I am going to briefly answer the questions (or as it turns out, not quite so briefly) and then share a video of the author speaking with Richard and Judy after the book was chosen as part of the Richard and Judy bookclub last year (think Oprah's book club but British).
Here are Carrie's questions:
What do you think of the writing?
I read Natasha Solomons first book, Mr Rosenblum's List, in 2010 and it made my list of top reads for that year. I therefore knew that I liked her writing. So far, I haven't been disappointed. Mr Rosenblum's List was also published under the title Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English in the US and other markets.
Once again, I am enjoying the sensuousness of the writing. I felt the coldness of the water as Elise waded into the water at the beach, and the role of food is important as it was in her previous book.
I have previously shared a couple of different excerpts from Mr Rosenblum's list. Click on this link if you are interested in reading them.
Have you learned anything surprising?
I don't know that I have learned anything new as such, but the first part of the book definitely had me remembering my couple of days that I spend in Vienna many years ago. From what I can recall, the centre of Vienna itself was quite modern as a result of the damage done during WWII and then subsequent building, but there were some gems to be found - most notably the Opera House. We stayed in a hotel not too far from Schonnbrunn Palace. The hotel had been converted from an old house (I use the word loosely) and so the rooms were immense, especially considering some of the shoe boxes we stayed in during the tour) with very high ceilings. It was obvious that it was a faded glory and the foyer had a very dated (as in 70's or 80's) feel to it, but the rooms made up for it as did the location. Oh, and we ate our continental breakfasts in what would have been the ballroom originally! Very grand!
In Carrie's post for this week she spoke about the fact that refugees came to England in the late 1930s and found work in menial tasks.This part actually reminded me of the Eva Ibbotson book I read not too long ago, A Countess Below Stairs, which featured Russian refugess who were displaced to the UK, although that was twenty years earlier following the events of the Russian revolution. Another book I read this year which talked about refugees coming to the UK in the late 1930s was Anna Funder's All That I Am, although in that case the refugees weren't coming to work as such.
Also, I should mention that Mr Rosenblum also comes to England during this time and so Solomons has explored this time a little before, but there is a very different feel between that book and this one so far.
I think that we have been introduced to someone who is conscious of not really fitting in anywhere. Her family loves her, but she doesn't share their passions or talents, and she thinks she looks very different from them, but I think that the time spent away from them is helping her see that she is the same of them. An example of this is when she remembers that her hair is the same colour as her father's hair.
Now, she has come to a new country, a new circumstance where she doesn't really speak the language and she is even more aware of not fitting in.
Do you think Elise will ever see her parents, or her sister, Margot again?
I really think that Elise won't see her parents again, and I think that they know that they won't see her. I do think that Margot and her husband will make it out of Vienna safely, but it will be some time before the two sisters are reunited.
Want to make any predictions?
It is obvious from the blurb and the trailer that this is a love story, so I expect that the next section will see this aspect of the story developing a bit more. I am looking forward to finding out more about the novel in the viola and the role that plays in the story.
I am also looking forward to finding out more about Tyneford after reading the notice that was put on the church door that was mentioned at the very beginning of the book, and is also mentioned briefly in the video below:
On a tangent, when I was watching this video on Youtube I noticed a link where Richard was talking about being featured on Who Do You Think You Are? I love that show, and hadn't seen his episode. I ended up watching the show and thought it was interesting. The one thing I learnt - I am never going to Nova Scotia in January!
In my head I do have a trip to Canada planned, mainly to see Kelly from The Written World. I would fly to New York (because I have always wanted to go there), then travel up the coast through Maine and then into Nova Scotia and I would also head up to Quebec to see another couple of online friends. The likelihood of that trip ever happening is remote, but it doesn't hurt to dream right? It would however be a Canadian summer trip!
*In theory, I am also participating in the Mistborn readalong that Carl is posting as part of the Once Upon a Time challenge but the book has only just come into the library so I won't be picking it up until tomorrow at the earliest so I am going to be a bit behind posting on that one!