It’s the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford’s young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford-and Elise-forever.
Genre: Historical fiction, Pages: 368, Published: December 2011 by Plume, Source: For review
The book was both heartbreaking, breathtaking and lovely at the same time. You know it will be sad when the heroine is a Jew during WWII but I still cling to hope, it could happen. The ending itself is bittersweet and fitting and could have made me cry.
The story is about Elise who becomes a maid in England just before the start of the war. Her mother is a famous opera singer, her father an obscure novelist. She is not fit for service really, but does her best. her luck is the household she ends up in, good Mr Rivers who took a chance on her. Friends she meets and then there is Kit. It is a new era, but there are still things you just do not do, and a servant and the young master of the house is one of those things that can’t be. Here comes the romance and friendship. But over all this is the shadow of war and him being young we all know what that means.
The war is looked at from the sidelines. A shortage of things, German planes in the sky, the army taking over more and more land for their own purpose. The house becoming more and more empty as men leave for war and women for factories. In that the book is rather silent in a way, it does not scream and shout that the war is here. Instead it breaks your heart a piece at a time. And my heart did feel like it was breaking a few times. There is this balance between happiness and hope. A balance that makes it impossible for me to put the book down. I just wanted to read, I just needed to know. Would everyone be happy in the end?
It was a truly lovely book that I just fell for more and more for while reading. And I still think about it while writing this.
Downton Abbey is popular at the moment so fans of that should definitely give it a go. Along with the rest of you. Because it is a book for everyone. I do recommend it.