characters not central to the plot.