Our May book discussion featured The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons.
In contrast to last month’s complex and difficult read, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, our group enjoyed The House at Tyneford. Some adjectives used to describe it were: romantic, wonderful, enjoyable, simple, predictable, and fair. No one hated the novel, and some really loved it, but others lost interest about halfway through. Everyone agreed that the historical details were interesting and that it gave us yet another look at the complex period of World War 2.
Discussion highlights were:
- The protagonist Elise: we gave her credit for being adaptable, hopeful, and authentically struggling with her religious identity.
- Elise’s romances with Kit and then Mr. Rivers: some of us knew it was Mr. Rivers all along!
- The novel in the viola: we agreed that her father intentionally left the pages blank so that Elise could fill them.
- The house itself: was essentially a main character of the book and its changes in inhabitants and upkeep symbolized society’s concurrent shifts.
This novel is a love story, a coming of age story, and a World War 2 story. We compared it to PBS’ television sensation Downton Abbey and literary classic Rebecca. It seemed to resonate with most of us, which lead to a naturally flowing discussion. We recommend it to other book groups.
If you’d like to continue reading along with us, pick up our book for June, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.